Japanese military decoration for the war with China 1894-1895.
Circular darkened bronze medal (struck from captured Chinese cannons) with elaborately decorated swivel suspension; the face with a sixteen-lobed Imperial Chrysanthemum crest above crossed Army and Navy Rising Sun standards; the reverse with inscribed Kanji characters, those to the centre reading ‘ju-gun-ki-sho’ (War Medal), while those arching over read ‘mei-ji-ni-ju-nana-hachi-nen’ (Meiji 27-8 Years = AD1894-95). A swivelling hanger is connected to its top, which is itself then connected to a swivelling horizontal bar, through which the ribbon is looped. The original watered silk ribbon has three equal, vertical stripes to it, in green, white and green. An elongated vertical alloy hook is to its top, which folds down and mates with an eye and bearing the original bar without inscription sewn to its reverse; in original fitted black lacquer case of issue.
The Medal was created for those participating in the war with China.
The first Sino-Japanese took place from August 1894 – April 1895, essentially for control of Korea, between a rapidly industrialising and westernising Japan and a declining and moribund China. Although the Chinese forces were far more numerous, superior Japanese tactics, training and equipment ensured their swift victory.
The war ended with the Chinese suing for peace and, in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, making territorial and commercial concessions to Japan, including most notably Korea and Taiwan.
The major consequences of the war were that Japan was recognised as a rising world power, increased xenophobia in China leading to the Boxer Rebellion in 1899 and Korea becoming a colony of Japan. The success of the armed forces lead to increasing power of the militarists in Japan.
Estimates of Japanese killed vary from 800 to almost 14,000. Cholera killed more Japanese troops than battle, and Japanese troops brought the disease home, which killed an estimated 30,000. Chinese losses are estimated to be 35,000 killed or wounded. From the Medal-Medaille website.
References: Illustrated in the 2014 Stratus, Poland publication “Sino-Japanese Naval War 1894-1895. Maritime Series No 3105” by Piotr Olender. Page 62.