LATEST UPDATE: May 31, 2014
Although there is a link bar to the right, it does not link
directly to each page, so I have created a SITE MAP. Here
you can access any page quickly.
This site is to help everyone enjoy the exciting hobby of collecting
military sake cups and bottles from Imperial Japan.
I have designed a few pages to show common kanji and common
symbols that appear on Japanese military cups. Let me know what you
I also have cups and other items for sale, so please check these out as
well. (Note that any items not on the Store pages have either been sold
already or are not currently for sale.)
There are three good books on Japanese military cups:
Dan King's Japanese Military Sake Cups 1894-1945
Mutsuki Kato's HEITAI SAKAZUKI (SOLDIERS' CUPS)
Richard Fuller's Japanese Military Sake Cups
All three are essential for the cup collector, but Kato's book is in
Identifying kanji here is my main concern, but also distinguishing
different symbols and insignia is very important.
Since I am merely an amateur historian, I use a lot of different sources,
some of which may turn out to be dubious. If I get anything wrong, drop
me a line.
From a military shop advertisement, which ran to five pages.
Printed in the 1930s. Check out the tank cup on the bottom
See more detail from this pamphlet by clicking the link below.
Two single-cup boxes for 5.5 cm cups.
Similar designs. Made of thin cardboard.
See more packages here.
1930s or 40s magazine cover.
Here are some packages that are considerably thinner than the cardboard
boxes. They are actually a kind of sturdy rice paper. It seems quite clear that
these were meant to be disposed of after bringing the cups home. They have
thin paper flaps on either end that do not hook together, so the cups would
have a tendency to slip right out if not handled carefully.
Various bottles (tokkuri)
I am a licensed antique dealer here in Japan, and this site has been
registered and approved by the Japanese Police Department,
Fukuoka City, South Ward.
Here is the information that is required to be posted by Japanese
Licensed by: Fukuoka-ken Koan I-in-kai
License Number: 909990040523
Licensee: Richard Catalano
I have a newsletter/listing alert email. The main purpose of
this is to let people know when new cups have been listed. If
you are interested, send me your email.
Japanese soldiers at a drinking party.
Pre-WW2 postcard labeled 'Celebratory Sake Cup.'
Note not only the over-sized sake cup but also the large metal box the sake is poured from!
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|Superb lacquered wood cup with a stunning design. A sun with frayed (jagged)
rays extends over a map of Manchuria, and gilt blossoms are next to the map.
Obviously symbolizing Japan's taking over of Manchuria. Cities labeled on the
map include Port Arthur, Dairen, and Mukden. What appear to be rail lines are also
detailed with dots.
Inscribed 'Meiji 44  February, In the Vicinity of Port Arthur, Manchuria,
Imperial Gift Commemorative.'
|Very rare cup from the Russo-Japan War. It is dated and also has the
specific city name. You can see it on the map. It is in northern China
Inscribed 'Jiuliancheng Invasion, Meiji 37  April 27th.' Although
the date of this battle is generally May 1st, the First Army arrived a
few days earlier and began engagements.
|Ammunition limber cup.
Inscribed 'Field Artillery 3rd Regiment, Discharge Commemorative, Seno'.