A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Japan 1924-1940

1935 Scott 220 6s carmine
"White Tower of Liaoyang and Warship Hiei"
Quick History
Japan's Industrialization, Militarization, and Nationalism throughout the early 20th century culminated in its alliance with the "Axis", Germany and Italy, in WW II, and a huge swath of  lands were occupied in Asia and the Pacific.

Japanese Empire Expansion 1870-1942
Korea had been annexed in 1910, and Taiwan had been occupied since 1895. A puppet state (Manchukuo) had been set up in Manchuria in 1932 after an invasion. Inner Mongolia and the  Republic of China adjacent to the Yellow Sea were occupied by 1937. Hong Kong, Canton, Tonkin and Hanoi were all occupied. All of French Indochina, Burma, Thailand, British Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, Guam and the Philippines were under the Empire by 1942.

And then the tide turned in the Battle of Midway in June,1942. Pearl Harbor had been attacked in December,1941, and the United States had subsequently declared war on Japan.

On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and three days later, on Nagasaki. 120,000 people perished as a result.

The Empire of Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, and American forces occupied the country.

With that sobering background, what sort of stamp production occurred, and what themes were displayed on the stamps of Japan during 1924-1940, the period of this post?

Let's take a look.

1927 10s blue 
"Map of World on Mollweide's Projection"
50th Anniversary of Japan joining the UPU
Into the Deep Blue
A closer look at the stamps and issues

1924 Scott 188 5y gray green "Empress Jingo"
Although Japan would pursue an expansionistic aggressiveness toward its neighbors the next 20 years, the higher denomination definitive stamp design of 1924, the Empress Jingo, (or Jingu) reflected only a nationalistic pride in this legendary heroine of the 3rd century. She had first appeared on a banknote in 1880, so this is a continuing theme. She had also appeared on 1908 stamp issue, illustrated in the previous post.

1925 Scott 191 "Phoenix"
A four stamp issue was released in 1925 in honor of the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Yoshihito and Empress Sadako. I'm not sure why a phoenix is the design for two stamps: perhaps because it is long-lived?

1927 Scott 1 1/2s lilac 
"Baron Hisoka Maeshima"
On the 50th anniversary of Japan joining the UPU, a four stamp issue was released. Baron Hisoka Maeshima organized the modern postal system.

1928 Scott 202 1 1/2s deep green "Phoenix"
Enthronement of Emperor Hirohito
Emperor Hirohito, on this happier occasion of his enthronement, had a four stamp issue released in 1928. As it was taboo to illustrate him, this image shows a phoenix. Arising from the ashes and long lived?

1929 Scott 206 1 1/2s gray violet 
"Great Shrines of  Ise"
For a rebuilding of the Shrines of Ise, a two stamp issue was released in 1929. But the reason for showing this stamp is the exquisite perspective and proportion of the design.

1929 Scott 207 3s carmine
"Map of Japanese Empire"
The second stamp in the preceding issue revels the extent of the Japanese Empire. Notice Taiwan (1895) and Korea (1910) are part of the Empire. By 1932, Manchuria (Manchukuo) would be added.

1930 Scott 210 1 1/2s green "Meiji Shrine"
For the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Meiji Shrine, a two stamp set was issued. The design beauty- and peacefulness- of the stamp with the aggressive militarization of Japan are hard to reconcile.

1934 Scott 217 10s blue & red 
"15th International Red Cross Conference"
In 1934, a four stamp design was produced for the International Red Cross conference. Again, I'm having a difficult time reconciling the apparent support for the Red Cross, and the millions of civilians-especially Chinese- that died while their lands were occupied.

1935 Scott 218 1 1/2s olive green 
"White Tower of Liaoyang and Warship"
On the occasion of the Manchukuo Emperor Kang Teh visiting Tokyo, a four stamp issue was released in 1935. He was head of the puppet government set up by the Japanese after the invasion of Manchuria. The stamp design clearly shows the Navy might of Japan.

1936 Scott 226 10s dark blue 
"Fuji from Mishima"
Beginning in 1936, a number of four stamp sets were produced illustrating National parks- here Fuji-Hakone National Park. There were additional sets produced in 1938, 1939, 1940, and 1940.

1936 Scott 227 1 1/2s gray violet 
"Dove, Map of Manchuria, and Kwantung"
On the 30th anniversary of the leased South Manchuria Railway Zone, a three stamp design was issued in 1936.  The reality is Manchuria was now part of the Japanese Empire.

1936 Scott 231 3s brown violet "Grand Staircase"
Nicely designed, this four stamp set was issued for the opening of the new Diet building in Tokyo.

1937 Scott 256 2s scarlet "New Year's Decoration"
This stamp was issued specifically to pay postage for New Year's cards. There was also a stamp released in 1936 for the same purpose.

1938-39 Coil Stamps
Scott 277 2s crimson "Gen. Maresuke Nogi"
Scott 278 4s dark green "Admiral Heihachiro Togo" 
A nineteen stamp regular issue was released in 1937, with an additional four stamp coil issue produced in 1938-39. Most of the designs are of Shrines and Temples, but the two military heroes above were also featured.

Nogi Maresuke was a war hero, and admired for his loyalty and ritual suicide. On the day of the funeral of Emperor Meiji, he committed suicide. But that was not the first time-when he captured Port Arthur from the Russians in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, he felt that he had lost too many soldiers in battle, and requested that he be given permission to commit suicide from the emperor. But that request was refused. This stamp then- appropriately blood red- glorified a hero that gave all to the country- to the point of suicide.

Togo Heihachiro was a great naval war hero He was responsible for destroying the Russian Baltic fleet in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War.

1937-45 Regular Issue
Here is a pic of the entire regular issue for 1937-45. These were the main regular stamps used on correspondence during WW II.
1938 Scott 281 4s olive green  "Kegon Falls"
For Nikko National Park, a four stamp set was issued in 1938. I rather wonder if the National Parks issues of Japan were inspired or modeled after the U.S. 1934 National Parks issue?

1939 Scott 297 10s crimson "Globe"
For the 75th anniversary of the Red Cross Society founding, a four stamp set was issued.

1940 Scott 299 2s brown orange 
"Sacred Golden Kite"
For the legendary founding of Japan 2,600 years previous, a four stamp issue was produced. The Order of the Golden Kite, was established in 1890 by Emperor Meiji for bravery in military battles. About 630,000 medals were awarded for the Pacific War (WW II).

1940 Scott 305 10s carmine
"Sounkyo Gorge"
Another four stamp series illustrating scenes from national parks- this time Daisetsuzan National Park- was produced in 1940. Reminds me of the El Capitan,Yosemite pictorial from the U.S. 1934 National Parks issue

1940 Scott 313 2s purple 
"Education  Minister with Rescript on Education"
On the 50th anniversary of the imperial rescript on education, a two stamp design was issued. Look at the fine engraving on this stamp!

Semi-postal 1937 Scott B2 3s + 2s purple
"Douglas Plane over Japanese Alps"
The only semi-postals issued during the classical era were this three stamp 1937 issue. The surtax was to help build more civil airports.

Air Post 1929-34 Scott C3
"Passenger Plane over Lake Ashi"
Only a few Air Post stamps were issued prior to 1940. This is part of a 1929-34 five stamp issue. Of interest, the lowest denomination stamp (above illustrated) has the highest CV @ $10+.

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has, including the 1924-40 issues, twenty-one pages. Also included are 5 pages for the national Parks souvenir sheets. In addition, this includes four pages for the Offices in China and Korea: a category in which I have no examples. ;-)

1938-39 National Parks Issues, Deep Blue
As usual, Deep Blue follows the Scott catalogue exactly, so knowing where to put stamps is not a problem, even though the spaces are not illustrated.

1935 Scott 222 1 1/2s rose carmine "Mt Fuji"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, for the 1924-40 regular issues, semi-postal, air post stamps, and offices, has 6 pages and one line.
There are 105 spaces  for the regular, semi-postal and air post categories (Coverage 77%). There are an additional 16 blank space choices for Offices (25%). There is no coverage for Military stamps (5).
Total spaces are 121 (56% coverage).

• The commemorative 1924-40 issues are well represented in BB.
• There are 9 stamp spaces with CV $10+: of those, four are $35+, with the 1936 Scott 229 10s dull green @ $130!




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Air Post

Offices in China
Eight spaces: choose Scott 1-49

Offices in Korea
Eight spaces-choose Scott 1-15 


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1925 Scott 192 8s light red ($10+)
1925 Scott 193 20s  silver & gray green  ($35)
1927 Scott 200 6s carmine rose ($45)
1927 Scott 201 10s blue ($45)
1936 Scott 226 10s dark blue ($10)
1936 Scott 227 1 1/2s gray violet ($10)
1936 Scott 228 3s red brown ($10+)
1936 Scott 229 10s dull green ($130)!
1939 Scott 293 20s sapphire ($10)

B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

C) * 1924: 188 and 189 are eligible; 253 and 254 are not because of 1937 date of issue.

D) *1925: Be aware that for 195, the 6s carmine, there is a 1937 Scott 244 that is  not eligible based on dates. Also, the 196 is the 10s dark blue. Not eligible here is the 1937 Scott 197 10s carmine, or the 1937 Scott 247 10s carmine.

1939 Scott 267 12s indigo 
"Plane and Map of Japan"
Out of the Blue
Japan, for 1924-40, have aesthetically pleasing stamps. There are some overt militaristic stamps, but not many. The devotion and loyalty to a feudalistic Empire, with the many shrines and temples, is, though, very evident.

Note: Map appears to be in the public domain.

Japan - Bud's Big Blue

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Japan 1871-1923

1872-73 Scott 10 1s blue, wove
"Imperial Crest and Branches of Kiri Tree"
Probable Wada Forgery
Quick History
Lying east of China in the North Pacific Ocean, the Empire of Great Japan existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to 1947, when a new constitution was created..

Imperial Japan elected to industrialize, and became a world military power, culminating in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), and the Pacific War (WW II).

Japan 1904
The Meiji period lasted from 1868-1912. During this era, the process of westernization began with the adoption of a judicial system and a constitution. The abolishment of feudal laws and customs brought the Meiji government in conflict with the Samurai.

Imperial Japan Expansion 1910-1939
Japan expanded its Empire to include Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and part of northern China. Japan was victorious in both the First Sino-Japanense War (1894-95), and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Korea was annexed in 1910. Japan gained the German territory of Tsingtau and Kiautschou in 1914.

Manchuria was seized in 1931. By then, the population in Japan proper was 70 million, in 1935, and the Capital, as it has been, was Tokyo.

Eight stamps were introduced in 1871 with native laid paper. They showed a pair of dragons facing characters of value. They are CV $100-$500+, and forgeries outnumber genuine by 10:1.
I will say no more about them here.

The second Japanese issue, called the "Cherry Blossoms" was issued between 1872-75. An example is shown for the post header. There are also some forgeries for these stamps. But, unfortunately, I have no knowledge in this area.

The "Kobans" were produced between 1876-92, and, along with the 1899-1907 "Chrysanthemum Flower Seal" issue, parallel the period of rapid industrial development. They are fairly easy to find, generally inexpensive, and fortunately, almost always genuine.

The next definitive issue, from 1913-1937, is just complicated enough with unwatermarked versus two watermarked varieties, ordinary versus granite paper, and different Die sizes, that I will devote a separate post just for them, after covering all the other stamp issues.

This post will otherwise cover the remaining stamp issues through WW I, and then until 1923.

The next post will cover the remaining classical years of 1924-1940.

1888-92 Scott 84 1y carmine"Kikumon"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue, has, from 1871-1940, 308 regular, 3 semi-postal. 8 air post, 5 military, and 64 for Offices in China and Korea. Total = 388. Of those, 164 are CV <$1-$1+ (53%).

Japan's CV is reasonable for about half the stamp output during the classical era.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
1000 Mon = 10 Sen
100 Sen = 1 Yen (En)
10 Rin = 1 Sen
1872-73 Scott 9 1/2s brown, hard wove
"Imperial Crest and Branches of Kiri Tree"
Probable Wada Forgery
The second issue, the so called "Cherry Blossoms", consisted of five sub-issues: 1872-73 (10), 1874 (25), 1875 (2), and 1875-76 (3); for a total of 40 stamps. Many had a design similar to the 1/2s brown shown above, but several illustrated birds: Wild Goose, Wagtail, and Goshawk. The Bird stamps, though, have a CV $150+, so I will probably not be acquiring any very soon. ;-)  Of the others, 15 stamps are CV $10+-$30.

Update: Unfortunately the 1872-73 Scott 9 1/2s brown above, and the post header stamps, the 1872-73 Scott 10 1s blue are probable Wada forgeries. I was alerted by a member of the The International Society For Japanese Philately. I'm not too surprised, as the early Japanese stamps are a forgery minefield, especially with the Wada forgeries. There are CDs available from the Society showing the Wada forgeries.

1883 Scott 73 2s carmine rose 
1888-92 Scott 81 20s orange "Sun, Kikumon and Kiri Branches"
1888-92 Scott 82 25s blue green "Imperial Crest and Kiri Branches"
The so called 1876-92 "Koban" issues had the Imperial Crest in various designs.  "Imperial Japanese Post" was inscribed in English. Of interest, the "Koban" stamps were designed by an Italian, Edoardo Chiossone. As it was taboo to use the emperor's portrait, he used other images, such as the imperial Chrysanthemum Flower Seal. The 30 stamp issue has a CV of <$1-$4+ for 20 stamps.

The Kobans are a specialist's delight, with paper varieties, color varieties, various perforations and cancellation types.

I found a wonderful website for the Kobans.


1876-77 Scott 57 2s brown olive 
1876-77 Scott 58 4s blue green 
More Kobans- note the interesting cancellations. I believe the first "killer" cancellation uses a bamboo cut.
 1894 Scott 86 5s ultamarine
"Cranes and Imperial Crest"
A two stamp set was issued in 1894 for the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Meiji and Empress Haru.
Beautiful stamps.
1896 Scott 87 2s rose
"General Yoshihisa Kitashirakawa"
For victory in the First Sino-Japanense War (1894-95), a four stamp issue was produced featuring two military leaders. I believe these are the first Japanese stamps with human portraiture.

1899-1907 Scott 96 2s light green
" Imperial Chrysanthemum"
An 18 stamp set was issued between 1899-1907, all having the Chrysanthemum design. The entire set is quite inexpensive, ranging from CV <$1-$5.

1900 Scott 109 3s carmine 
"Boxes for Rice Cakes and Marriage Certificates"
For the wedding of Crown Prince Yoshihito and Princess Sadako, this lovely stamp was issued in 1900. 
1906 Scott 111 1 1/2s blue
"Field-piece and Japanese Flag"
In commemoration of victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), a two stamp set was issued in 1906.

The fact that the Japanese had triumphed over the Russians was quite shocking, and announced that Imperial Japan had arrived on the world stage.

1915 Scott 149 3s orange & violet 
"Imperial Throne"
To celebrate the enthronement of Emperor Yoshihito, a four stamp issue was released. Included are the first bi-colored stamps.

1915 Scott 151 10s ultramarine 
The higher values of the enthronement set featured an image of the Enthronement Hall in Kyoto.

1916 Scott 152 1 1/2s green,red, & yellow
"Mandarin Duck"
The Prince Heir Apparent was recognized with a three stamp issue in 1916. This was the future Emperor Hirohito. Although the two lower values have a modest CV, the highest 10s value is CV $200+!
 1919 Scott 158 10s dark blue
"Dove and Olive Branch"
For the return of peace after WW I, Japan issued a four stamp set. The higher values have this striking design.

And this stamp provokes in me a remembrance.

My Father, as most in his generation, participated in WW II. When he was in Japan during the occupation, he picked up some mint stamps, including this example. I clearly remember admiring this stamp in my Father's "Modern Postage Stamp Album", the red album.

1920 Scott 159 1 1/2s red violet
"Census Officer, A.D. 652"
For the first modern census in Japan's history, a two stamp set was released in 1920. Of interest, this issue was not available for postage overseas, except to China.

1920 Scott 162 3s rose
A two stamp set was also released in 1920 for the dedication of the Meiji Shrine. The image on the stamp shows the shrine, which is located in Tokyo.

1921 Scott 163 1 1/2s gray green & red
"National and Postal Flags"
A four stamp issue was released in 1921 on the 50th anniversary of the postal service. The center design has the spareness of modern art. ;-)

 1921 Scott 164 3s violet brown
"Ministry of Communications Building, Tokyo"
The second design in the postal service set is more traditional in appearance, and is beautifully engraved. Nice!
1921 Scott 170 10s deep blue
"Battleships Katon and Kashima"
When Crown Prince Hirohito returned from a European visit, the occasion was celebrated with a four stamp set: not incidentally showing off the Navy might of Japan.

1923 Scott 177 1 1/2s orange 
"Mt. Nitaka, Taiwan"
Graphically illustrating the expanding Imperial Japanese Empire, a two stamp set was released when Crown Prince Hirohito visited Taiwan. The set was only sold in Taiwan, but was valid throughout the empire. A lovely engraved specimen.

We will end here, and take up the 1924-1940 stamp issues in the next post.

Deep Blue
The 1899-1907 Chrysanthemum issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 10 pages for the 1871-1923 issues, and follows the Scott catalogue for major number placement. Of interest, the 1914-1933 regular issue has some spaces for minor numbers. I will discuss the 1913-37 regular issues in a separate post.

1908 Scott 114 10y dark violet "Empress Jingo" 
A Legendary Figure
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on 3 pages, has the 1872-1923 stamp issues. There are 108 spaces. Coverage is 58%.

• There are 18 stamps with CV $10+-$20+, but none make the $35 threshold "Most expensive" list.

• A bit of a mess with the "1875" spaces.
-The '69 has a space for the 1/2s gray, with a notation that it is "like cut" for the illustration of the 1s. But it is not. ;-) The 1/2s gray is an A6 image, while the 1s brown is an A13.

*The '41/'43/'47 editions have a larger mess. Again, there is a space for the 1/2s gray with a "like cut" for the illustration of the 1s. But the 1s illustration cut does not compare to any design! I think BB means the A6 image, which would indicate the 1s cut is for the Scott 22 1s brown ($20+). But then BB asks for a 2s yellow! There are no other 1875 yellows except for Scott 54, which is given a space on the next line. One could put in a 1873 Scott 13 2s yellow ($20+). Perhaps that is why the 1875 spaces were reduced from 5 in the 1940s editions to 3 in the '69.

•  The 1913-38 definitive issues- Be aware that 1-3 stamps are eligible for a space- based on color and watermark. Also some stamps are not eligible because of BB's color specifications. There are additionally minor numbers eligible based on Old Die/New Die size differences. I will create a  separate post about these issues.









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115 or 127 or 239, 116 or 128, 117 or 129, 118 or 130, 119 or 131 or 241, 120 or 132, 121 or 133 or 243,
134,136,122 or 137,123 or 139, 124 or 140 or 249, 141*, 143*, 125 or 145 or 252,


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171a* or 171,173,175,



To be continued in next post... 

A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1872-73 Scott 9 1 1/2s brown ($10+)
1872-73 Scott 10 1s blue ($20+)
1872-73 Scott 13 2s yellow (20+)
1872-73 (Scott 14) 4s rose ($10+)
1875 Scott 40 1/2s gray ($20)
1875-76 Scott 53 1s brown ($10)
1875-76 Scott 54 2s yellow ($10+)
1876-77 Scott 55 5r slate ($10)
1876-77 Scott 59 5s brown ($20+)
1876-77 Scott 65 20s dark blue (10+)
1879 Scott 70 3s orange ($20+)
1894 Scott 86 5s ultramarine ($10+)
1915 Scott 150 4s carmine rose ($10)
1915 Scott 151 10s ultramarine ($10+)
1919 Scott 158 10s dark blue (10+)
1921 Scott 165 4s rose & red  ($10+)
1921 Scott 169 4s rose red ($10+)
1921 Scott 170 10s deep blue ($10+)

B) (  ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

C) *55-BB calls for the Scott 55 5r slate ($10), based on dates. Be aware there is a 1889 Scott 76 5r gray black @ <$1!

D) *1913-38- Be aware that 1-3 stamps are eligible for a space- based on color and watermark. Also some stamps are not eligible because of BB's color specifications. There are additionally minor numbers eligible based on Old Die/New Die size differences. See my separate post about these issues.

E)*141 is 30s orange brown. Not eligible is Scott 142 30s orange & green based on BB's color criteria.

F)*143 is 50s dark brown. Not eligible is Scott 144 50s yellow brown & dark blue based on BB's color criteria.

G)*171a is 1922 4s green (Old Die). The 171a is BB's specified stamp. Scott 177 4s green (New Die) is a 1937 issue. I include it now because it is the major number.

1919 Scott 155 1 1/2s dark brown "Dove"
Restoration of Peace after WW I
Out of the Blue
Japan is an interesting country for the WW classical generalist. The early issues are difficult, and forgeries are reported. Later definitive issues can be parsed to a point where one is heading into specialist territory. But the designs are attractive indeed.

Note: Map images appear to be in the public domain.

Japan - Bud's Big Blue

Love to see a comment!