Bunka Kunsho / “Order of the Sacred Treasure” | Eight Degree Medal

Culture Day, (Bunka no hi), was established in 1937 in Japan for which the day is set aside to promote the appreciation of culture, freedom, and peace. Every year the Japanese government gives out Bunka Kunsho (highest rank of Japanese Cultural Awards) to distinguished artists, scholars, or citizen who made remarkable contributions to the Japanese culture, arts and science. Those that have received the award have come from many, fields, including literature, painting, acting, Kabuki, science, sports, politics and academics. Japanese living overseas received this prestigious award from the Consul General’s Office in the name of his Imperial Majesty, the Emperor. Japanese descendants were recognized for such meritorious contribution to society as a whole, Japan international relations, and the promotion of the Japanese culture in their respective countries.

There are three principal types of awards: the Order of the Sacred Treasure; the Order of the Rising Sun; and the Order of the Golden Kite. The Order of the Golden Kite was for the military only, and was abolished shortly after the war. The other two still exist and have been awarded to both civilian, government and military recipients.

This medal came in eight classes, with the different classes awarded to different levels of accomplishment. The Japanese name of this order or ranking process is called zuihosho. It is believed that the “Treasure” in the name is a reference to the “three sacred treasures” that Japanese myth says the Sun Goddess Amaterasu gave to the first Emperor of Japan. These treasures were a sword, mirror and beads. They are now said to be held at three separate sacred Shinto shrines in Japan, though no one has been allowed to see them for centuries.

This Eighth Degree Medal is made of Sterling & Enamel, (which represent the mirror and the jewel), and was awarded in 1948 to a government official. The inscription on the back of the medal indicates it is a “ribboned medal for meritorious deeds”. The badge is suspended on a ribbon, red, with a yellow stripe near the border. This piece is in its original excellent condition and comes in a black lacquered, inscribed, presentation box and is considered a rare collectible. Dimensions: 3-3/4” x1-5/8”.

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