Imperial Japan
Medals and
Badges
Military Service Badge
The
Bukoushou
This is one of the highest Army badges, and it is prized mainly for its scarcity but also because it was
awarded for distinguished military valor. It was established in December 1944 in two classes. Both
badges were made of iron. The 1st Class is called
Kou  in Japanese and the 2nd Class Otsu.

As Peterson notes in his book, these were given by division commanders in order to make the award
promptly, which helped morale. Peterson states that 'The decree provided for retroactive awards to the
beginning of the Great East Asia War [end of 1941].' One Japanese source puts this date a bit earlier, to
1940.

It appears that replicas are being made of this badge. I have seen some photos, and they look
remarkably similar to the original badges. One must be careful. One test is to see if the badge reacts to
a magnet. However, one Japanese dealer said that some of the 2nd Class badges weren't made of iron
as they should have been. I don't know where he got that information, so I cannot confirm it.
Here are three (!) Military Service Medal award documents. Found in a briefcase full of documents brought back from the Philippines by an
American GI. These have rested untouched since the war, simply because no one knew what they said. Rick H. sent me some of these,
wondering what they might be, and to my surprise, they turned out to be award documents for one of the rarest of Army badges, the
Bukoushou
(Military Service Badge). Exciting!

Note that all of these are from the Philippines, all signed by the same commanding officer, and all dated the same. They all are numbered, too,
and these numbers seem to indicate the number of the badge.

The dates and inscriptions show that these three soldiers were awarded the badge for bravery in
the Battle of Mindanao (March to August, 1945).

Photos courtesy of Rick H.
Military Bravery (Bukou), #228
100th Division, Transport Vehicle Unit, 1st Company (
chuutai), 3rd Platoon [or
Squad:
shoutai)
Army Sergeant-Major Kobayashi
The person named to the right, having displayed great bravery during the
battles on Mindanao and Davao from Showa 20 [1945] end of April to August,
is awarded the Military Service Badge 2nd Class.

Showa 20 [1945] August 1.
100th Division Commander, Army Lieutenant Colonel Harada Jiro.
Military Bravery (Bukou), #224
100th Division, Transport Vehicle Unit, 1st Company (
chuutai) Commander
Army First Lieutenant Oki
The person named to the right, having displayed great bravery during the battles
on Mindanao and Davao from Showa 20 [1945] end of April to August, is
awarded the Military Service Badge 2nd Class.

Showa 20 [1945] August 1.
100th Division Commander, Army Lieutenant Colonel Harada Jiro.
Military Bravery (Bukou), #232
100th Division, Transport Vehicle Unit, 1st Company (
chuutai), 3rd Platoon [or
Squad:
shoutai)
Army Commander (
heichou) Terao [Kisaemon?]
The person named to the right, having displayed great bravery during the
battle on Davao from Showa 20 [1945] end of April to August, is awarded the
Military Service Badge 2nd Class.

Showa 20 [1945] August 1.
100th Division Commander, Army Lieutenant Colonel Harada Jiro.
Kou (1st Class). Gold gilt trim
Otsu (2ndClass).
Otsu (2nd Class).
Original paulonia wood box.
'Army
Bukoushou'
This is a tie clasp for a string tie. The two clips are
for the strings. Post-war item.
Otsu (2nd Class).