Circular silver medal with grip and laterally pierced cylinder suspension; the face with the emblem of the Society of a phoenix (ho-o) above a Geneva (Greek) cross with pauwlonia and bamboo wreath; the reverse with two rows of characters ‘Meiji 21st year’ (1888) ‘Japanese Red Cross Society’; on original ribbon with lifetime membership rosette; in original pasteboard case of issue with worn label to the outside lid.
The Japanese Red Cross Society grew from the Benevolence Society founded in 1877 to give aid to those wounded in the Satsuma Rebellion which spelled the end of Samurai power. The Society acceded to the Geneva Convention in 1886 and adopted its current name in 1887. The medals were official awards that could be worn with uniform and were often worn with other military and civil decorations.
Examples in silver pre-date late World War II when material shortages caused a change to light zinc alloy or aluminium.