Monday, April 1, 2013

Japanese postcards tend to be awesome


I've gotten some truly delightful Postcrossing postcards from Japan lately! The postcard above is JP-383733, and the sender had noticed that I'd marked this design as a favorite but hadn't yet received it. I love the clean lines showing the evolution of Japanese mailboxes through the years, and the deep red color is rich and elegant.


Perhaps just as charming, though, is the fabulous collection of postage stamps! Some look vintage and some look more modern, but they're all different and all gorgeous. I wish I could read Japanese - that green one in the middle with the little icon that looks sort of like Mr. Zip must be mail-related, yes?


Here's another fine mail-related postcard, JP-382166, which is an illustration of various scenes of letter-writing. It has a vintage look and feel, but I think it's new.


However, the stamps the sender used look mighty vintage to me! I honestly don't know much about Japanese philately, and I can't tell by "look" whether or not a stamp is vintage, but I've seen more current Japanese stamps and they don't look like this. I love the variety and old scenes! Are there any Japanese stamp enthusiasts out there that can share some knowledge?

I know I spend a lot of characters praising Postcrossing on this blog, but it is joyous surprises like this that sustain my mail delight. It's so exciting to know that such lovely things may await me in my mailbox, who knows when!


  1. Those cards are wonderful -- and the stamps!!! I am jealous -- especially of that sheet of postal themed stamps. I wish I knew someone in Japan who would send me some....

  2. I just got a comment from Postcrossing user subgirl about the stamps on JP-382166:

    "I wasn't able to comment on your blog (blogger and iPhones just DO NOT get along, apologies!), but a few of the stamps you posted of this one are of scouting (looks like both boy & girl). The upper left one is definitely an older Girl Scouts one (usually internationally they're called girl guides) the trefoil in the stamp hasn't been used like that in awhile (1980's/90's?), it's a very traditional GS symbol but was redesigned to be smoother at some point and has been used less and less.

    There are another two that are definitely scouting related but I can't say for sure as much as the one with the trefoil. If not vintage they may be nostalgic, like a look back at scouting through the years sort of things. I can't tell for sure though."

    So great to know!

  3. It looks like the date is printed on most of these stamps, dating back to the 60s and 70s. I live in Japan right now and I don't recognize a current issue stamp in the lot except for the 3 yen bird.

    Reading the Japanese on the first card, from the red stamp in the upper left clockwise (to the best of my ability):

    1. (red) "Celebrating the 16th Meeting of the Universal Postal Union"

    It was held in Tokyo that year, the first time it was held in the Asia Pacific region.

    2. (light blue) for Expo70, held in Osaka

    3. (blue, 20 yen) ~no text~

    4. (green, 3 yen) current issue

    5. (green Mr. Zip-esque) "The Postal Code is part of the address" i.e... don't forget the zip code!

    6. (maroon castle) Celebrating the Completion of Himeji Castle Restoration

    The area was heavily firebombed during World War II and it took until 1964 to restore the castle and grounds.

    The other postcard - every last stamp is scouting! Clockwise from upper left:

    1. (pink) "Celebrating the Girl Scout Asia Conference"

    I'm having a hard time finding more info on this one... was held in Europe that year, so I don't get it.

    2. (yellow) "50 Years of Boy Scouting"

    3. (red) "Asian Jamboree"

    4. (green) "50 Years of Girl Scouting"

    5. (light green) "Celebrating 50 Years of Postal Life Insurance"

    Okay, so not scouting. :P In Japan the post office is also a bank and sells things like insurance, so it's not quite as odd as you would think!

    I have to say that I am sooooo envious that you got these stamps! I was able to find a website that sells old postage, but most things go for 4x face. Enjoy!!

    1. Kazen, you have just made my day with your in-depth explanation of these stamps. I did see that the date was printed on most of the scouting stamps, but I didn't know if that meant the original or the re-issue. I am feeling even more lucky now to have received these amazing stamps, now that you have shared so much fabulous information about them! Thank you!!!

  4. I love those stamps! How lucky!

  5. Oops, I meant to say he is exactly like Mr. Zip!