Representative Articles from Japanese Philately


Article from Current Issue 

Each of these articles are available in full in pdf format. To download, click on the date of the article or on the graphic shown.

December 2018

2018.9.3 Lighthouses 150th Anniversary

The opening of Japan to international trade in 1858 brought an influx of foreign ships whose masters complained about the lack of navigational aids, especially lighthouses, on the approaches to the treaty ports.  Consequently, when Britain, France, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands signed a revised commercial treaty with Japan on 1866.6.25, they took care to write into it a requirement that “the Japanese Government shall provide lighthouses…..for the safety of ships entering and leaving the ports that have been opened to foreign trade”.

For more information about these lighthouses and the stamps issued for the celebration of the 150th anniversay dowload the full articles by clicking on the graphic to the right or on December date above.



Older Representative Articles Ordered by Date...Most Recent First


October 2018

JARE 17 and 22 service cancellation service - Update

by Hal Vogel

2018 New Year Souvenir Miniature Sheet

Issued 2017.11.1

April 2018

New Year Stamps

by Ron Casey

Issued 2017.11.1

The New Year stamps produced for 2018 (Heisei 30), the year of the Dog, comprise the four separate designs and a souvenir miniature sheet which have been traditionally identified with this issue for many years.  The small (21.5 x 22.5 mm) ¥52 and ¥82 designs were both printed in 5 offset inks – the ¥52 in sheets of 50 (5 x10) and the ¥82 in sheets of 10 (5 x 2).  The larger ¥52+3 and ¥82+3 designs (25.5 x 48 mm) were both printed in sheets of 20 (4 x 5) in 6 gravure inks with the lottery numbers applied by letterpress.  The ¥52 and the ¥52+3 designs were the work of Kaifuchi Junko, and Maruyama Satoru was responsible for the ¥82 and the ¥82+3 designs.  The issue quantities produced were: ¥52 – 16,000,000; ¥82 – 1,800,000; ¥52+3 – 12,200,000; and ¥82+3 – 1,100,000.  The JSCA/Sakura catalogue numbers are N161 (¥52), N162 (¥82), N163 (¥52+3) and N164 (¥82+3).




February 2018


by Danny Meng

Continuing a recent trend, this 2016 Japonica listing is dominated by new issues from wallpaper-issuing stamp agencies with seemly random and irrelevant subject matter.  Some of the more noteworthy issued commemorated major 2016 event such as the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Several nations around the world:  Bhutan, Lithuania, Singapore, and Tunisia, celebrated anniversaries of diplomatic relations with Japan.





December 2017

New International Reply Coupon





August 2017

Cash Registration from 1951 to today


by Anker Nielsen



On 30 August 1871 (Meiji 4.7.15), barely four months after the establishment of Japan’s postal service, a special system for sending money by mail was opened—but  only between Tōkyō and Yokohama.  This service was made nationwide on 1 April 1873, and meanwhile an “ordinary” registration service had been started for mail not containing cash or negotiable securities.  From the beginning, different rates were charged for the two services, and beginning on 21 December 1901 it was necessary to use special envelopes (obtained from post offices) for the cashregistration service.  The ordinary registration could be used on any type of envelope.  The two services continued to be separate until 1951.


On my trip to JAPEX 2016 I found many examples of newer cash envelopes.  They were very cheap in Japan, but outside Japan you seldom see them.  Previous articles on cash envelopes in Japanese Philately (e.g., JP 19/123-125) have typically shown different types of new envelopes, but these official envelopes that have been specifically issued for this service are not always used.


There is a very useful Japanese catalogue published by Narumi titled Kakakuhyokifūtō / genkinfūtō (Value declaration envelopes / Cash [registration] envelopes) by Shimizu Satoshi.  It was reviewed last year (JP 71/30-33) by ISJP Director Florian Eichhorn.  The cash envelopes are now also included in another Narumi publication, the Japanese Fiscal Stamp

Catalogue, 2016 (6th edition) edited by Furuya Kōichi.  The illustrations of the envelopes are in color with current values.  The reference numbers of envelope types mentioned in this article (e.g., CA17) have been sourced from the Furuya catalogue.  In the catalogue some of the main numbers are divided into sub-types such as CA17a to CA17e to identify small variations (e.g., in the printings), but I have not made such fine distinctions.


In this article I will discuss and show examples of cash envelopes issued from 1951 to today, the period following the combining of the cash registration and ordinary registration services.  In previous articles in JP the rates for sending cash have sometimes been mentioned, but no comparative table of rates has ever been published.  There is a table in the JSCA catalogue, but the information is not easy to understand and the table contains mistakes.

Cash Registration Covers


June 2017

Green Dai-Nippon Overprint Cover


Osaka International Postal Markings

An item recently acquired by ISJP member Pierre Tissort van Patot is intriguing, as it has an example of both a previously unreported "Missent To" marking and a previously unreported instance of a cancel used for "administrative purposes", but supplementing lists published by Mr. Swenson shortly before his death.  The item in question is shown on the right and the full details can be discovered by clicking here.


April 2017


February 2017



December 2016


August 2016- First-Day Scenic and Swordguard Cancellation on National Park Issues

by Anker Nielsen

These days, new stamp issues, such as Commemorative and Special issues and Greetings issues, which have amore “national” character, have special pictorial first-day cancels that are used at officially designated post offices. For the more localized Prefectural issues there is no special pictorial cancel authorized, but instead the designated first-day post office(s) uses its scenic datestamp as a first-day pictorial datestamp. This latter practice of using scenic datestamps was also employed in the now discontinued National Park issues.It is easy to find covers with first-day cancellations from the National Park issues.

An example from Aso National Park

Datestamp depicts Mt. Aso in the background and rindō (gentians), Kumamoto's prefectural flower in the foreground.