Japan Help ID?

edited August 17 in Stamp Reviews 2 LikesVote Down
Can Anyone here Read Japanese well enough to tell me anything about these two stamps? what their purpose is? I think they are revenue, inspection or Bank Stamps?s-l1600 Local?


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  • this is the other one. not scarce but no idea what it was for? perfecture local? Silk?
  • edited August 17 1 LikesVote Down
    Jerry, you've dug up a couple of tough ones.
    I believe the first one (reddish brown with the 100,000 in center) is some sort of corporate approval fee. It might be something like a documentary stamp. So yeah, on the right track with some kind of inspection or corporate approval.

    The bottom three are all revenue stamps. Fairly old, there is a lot of Kanji in these that is no longer in use in the Japanese language. But they are not postage, so finding them in a Scott catalog is going to be nigh impossible. I can only speak to what I can read on the stamp, so perhaps someone else has dealt with these before. There is reference to what I think is a "Union" so these aren't the usual "Japan Revenue" stamps. Let me dig a bit further on these.

  • Thanks a lot Scott! helpful
  • Since these older Kanji overlap to some degree with Chinese, I've asked one of my friends to see if they can tease anything further out of the translation. Otherwise, I'll need to go mug a bilingual local who is around 115 years old to find out more. ><
  • edited August 17 0 LikesVote Down
    LOL, understand fully and thanks for any effort. The 100000 one I really do not have a clue but if that is Yen? it is a lot. :-) Maybe an un-adopted Essay? The bottom three were found and are listed occasionally by a Dutch dealer- so "he had" a few of them.. I have seen them listed as Chinese and Korea also (i have a couple of the 1yen aqua blue of this one) possible but the cancels appear to be Japan. Some Japan Material does appear to be Occupation Korea and Occupation China or even Formosa but not that often.
  • The first one is undoubtedly Japan. The two Kanji in the bottom right are "Nippon" -- Japan.
    I am not sure how much you know about Japan and China Kanji history, but it's really complicated and convoluted. The short version is around 800 years ago, Japan adopted Kanji (they have their own written language, which is perfectly phonetic, expressed in a syllabary known as "Hiragana", which still features predominantly in much of the written language). Shortly after adopting Kanji so they could communicate better and do more business with China, both countries realized, they hated each other. So Japan "Kanji" froze in time, while in China, it has continued to evolve. There are also two versions of it "Traditional and Simplified", and Japanese Kanji is somewhat in between. Only about 40% of Kanji in Japan today overlap with that of China.
    So it makes for older translations to be even more difficult (think talking like Shakespeare in English while being written in the Cyrillic alphabet), and you start to get close to the complexity of written Japanese. Then there is a 3rd syllabary "katakana" which is identical to hiragana, except that it's not. (By that I mean, there are an exact number of glyphs in each 40 some odd, and there is a like-for-like mapping. What's amusing about this one is, it was a "secret" language. Until about 300 years ago, women were not allowed to read and write, so they came up with their own representations of Hiragana (most of which look nothing like their counterparts, except may be "ki"), so they could communicate secretly without the "man folk" knowing. In modern days, they use this to represent "Foreign words" rather uselessly, because it doesn't make any more sound combinations than Hiragana, and the rules of the perfectly phonetic language don't allow them to be broken. (So my name in Japanese isn't Scott, instead it's Scott-o). Go figure.

    @Rene Bravo -- don't call me Scotto. :P

    Now for the second set, they are Chinese, not Japanese (the 3). But also, strange issues like "names" are often difficult to interpret, and there are some old Kanji there as well. The top is "Association" (Where the word "Long" appears in the name, but we can't tell anything more than that).
    The bottom says "Inspection Fee Income Identity Paper", so seems like it's a fee on submission of some tax document? That's about all I got on this.
  • The middle is a vaccine verification stamp to be added to a passport?
  • For Covid-1.
  • Thanks! Very interesting! Now i am wondering if they were used during the occupation of China by Japan?
  • edited August 17 0 LikesVote Down
    I will thumb through the 20 vol set of Chinese revenue catalogs (PB) and try to find the bottom set. very tough catalog to use. :-) I swear the cancels look Japanese? :-)
  • s-l1600 (1)
    i thought this was 1yen.. now i am wondering on that also
  • Asians can have difficulty becoming familiar with Americanized cataloging and our mindset for how we organize things. That initial learning effort is often a dis-orienting process
  • thats a fact Ron! :-) Generally i would not be too concerned with ID-ing a stamp but both of these i have a few of the 100000 one (12) and i have never seen the lower group sold under a correct listing or correct definite country so odd but interesting if not cataloged anywhere. obviously doesn't mean a whole lot to non revenue or cinderella collectors. but..
  • Jerry if you can get a better image of that red cancel, it would be good. It's obscured by the blue kanji in the center, makes it really tough to figure out what this is.
  • edited August 18 0 LikesVote Down
    I'll find one. I have a lot of these :-) Years ago I bought a small hoard from a Dutch Dealer. one the reasons for the interest. LOL. I have noticed the blue color in other stamps from Japan/china in Manchuria / ManchukuoScan_20210818
    the red chop looks Japanese, i think? Best i can find on the chop.. sorry
  • I know very little about Japan/China but I might suggest running some of these through RetroReveal. It might really bring our the spectral colors in the different markings and make them easier to see.
  • Just one spectrum example.
  • that helps. thanks
  • edited August 18 1 LikesVote Down
    It's actually different from the other. The first one appears to have the katakana character "Ma" at left, but there is another unclear symbol above it. Also, it doesn't make sense that a katakana character would appear in that cancellation, it would possibly be a kanji modifier if it were hiragana, but not as a stand alone katakana character. The lower example, the kanji appears to be turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise, and looks like the symbol for "Village Gate" (or entrance to the community). But this symbol is used in both Chinese and Japanese the base kanji is 門. Then there are modifiers that go in the middle, that can expand the meaning, like "Gate to Heaven" 閶 or (Several meaning, 閤 small gate, side gate, garden/house gate).
    No idea why any of these would practically be used for a cancellation. Almost all of these are used in both Chinese and Japanese written language. The fact that there is an absence of any "uniquely Japanese" kanji or modifiers, I would have to say this is Chinese. (Possibly Taiwanese, since they are not using simplified character set, as only mainland china uses that... Taiwan utilizes traditional.... tough that said, traditional kanji IS used by government for "official language". So could go either way.
  • edited August 18 1 LikesVote Down
    Yeah, already tried that Greg. But it doesn't really help, as it doesn't provide me with enough detail in the cancellation due to 'bleed' in the ink and that central character is quite obscured by the image behind it. Since RR turns everything black and white, it actually makes it harder to discern what's going on in it. But at this point, I'm 99% certain these are not Japanese for 3 reasons:
    1) As mentioned above issues with Kanji, and absence of any syllabary modifiers (hiragana in particular) and
    2) A lack of the chrysanthemum symbol, which while on it's own, the absence isn't definitive, but its presence would be... and most early (and modern) revenue and postage stamps have that as symbolic of the country (Japan) and
    3) Continuing on from 2, where the chrysanthemum is absent, there is usually the presence of this kanji: 日本 which means "Nippon", i.e. Japan, somewhere in the text on the stamp.

    These items, and their cancellations (have looked at the circular cancels as well, and I see no indication of any of these there either), lead me to believe, it's not Japanese in origin.

    The first one (brown rectangular one) does have the 日本 kanji in it (bottom right 2 characters, though read right to left, as is actually the "correct" direction when reading Japanese).

  • By the way Jerry, I forgot to mention, with the first stamp you listed, that 100,000 in the center isn't yen. I think it's a quantity. There is neither a ¥ symbol or 円 (kanji -- the actual word for "yen"). You mention "It's a lot", but if it were a revenue it might not be that far fetched, if it represents the amount paid for, rather than the cost of the stamp. Just a guess, but agree, it's not ¥100,000.
  • edited August 18 1 LikesVote Down
    Thanks Scott! very interesting info on these stamps. I really appreciate the input. Sounds like definitely China not Japan
  • My wife, who is native Chinese, though knows nothing about stamps, can't get a real good read on it, but she says it looks like a company seal. It appears it should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise. What makes it hard for her, also, is that, besides being in traditional form, as Scott said, it is not in a normal handwritten form. It appears to be a very stylized, artistic representation, sort of like a company logo.
  • Yeah, I'm still leaning heavily to Taiwan...
  • edited August 19 1 LikesVote Down
    nice info, I'm sure a few other than I that collect these little gems from Japan will be interested in this info even if passed on through my item description updates. Being a company seal makes a lot of sense to me as most all silk and other things that exported had some type of seal (inspection, Quality or otherwise- most evolved into advertising with nice art work).. i assume that it was also somewhat normal for China, Korea (have seen a few- Korea-Japan occupation) or Taiwan to follow this tradition. Very few unknown documented non standard revenues and seals are listed from Taiwan Formosa- pre WWII. Thanks
  • Wow. What a great forum and group of enthusiasts. This thread has been a pleasure to read. The knowledge and good will almost jump off the screen. Props.
  • Once in a while (but not too often) a forum escapes corruption. Enjoy
  • another interesting (to me) :-) Japan stamp or? found this in a box lot from EU. I think it has a France # Cancel the paperwork came with it so it intrigued someone else many years ago also. perhaps a tax on coins? I do know Japan had a few revenue stamps that were actually attached to paper currency as a added tax and are not that uncommon.21c
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