Japan postage stamp: cherry blossoms

c. 1923, part of Earthquake Emergency Series


designed by Morimoto Shigeo


"...A Chrysanthemum is the central element, a representation of the Imperial family of Japan. It appears on every Japanese stamp from 1872 until the end of World War II. In the lower section cherry trees with stylized cherry blossoms frame Mt. Fuji, and above are two dragonflies flanking a central star. The star symbolizes the fact that the island was under martial law after the earthquake, a measure needed to protect the common safety. The dragonfly is a symbol of Japan and victory..." —Big Ant Studios


"The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed the warehouses of the Printing Bureau and Communications Ministry (the current Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications). The equipment necessary for producing stamps and most of the stamps which had been stored were lost. As an emergency measure to make up for the shortage of stamps, the government consigned production of stamps to a private corporation. This corporation produced stamps known as the 'Earthquake stamps.' The stamps did not have perforations or glue, but a watermark called the 'earthquake watermark' was used. The Printing Bureau was reconstructed much sooner than expected and the earthquake stamps were abolished on April 30, 1925." —Evolution of Japanese Stamps


Please visit the Red Cross or other charitable organizations to help victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, Japan and other affected regions.


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Taken on October 19, 2010