Japan

日本国 (Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku)

  

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

  • Capital:   Tokyo
  • Official Language: Japanese
  • Demonym(s): Japanese
  • Total Area: 377,975 km2 (145,937 sq mi)
  • Population: 125,470,000 (2021 estimate)
  • Currency:  Japanese yen (¥)
  • First Stamp(s) Issued: April 1871

Japan is an island country in East Asia, located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, and extends from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. Part of the Ring of Fire, Japan spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is Japan’s capital and largest city; other major cities include Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

Japan is the eleventh-most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated and urbanized. About three-fourths of the country’s terrain is mountainous, concentrating its population of 125.47 million on narrow coastal plains. Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37.4 million residents.

Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC), though the first written mention of the archipelago appears in a Chinese chronicle finished in the 2nd century AD. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan became unified under an emperor and the imperial court based in Heian-kyō. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by a series of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō), and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai). After a century-long period of civil war, the country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted an isolationist foreign policy. In 1854, a United States fleet forced Japan to open trade to the West, which led to the end of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization. In 1937, Japan invaded China; in 1941, it entered World War II as an Axis power. After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a new constitution. Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet.

Japan is a great power and a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1956), the OECD, and the Group of Seven. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world’s strongest militaries. After World War II, Japan experienced record growth in an economic miracle, becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 1990. As of 2021, the country’s economy is the third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. A global leader in the automotive and electronics industries, Japan has made significant contributions to science and technology. Ranked “very high” on the Human Development Index, Japan has the world’s highest life expectancy, though it is experiencing a decline in population. The culture of Japan is well known around the world, including its art, cuisine, music, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent animation and video game industries.

The name for Japan in Japanese is written using the kanji 日本 and pronounced Nippon or Nihon. Before it was adopted in the early 8th century, the country was known in China as Wa (倭) and in Japan by the endonym Yamato. Nippon, the original Sino-Japanese reading of the characters, is favored for official uses, including on banknotes and postage stamps. Nihon is typically used in everyday speech and reflects shifts in Japanese phonology during the Edo period. The characters 日本 mean “sun origin”. It is the source of the popular Western epithet “Land of the Rising Sun”.

The name Japan is based on the Chinese pronunciation and was introduced to European languages through early trade. In the 13th century, Marco Polo recorded the early Mandarin or Wu Chinese pronunciation of the characters 日本國 as Cipangu. The old Malay name for Japan, Japang or Japun, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect and encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia, who brought the word to Europe in the early 16th century. The first version of the name in English appears in a book published in 1577, which spelled the name as Giapan in a translation of a 1565 Portuguese letter.

Geography

Japan comprises 6852 islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. It stretches over 3000 km (1900 mi) northeast–southwest from the Sea of Okhotsk to the East China Sea. The country’s five main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa. The Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, are a chain to the south of Kyushu. The Nanpō Islands are south and east of the main islands of Japan. Together they are often known as the Japanese archipelago. As of 2021, Japan’s territory is 377,975.24 km² (145,937.06 sq mi). Japan has the sixth longest coastline in the world at 29,751 km (18,486 mi). Because of its far-flung outlying islands, Japan has the sixth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 4,470,000 km² (1,730,000 sq mi).

Because of its mountainous terrain, approximately 67% of Japan’s land is uninhabitable. The habitable zones, mainly in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities: Japan is one of the most densely populated countries. In 2014, approximately 0.5% of Japan’s total area was reclaimed land (umetatechi).

Japan is substantially prone to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes because of its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. It has the 17th highest natural disaster risk as measured in the 2016 World Risk Index. Japan has 111 active volcanoes. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunami, occur several times each century; the 1923 Tokyo earthquake killed over 140,000 people. More recent major quakes are the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, which triggered a large tsunami.

History

A Paleolithic culture from around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the islands of Japan. This was followed from around 14,500 BC (the start of the Jōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture. Clay vessels from the period are among the oldest surviving examples of pottery. From around 1000 BC, Yayoi people began to enter the archipelago from Kyushu, intermingling with the Jōmon; the Yayoi period saw the introduction of practices including wet-rice farming, a new style of pottery, and metallurgy from China and Korea. According to legend, Emperor Jimmu (grandson of Amaterasu) founded a kingdom in central Japan in 660 BC, beginning a continuous imperial line.

Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese Book of Han, completed in 111 AD. Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Baekje (a Korean kingdom) in 552, but the development of Japanese Buddhism was primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class, including figures like Prince Shōtoku, and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the Asuka period (592–710).

The far-reaching Taika Reforms in 645 nationalized all land in Japan, to be distributed equally among cultivators, and ordered the compilation of a household registry as the basis for a new system of taxation. The Jinshin War of 672, a bloody conflict between Prince Ōama and his nephew Prince Ōtomo, became a major catalyst for further administrative reforms. These reforms culminated with the promulgation of the Taihō Code, which consolidated existing statutes and established the structure of the central and subordinate local governments. These legal reforms created the ritsuryō state, a system of Chinese-style centralized government that remained in place for half a millennium.

The Nara period (710–784) marked the emergence of a Japanese state centered on the Imperial Court in Heijō-kyō (modern Nara). The period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent literary culture with the completion of the Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720), as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired artwork and architecture. A smallpox epidemic in 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan’s population. In 784, Emperor Kanmu moved the capital, settling on Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto) in 794. This marked the beginning of the Heian period (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged. Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of Japan’s national anthem “Kimigayo” were written during this time.

Japan’s feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the Taira clan in the Genpei War, samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo established a military government at Kamakura. After Yoritomo’s death, the Hōjō clan came to power as regents for the shōguns. The Zen school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate repelled Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281 but was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo. Go-Daigo was defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336, beginning the Muromachi period (1336–1573). The succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyōs) and a civil war began in 1467, opening the century-long Sengoku period (“Warring States”).

During the 16th century, Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. Oda Nobunaga used European technology and firearms to conquer many other daimyōs; his consolidation of power began what was known as the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the death of Nobunaga in 1582, his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified the nation in the early 1590s and launched two unsuccessful invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597.

Tokugawa Ieyasu served as regent for Hideyoshi’s son Toyotomi Hideyori and used his position to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, Ieyasu defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was appointed shōgun by Emperor Go-Yōzei in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The shogunate enacted measures including buke shohatto, as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyōs, and in 1639 the isolationist sakoku (“closed country”) policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period (1603–1868). Modern Japan’s economic growth began in this period, resulting in roads and water transportation routes, as well as financial instruments such as futures contracts, banking and insurance of the Osaka rice brokers. The study of Western sciences (rangaku) continued through contact with the Dutch enclave in Nagasaki. The Edo period gave rise to kokugaku (“national studies”), the study of Japan by the Japanese.

In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the “Black Ships” of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. Subsequent similar treaties with other Western countries brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shōgun led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state nominally unified under the emperor (the Meiji Restoration). Adopting Western political, judicial, and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. During the Meiji era (1868–1912), the Empire of Japan emerged as the most developed nation in Asia and as an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea and the southern half of Sakhalin. The Japanese population doubled from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million by 1935, with a significant shift to urbanization.

The early 20th century saw a period of Taishō democracy (1912–1926) overshadowed by increasing expansionism and militarization. World War I allowed Japan, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to capture German possessions in the Pacific and in China. The 1920s saw a political shift towards statism, a period of lawlessness following the 1923 Great Tokyo Earthquake, the passing of laws against political dissent, and a series of attempted coups. This process accelerated during the 1930s, spawning a number of radical nationalist groups that shared a hostility to liberal democracy and a dedication to expansion in Asia. In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria; following international condemnation of the occupation, it resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany; the 1940 Tripartite Pact made it one of the Axis Powers.

The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). In 1940, the Empire invaded French Indochina, after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. On December 7–8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor, as well as on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong, among others, beginning World War II in the Pacific. Throughout areas occupied by Japan during the war, numerous abuses were committed against local inhabitants, with many forced into sexual slavery. After Allied victories during the next four years, which culminated in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender. The war cost Japan its colonies and millions of lives. The Allies (led by the United States) repatriated millions of Japanese settlers from their former colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and its influence over the territories it conquered. The Allies convened the International Military Tribunal for the Far East to prosecute Japanese leaders for war crimes.

In 1947, Japan adopted a new constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The Allied occupation ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. A period of record growth propelled Japan to become the second-largest economy in the world; this ended in the mid-1990s after the popping of an asset price bubble, beginning the “Lost Decade”. On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered one of the largest earthquakes in its recorded history, triggering the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. On May 1, 2019, after the historic abdication of Emperor Akihito, his son Naruhito became Emperor, beginning the Reiwa era.

Flag of Japan

The national flag of Japan is a rectangular white banner bearing a crimson-red circle at its center. This flag is officially called Nisshōki (日章旗, the “flag of sun”), but is more commonly known in Japan as Hinomaru (日の丸, the “circle of the sun”). It embodies the country’s sobriquet: Land of the Rising Sun.

The Nisshōki flag is designated as the national flag in the Act on National Flag and Anthem, which was promulgated and became effective on 13 August 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan, the governmental body of the early Meiji period, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on 27 February 1870), and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on 27 October 1870). Use of the Hinomaru was severely restricted during the early years of the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II; these restrictions were later relaxed.

The sun plays an important role in Japanese mythology and religion as the Emperor is said to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu and the legitimacy of the ruling house rested on this divine appointment and descent from the chief deity of the predominant Shinto religion. The name of the country as well as the design of the flag reflect this central importance of the sun. The ancient history Shoku Nihongi says that Emperor Monmu used a flag representing the sun in his court in 701, and this is the first recorded use of a sun-motif flag in Japan. The oldest existing flag is preserved in Unpō-ji temple, Kōshū, Yamanashi, which is older than the 16th century, and an ancient legend says that the flag was given to the temple by Emperor Go-Reizei in the 11th century. During the Meiji Restoration, both the sun disc and the Rising Sun Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army became major symbols in the emerging Japanese Empire. Propaganda posters, textbooks, and films depicted the flag as a source of pride and patriotism. In Japanese homes, citizens were required to display the flag during national holidays, celebrations and other occasions as decreed by the government. Different tokens of devotion to Japan and its Emperor featuring the Hinomaru motif became popular among the public during the Second Sino-Japanese War and other conflicts. These tokens ranged from slogans written on the flag to clothing items and dishes that resembled the flag.

Public perception of the national flag varies. Historically, both Western and Japanese sources claimed the flag was a powerful and enduring symbol to the Japanese. Since the end of World War II (the Pacific War), the use of the flag and the national anthem Kimigayo has been a contentious issue for Japan’s public schools. Disputes about their use have led to protests and lawsuits. For the governments of China and South Korea, the flag is a symbol of aggression and imperialism. Several military banners of Japan are based on the Hinomaru, including the sunrayed naval ensign. The Hinomaru also serves as a template for other Japanese flags in public and private use.

Imperial Seal of Japan

The Imperial Seal of Japan or National Seal of Japan, also called the Chrysanthemum Seal (菊紋, kikumon), Chrysanthemum Flower Seal (菊花紋, 菊花紋章, kikukamon, kikukamonshō) or Imperial chrysanthemum emblem (菊の御紋, kikunogomon), is one of the national seals and a crest (mon) used by the Emperor of Japan and members of the Imperial Family. It is a contrast to the Paulownia Seal used by the Japanese government.

During the Meiji period, no one was permitted to use the Imperial Seal except the Emperor of Japan, who used a 16-petal chrysanthemum with sixteen tips of another row of petals showing behind the first row. Therefore, each member of the Imperial family used a slightly modified version of the seal. Shinto shrines either displayed the imperial seal or incorporated elements of the seal into their own tag.

Earlier in Japanese history, when Emperor Go-Daigo, who tried to break the power of the shogunate in 1333, was exiled, he adopted the seventeen-petal chrysanthemum to differentiate himself from the Northern Court’s Emperor Kōgon, who kept the imperial 16-petal mon.

The symbol is a yellow or orange chrysanthemum with black or red outlines and background. A central disc is surrounded by a front set of 16 petals. A rear set of 16 petals are half staggered in relation to the front set and are visible at the edges of the flower. An example of the chrysanthemum being used is in the badge for the Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Other members of the Imperial Family use a version with 14 single petals, while a form with 16 single petals is used for Diet members’ pins, orders, passports, and other items that carry or represent the authority of the Emperor. The Imperial Seal is also used on the standards of the Imperial Family.

Postal History

The story of Japan’s postal system with its postage stamps and related postal history goes back centuries. The country’s first modern postal service got started in 1871, with mail professionally travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo as well as the latter city and Osaka. This took place in the midst of the rapid industrialization and social reorganization that the Meiji period symbolized in Japanese history. Given how the nation’s railroad technology was in its infancy, Japan’s growing postal system relied heavily on human-powered transport, including rickshaws, as well as horse-drawn methods of delivery.

Public posts would not be established until 1871; prior to that several nations maintained foreign post offices. The British maintained post offices in Yokohama (opened 1859), Nagasaki (1860), and Kobe (1869), all closing in December 1879. From 1864 on, the offices used stamps of Hong Kong. France had an office in Yokohama from 1865 to 1880, using French stamps. The United States opened post offices in Yokohama and Nagasaki in 1867, in Kobe in 1868, and in Hakodate in 1871, using US stamps, and closing in 1874.

In terms of communications, British technicians had already been employed in assisting with Japanese lighthouses, and the country’s budding mail system looked to hybridize British ideas with local practicalities. Shipping along the nation’s coastline in particular demonstrates a key instance of how the Japanese economy developed: the government closely working with private companies to industrially expand in a way that met social needs while also allowing for large profits. Mitsubishi’s contract for mail transport by sea proved lucrative enough that it assisted with the firm becoming one of the famous “zaibatsu“.

In 1870, Baron Maeshima visited London to learn the workings of the British postal system, and founded Japan’s postal system in 1871. The first stamps were issued in April 1871, in a set of four covering the different postal rates; the intricate two-color design consisted of a pair of dragons facing towards the center, where the characters of value were printed in black. The denominations were in mon, which had already been superseded by the yen; forgeries outnumber genuine by 10:1.

The same basic design denominated in yen appeared in 1872, but was itself soon replaced by a new set of four designs featuring the imperial crest. The new designs also included Latin letters for the denomination, a trend which has been generally followed since, and a chrysanthemum, which was on every Japanese stamp until 1947, in lieu of the actual visage of the emperor. In 1876, a long definitive series was introduced, with a generally oval inner frame, and inscribed “IMPERIAL JAPANESE POST”.

Japan joined the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1877. The first commemorative stamp, in 1894, marked the 25th anniversary of the wedding of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. The first persons depicted were Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa and Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, honored in 1896 for their role in the First Sino-Japanese War that had ended the previous year. Japan issued stamps for use at its post offices in China (1876–1922) and Korea (1876–1905).

1935 saw the first New Year’s stamp, issued at the end of the year to pay postage on New Year’s cards. It depicted Mount Fuji, as did the first of a long-running series of national parks issues, appearing in 1936.

During World War II, Japan issued a variety of overprints and new designs for its occupied territories including Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. A new definitive series in 1942 reflected Japan’s entry into the war, with designs including war workers and saluting aviators. They were superseded by a new series in 1945 and another in 1946, crudely printed and issued imperforate. At the end of the war, between October 1946 and February 1949, Australian stamps overprinted “B.C.O.F. / JAPAN / 1946” were used by the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Allied occupied Japan.

In accordance with UPU regulations, in 1966, Japanese started including the name “NIPPON” in Latin characters in addition to the Latin-character denomination.

From 1989 to 2007, prefecture stamps appeared. Although valid for postage throughout the country, the designs are specific to the prefecture and are only sold in the prefecture’s postal region. From 2008, prefectural issues were available for sale nationwide. Moreover, the calligraphic style of the characters for “Japan Post” on each stamp were changed to reflect the style used in non-prefecture issues for most stamps.

Japan Post Co., Ltd. (日本郵便株式会社, Nippon Yū-bin Kabushiki-gaisha), is a Japanese post, logistics and courier headquartered in Tokyo. It is part of the Japan Post Holdings group, formed on 1 October 2007 after the privatization of its predecessor, Japan Post. On 1 October 2012, Japan Post Network was merged with Japan Post Service to form Japan Post Co., Ltd.

The postal system was reorganized in 2003 with the creation of Japan Post (日本郵政公社, Nippon Yūsei Kōsha), a government-owned corporation offering postal and package delivery services, banking services, and life insurance. It was the nation’s largest employer, with over 400,000 employees, and ran 24,700 post offices throughout Japan. One third of all Japanese government employees worked for Japan Post. 

Japan Post ran the world’s largest postal savings system and was often said to be the largest holder of personal savings in the world: with ¥224 trillion ($2.1 trillion) of household assets in its yū-cho savings accounts, and ¥126 trillion ($1.2 trillion) of household assets in its kampo life insurance services; its holdings accounted for 25 percent of household assets in Japan. Japan Post also held about ¥140 trillion (one fifth) of the Japanese national debt in the form of government bonds.

On 1 October 2007, Japan Post was privatized following a fierce political debate that was settled by the general election of 2005. The major concern was Japan Post, with government backing, stymieing competition and giving politicians access to postal savings to fund pet projects. Japan Post was split into three companies in 2007, intending to be privatized by 2017. Following privatization, Japan Post Holdings operate the postal business.

In 2010, privatization was put on hold. The Japanese Ministry of Finance remains the 100% shareholder. However, on 26 October 2012, the Japanese government unveiled plans to list shares of Japan Post Holdings within three years, partly to raise money for the reconstruction of areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. However, as of 2020, the government still holds 57% of shares, and March 2028 was announced as the target date of privatization.

The symbol for a post office in Japan is a stylized katakana syllable te (テ), 〒. This is used on the signs of post offices, on post boxes, and before the postcode on envelopes and packages. It is derived from the Japanese word teishin (逓信, literally, “communications”).

The symbol can be obtained by typing yuubin in a Japanese word processor and then converting it. There are several variant forms of this symbol in Unicode, including a form in a circle, 〶 (Unicode U+3036), which is the official Geographical Survey Institute of Japan map symbol for a post office. It also appears in 🏣 (Unicode U+1F3E3), an emoji representing a (specifically Japanese) post office, as the sign on the building.

〠 (Unicode U+3020) is a character of Japan Post. Its name is Number- kun. Japan Post released a new character, “Poston“, in 1998, so Number-kun is rarely used nowadays.

 

Contact Information:

Japan Post Co. Ltd.:  Website
Online Sales:  Yushi Stamp Magazine Net (in Japanese)
Additional Information: Japan Philatelic Society Blog (in Japanese)

2020 Stamp Programme

12

January 2020

Oishii Nippon (Series 1) — Fukuoka


 20 stamps in two booklets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

20

January 2020

Lunar New Year – Year of the Rat: Lottery


 2 stamps in 1 miniature sheet

 

 

23

January 2020

Greetings — Celebration Designs


 6 stamps in 3 booklet panes of 10 stamps each (five of each design)

 

 

 

28

January 2020

05

February 2020

Astronomical Worlds (Series III)


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet

 

07

February 2020

Tourist Sites — Hakodate and Miyakojima


 20 regional stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

21

February 2020

Spring Greetings – Flowers


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

02

March 2020

Omotenashi (Hospitality) Flowers (Series 13)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

 

 

 

10

March 2020

Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays


 2 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (5 of each design)

 

 

19

March 2020

World Of Arts (Series 1): Blue


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps

 

 

01

April 2020

Flowers in Daily Life — Roses


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

   

 

 

06

April 2020

14th UN Conference on Crime Prevention, Kyoto


 5 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design)

 

 

 

15

April 2020

Basic Greetings Stamps


 3 stamps in sheets of 50 stamps (1 design per sheet)

 

 

20

April 2020

Philately Week 2020


 2 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design)

 

 

 

21

April 2020

National Ainu Museum And Park Opening


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

 

 

08

May 2020

Customs & Traditions — Sumo Wrestling


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each 

 

 

 

 

 

14

May 2020

Greetings — Celebration Designs (Sea Life and Flowers)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

May 2020

Doraemon


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

May 2020

 National Treasures (Series I): Treasures from the Yayoi and Kofun Eras / Buildings from the Nara and Muromachi Eras


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TBD

June 2020

Kamomeru


 2 stamps in 1 miniature sheet; Kamomeru are summer greeting cards containing a lottery ticket, sold every year starting in June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

01

June 2020

Greetings — Summer Vacations


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

June 2020

Natural Monument (Series 5): Hoshidate Natural Monument, Okinawa


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

June 2020

Scenery and Things of Edo and Tokyo (Series 1): Nihonbashi


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

June 2020

Japanese Traditional Color (Series 4)


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

01

July 2020

Sea Life (Series 4): Tropical Fish


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08

July 2020

World Heritage Sites (Series 13) — Mozu Furuichi Kofun Group


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

July 2020

Protecting Historic Sites, Places of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monuments Centenary


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

July 2020

Letter-Writing Day 2020: Nostalgic Scenes  


 10 stamps in 2 booklet panes of 10 stamps each (2 of each design) 

 

 

 

 

03

August 2020

Philanippon 2021: Views of Mount Fuji


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

 

 

18

August 2020

Omotenashi (Hospitality) Flowers (Series 14)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

 

21

August 2020

Greetings — Autumn


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

  

 

01

September 2020

Population Census in Japan Centenary


 5 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design)

 

  

 

15

September 2020

Greetings — Posukuma and Friends (Teddy Bears)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

 

 

18

September 2020

Rotary International in Japan Centenary


 5 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design)

25

September 2020

Greetings — Celebration Designs 2020


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

05

October 2020

International Year of Plant Health


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps

 

09

October 2020

International Letter Writing Week


 59 stamps in 4 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (1 design each) and 1 pane of 55 stamps sold by Japan Post for ¥ 5500 in a special collectible case

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

October 2020

World of Arts (Series 2): Red


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

29

October 2020

Lunar New Year — Year of the Ox 2021


 2 regular stamps and 2 lottery stamps

 

 

 

 

11

November 2020

Oishii Nippon (Series 2): Sapporo


 20 stamps in 2 booklet panes of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

16

November 2020

Animals (Series 3)


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each  

 

 

 

20

November 2020

Greetings — Winter


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each  

 

 

 

 

 

27

November 2020

Children’s Picture Books (Series 4) — Friends by Leo Leonni


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps  

 

 

 

04

December 2020

Traditional Musical Instruments (Series 3)


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each  

 

 

 

14

December 2020

Omotenashi (Hospitality) Flowers (Series 15)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design) 

 

 

 

2021 Stamp Programme

12

January 2021

Greetings — Natural Landscapes 


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each

 

 

 

15

January 2021

 Moomin


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each  

18

January 2021

Lunar New Year – Year of the Ox: Lottery 


 2 stamps in 1 miniature sheet 

 

 

 

22

January 2021

Record of Nature (Series 1): Flower Illustrations from Makoto Hanaki by Konoe Iehiro


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps  

03

February 2021

Astronomical Worlds (Series 4)


 35 stamps in 2 miniature sheets (1 of 10 stamps, 1 of 25 stamps)

  

19

February 2021

Greetings — Spring


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

  

09

March 2021

My Journey Stamp (Series No. 6): Tohoku


 26 stamps in 3 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (1 sheet contains 4 stamps – 2 of each design – plus 2 additional stamps)  

12

March 2021

Nautical Cartography in Japan 150th Anniversary


 5 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design)  

01

April 2021

Omotenashi (Hospitality) Flowers (Series 16)


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

14

April 2021

Basic Greetings Stamps


 2 stamps in 2 sheets of 50 stamps each 

20

April 2021

Japan’s Modern Postal Service 150th Anniversary


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps 

23

April 2021

Greetings — Celebration Designs 2021


 4 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (5 of each design) 

10

May 2021

Natural Monuments (Series 4): Lake Towada and Oirase Gorge


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps


 

17

May 2021

Greetings — Flowers in Daily Life


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each 

 

21

May 2021

Japanese Tradition and Culture (Series 4): Kimono


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each 

 

21

May 2021

National Land Greening: Shimane Prefecture Land Afforestation Campaign


 5 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps (2 of each design); this issue was originally scheduled to be released on 26 May 2020 but was postponed to 2021

01

June 2021

Greetings — Summer


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each 

 

16

June 2021

National Treasures (Series 2): Treasures and Architecture from the Muromachi and Early Edo Eras


 20 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each 

 

 

23

June 2021

Games of the XXXIIrd Olympiad and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games


 76 stamps in 3 sheets of 25 stamps each plus 1 souvenir sheet in special folder; the souvenir sheet is only available in the commemorative folder 

 

 

25

June 2021

Modern Currency System 150th Anniversary


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps 

01

July 2021

Sea Life (Series 5): Whale Shark


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps 

07

July 2021

Pokémon


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps 

21

July 2021

Letter-Writing Day 2021


 10 stamps in 2 miniature sheets of 10 stamps each (2 of each design)

 

25

August 2021

Pokémon Card Game


 10 stamps in 1 miniature sheet of 10 stamps