I must confess to a certain nerdish habit when walking around central Tokyo — badge-spotting. Whether it be Japan’s many corporations and the uniform-like consistency in which employees pin the logos to their suits, or the guild-specific badges of many professionals, badges are everywhere. In particular, it’s fun to spot the legal/accounting/tax professionals, often based on a flower blossom motif. This post quickly summarizes the badges of such professionals that you are likely to see in any commercial district of Japan — if you pay close attention.
The Administrative Scrivener badge has a cosmos flower with the archaic “行” character in the center; the Attorney badge has the scales of justice in the middle of a sunflower, the flower designed to represent justice; the Judicial Scrivener badge is a paulownia, and is silver, apparently specifically to be in second place to the golden badge of the attorney.
The Tax Lawyer badge is a circle with a sakura cherry blossom in the top; the Patent Attorney badge is a chrysanthemum with an unknown symbol in the center; the Social Insurance and Labor Specialist badge is a chrysanthemum with sharp, not round, petals, with the roman letters “S.R.” for the romanization of the profession’s title, shakaihoken rodoushi,
The Land Surveyor badge is a paulownia with the archaic “側” character in the center; the CPA (certified public accountant), despite being perhaps the toughest of all state exams together with the bar exam, nonetheless has an utterly cheesy badge that simply bears the roman letters of the English translation of the title; and the Marine Procedure Agent has a badge that is a chrysanthemum with a ship’s steering wheel in the center.
The badge of a judge is not a flower but the Yata, a mythical mirror that is said to be part of the Imperial Regalia, with the character “裁” in the center; elected members of the Diet have a metal chrysanthemum badge pinned to a thick purple felt patch; and Diet Secretary badges are a wafer thin, red chrysanthemum.
Those of you wannabe lawyers and diet members out there who don’t want to go through the formalities of “passing the bar” or “being elected” are in luck — website PinJP sells replica badges that look just like the real thing. Just don’t actually engage in the act of immitating a lawyer or you’ll face jail time.