Stamps of Japan

Background Links
Stamps of Japan
("cut" "hand")

New Additions
(Click on the image or text to go there!)
3/18/2009: While I haven't added any stamps for quite a while, I've updated the links to external resources and added some new ones.


This is an on-line selection of Japanese stamps that I collected during my childhood in Japan.  These stamps are some of the more visually appealing or interesting from a philatelic perspective.  I recently found them in a box I hadn't opened in ages...  

Bob Okumura
Home Page:

P.S.  I'll be adding more of the collection as time permits.  Check back again!

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Click the stamps to view the series.
(Close-ups available)

Stamps of Japan
Philatelic Week
An annual series that generally showcased classical Japanese artwork.
Stamps of Japan
International Letter Writing Week
An annual series of Japanese woodblock prints.
Stamps of Japan
1964-65 Traditional Regional Festival Series
Depicts elements of four of the most famous regional festivals that are held annually, issued during 1964 and 1965.
For background information on these festivals, click on the following links:
Takayama Festival
Gion Festival
Soma Nomaoi Festival
Chichibu Night Festival
Stamps of Japan
1st National Treasures Series (1967-1969)
One of two series (the second in the 1970's) showing items that are designated as National Treasures of Japan.  Each issue focused on treasures dating from a different period of Japanese history.  
Stamps of Japan
16th Universal Postal Union Congress
Commemorates the 16th annual Universal Postal Union Congress, held in Tokyo from October 1st through November 16th, 1969.
Stamps of Japan
World Exposition 1970
Consists of three issues, one in 1969 and two in 1970, commemorating the World Exposition in Osaka, Japan during 1970. This was the first World's Fair ever held in Asia.
For background information, click on the following links:
The Commemorative Organization for the Japan World Expo 1970
Official Website for the Japan Aichi 2005 World Expo
Urso Chappell's ExpoMuseum Website and
Osaka 1970 Expo Page
Stamps of Japan
1972 XI Winter Olympic Games, Sapporo
Two small series, in 1971 and 1972, commemorating the 11th Winter Olympic Games held in Sapporo.   This was the first Winter Olympics held in Asia. The 1998 Winter Olympics will be held in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, beginning February 7, 1998.
For more background information, click on the following links:
1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo Detailed information from the International Olympic Committee and
Wikipedia websites. Information on visiting Sapporo.
1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano Detailed information from the International Olympic Committee and
Wikipedia websites. Relive it through USAToday's coverage the event from 1998.
Olympic Sports & Organizations The International Olympic Committee
Japan Olympic Committee
US Olympic Committee

1970-72 Classical Performing Arts Series
Highlights the traditional performing art forms of Japan.
For background information on these art forms, click on the following links:
Kabuki Theater
National Theater's Introduction to Kabuki
Kabuki for Everyone
All about Japan's traditional Theatre Art of Kabuki
Music and Dance of the Imperial Court
Gagaku & Bugaku from Wikipedia
Puppet Theater

National Theater's Introduction to Bunraku
History of Bunraku by Matthew Johnson
Noh Theater
National Theater's Introduction to Noh & Kyogen
Noh & Kyogen
A Study of Noh by Don Herbison-Evans
Stamps of Japan
1975-76 Historic Ships Series
A series depicting famous historical Japanese ocean vessels, issued during 1975 and 1976.

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Japanese & Other
Stamp Resources
If you're interested in buying or selling Japanese stamps or need some information on a stamp, please check the following resources:
At all Japanese consulates and embassies you should be able to pick up a pamphlet entitled "Japanese Postage Stamps" published throughout the year by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. This picture guide provides information on newly issued postage stamps and how to purchase them.
Scott Catalogue sells catalogs that cover stamps from various countries including Japan.
George Baxley and Swamy Iyer are two stamp dealers that I know of on the web, although they seem to be more specialized in older stamps. I can't vouch for their reliability or integrity as I haven't transacted any business with them, but I've received favorable feedback from others that I've referred to them.
Other stamp dealers are listed at the American Philatelic Society. To use their dealer database search, click their "Resources" link, search by "Business Specialty" and select "Japan".  Click here to get there directly.
The Japan Post Service website's Shopping section is only in Japanese, but is intuitive enough to navigate through and view photos of currently and soon to be available stamps, or try navigating through a translated English version of the Shopping section. This is translated from Japanese to English using Yahoo's Babel Fish translator. You can cut and paste any web address into Babel Fish and select the translation mode in the drop-down box -- it can sometimes be very helpful or at the least humorous.
Yasuhiko Iwaoka's Beautiful Japanese Stamps
A site dedicated to Japanese stamps that features a more complete collection of on-line images of the Philatelic Week, International Letter Writing Week, and New Year's stamps.  This site also maintains a comprehensive listing of web sites highlighting Japanese stamps, as well as other stamps, both in Japan and around the world.
Postal History Japan's Institute for Posts and Telecommunications Policy
An historic overview of significant changes to the type, design, and printing of Japanese stamps.
Japanese Woodblock Prints UKIYO-E: The Pictures of the Floating World
Hans Olof Johansson's comprehensive and authoritative website on the classical Japanese woodblock prints depicted on many Japanese stamps.  He maintains a master list of links to ukiyo-e images available on the Internet.
A short biography of Hokusai, the master artist, whose 36 Views of Mount Fuji was frequently used as a source for the International Letter Writing Week commemorative issues.  (By Rafael Santos from Jim Breen's Ukiyo-E Gallery.)
Another ukiyo-e site, by John H. Boyd III, provides a selection of work by Utamaro, Hiroshige, and Hokusai, as well as links to other ukiyo-e related sites.
Masami Teraoka provides a unique perspective on contemporary society and the human condition through his paintings which are done in the classical ukiyo-e style.

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