Japanese First Day Post Offices and Postmarks

In the August 1989 issue of Japanese Philately, Dr. Robert M. Spaulding says, “First Day postmarks exist on most Japanese regular issues since 1937 but only a few of the 1871-1936 regular issues, the earliest being the 1899.1.1. Chrysanthemum Series 2 sen used on a New Year’s greeting card.  But first-day postmarks exist on almost all Japanese special issues, beginning with the first on 1894.3.9.

“The reason for this difference is that most first-day postmarks before 1937 were requested as souvenirs by people who were not philatelists and had no interest in regular issues.  For example, 9,000,000 first-day postmarks are said to have been applied to the commemoratives issued 1928.11.10 for the Showa Emperor’s enthronement.  A high percentage of these were on picture postcards or daishi (small pieces of paper) rather than envelopes.

“Long after Japan’s first philatelic society was founded in 1912 and its first philatelic magazines appeared in 1913-1914, philatelists showed very little interest in covers of any kind and not much interest in postmarks except those of the 1870’s.  The earliest known commercial first-day covers for philatelist were prepared in 1934 by Karl Lewis (1885-1942), an American living in Yokohama. . .”

Also see https://isjp.org/karl-lewis/ for more information about Karl Lewis and his covers.

” The quasi-officicial philatelic agency JPSA ( Japan Postage Stamp Association), founded on 1919.1.23 began preparing first-day covers almost immediately: 1939.4.3. for the First Showa regular 30 sen and 1939.4.20 for Daisen & Inland Sea  National Parks. . .”






In 1965 the the Semi-official Japan Stamp Publicity Association began producing very beautiful maximum cards for new issues of both the commemorative and regular issue stamps.   All the card are numbered starting with No. 1 A & B for the Daisen-Oki National Park.  They are all  cancelled on first-day with one of several types of cancellations.   They show well rendered enlarged picture of the stamp sometimes without and sometimes with the value and the official imprints found on the stamps.

Each card has the issued stamp on the picture side and postmarked on first-day cancel. The reverse of each card [the message side] has a brief description of why the stamps were issued, the date of issue, the logo and imprint of the Japan Stamp Publicity Association and the number of the card.  If two or more stamps were issued in a set on the same day, usually there was a card for each stamp.  But sometimes, especially in cases of se-tenant stamps, there was only one card issued for the stamps and all stamps  appeared on the same card.  When multiple cards were issued for a set of stamps, all cards bear the same number with an added letter as “A”, “B” or maybe “C”.

This different First-Day-Cancels used on theses cards will be the subject of a later  “Bit of Wisdom.”

Philatelists don’t seemed to have paid much attention to these cards, for I seldom see them for sale.  During the years between 1965 and the first of 1983, I collected them. Now, I am offering  them for sale.

Most cards from No.1 – 466  are available.

Most are one of a kind.  Orders will be filled on a first-come basis.
Don’t miss out on your chance to get these unusually beautiful first-day maximum cards.
Picture and message side of card no 85 B issued 2 October 1967 showing “Mt Fuji the Sacred” by Taikan Yokoyama

All cards are numbered and have the logo of the Japan Stamp Publicity Association on message side.