Okawa War Medals

Tracking the military service of the Okawa family.

These Japanese war medals have been passed down to George Takahashi

In April 2020, George Takahashi asked Maki Iwama, friend and resident of Japan, to help translate. Maki was able to research and find new details of the military history of the Okawa family.

I looked up about your grandfather and grandmother. Your grandfather and grandmother are the people who contributed to Japan. I wanna say “thank you so much” for your grandparents.

Maki Iwama

Military Service Medals

1904-05 Russo-Japanese War Medal

This medal was awarded to Nuinosuke Okawa – maternal grandfather of George Takahashi.

It is the second highest medal of the four, and awarded by the Meji, Emperor of Japan in 1906.

The Russo-Japanese War Medal was given to military personnel and military affiliations who were successful in combat. Specially awarded to those who are outstanding in military service. Civilan and non-governmental person can not win awards.

The type military and formal wear was different, but it seems that he served General, Counselor, Lieutenant, Lieutenant officer or non-commissioned officer.

This medal is made of Gold.

The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904 and 1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea.


Census Keeper Emblem

This emblem was awarded in 1945 by the Prime Minister to those who worked as a “Census Keeper”

It seems that the work of census work was difficult and was not an easy profession. It must have been a reliable person from the Cabinet, so it seems to have been specially awarded.

Maki Iwama

The date the emblem was awarded, implies that is was given to Frank Okawa. More information to come.

Patriotic Women’s Association Member’s Badge

This badge belonged to Toku Okawa – maternal grandmother of George Takahashi.

This badge was held by members of the Patriotic Women’s Association in Tokyo.

Women worked to save the Pre-War and national defences, as well as the bereaved family of the dead and victims. 

The number of members were 460,000, and they seem to have worked extensively such as introducing women’s employment and introducing brides. The group disbanded in 1942.

Canadian Military Service

Nuinoske Okawa served in the in Canadian Armed Forces during World War I. On April 9-12, 1917, during WWI, the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought. Four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army faced three divisions of the German 6th army.

“At 4:30 in the afternoon of April 8, we started our march of five miles toward Vimy Ridge. The enemy pounded our communication trenches with artillery, even using poison gas shells. It was a very difficult march, but no one was injured. By 2am we were in the forward lines. We were given rum. On the 9th at 5am our artillery started a terrific bombardment, and we went over the top. We captured 700 prisoners. The battle was over by the 11th. Our casualties were about 500 killed or wounded.” – Nuinoske Okawa

We went to war : the story of the Japanese Canadians who served during the First and Second World Wars – Roy Ito, 1984

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