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1871, 100 mon = 1 sen.
1872, 10 rin = 1 sen; 100 sen = 1 yen.

A policy of isolation was pursued by the Japanese until 1854, all foreigners being unwelcome. Imperial rule replaced that of the shoguns in 1867. The Japanese occupied the Ryukyu Islands in 1879, Formosa in 1895 and Southern Sakhalin after defeating the Russians in 1905. They annexed Korea in 1910. Fighting on the Allied side in World War I, Japan received under mandate the former German colonies lying north of the Equator (Marianas, Carolines, and Marshall Islands, see Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific).

After seizing Manchuria in 1931, Japan began the invasion of China, capturing both Peking and Shanghai by 1937 and penetrating coastal areas beyond the River Yangtze. French Indo-China was attacked after the fall of France in July 1941. A treacherous attack without declaration of war on 7 December 1941 upon the US, British and Dutch possessions in South- east Asia extended Japanese dominion by 1942 to the borders of India and Australia. After defeat and unconditional surrender on 14 August 1945, Japan was reduced to its original islands. A constitutional monarchy was decreed on 3 May 1947.

Postal History
Official government posts, reformed in 1630, were not open to the public. Private couriers carried some letters, but in general there was no public service before 1871.

Foreign POs were established in Japan soon after the first merchants were allowed in.

British POs were opened at Yokohama (1859), Nagasaki (1860) and Hyogo (Kobe) in 1869. All closed in December 1879.

Used stamps of Hong Kong from 1864 (Yokohama, oblit. Y1 from 1866; Nagasaki, oblit. N2 from 1866; Hyogo, oblit. D30 from 1876).

French PO opened at Yokohama in 1865 (closed in March 1880).

Used stamps of France (oblit. 5118 in diamond of dots to 1876; then datestamps).

United States POs were opened at Yokohama and Nagasaki in 1867; at Hyogo in 1868; and at Hakodate in 1871. All closed in December 1874.

Used stamps of USA with named cancellers. Japan joined the UPU in 1877. Until 1947 all Japanese stamps incorporated a symbolic representation of the chrysanthemum in their designs.

Stamps of Japan without distinguishing overprint were used in many places in the Japanese Empire. The general issue of 1942-5 was used in conquered territories.

BCOF Australian stamps overprinted BCOF JAPAN 1946 were issued for the Commonwealth Occupation Forces on 11 October. They were withdrawn on 12 February 1943.

Ryukyu Islands

FIRST STAMPS Japanese until 1945.



1948, Japanese.
1958-72, US.

Okinawa was captured by US forces 1 April - 21 June 1945 and the group was occupied by the USA until restored to Japan on 15 May 1972.

A US military PO was established in August 1945 and, later, civilian mail passed free.

Has used stamps of Japan since 15 May 1972.

China & Japan to 1942
Click map for larger view

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