Postage stamps and postal history of Ryukyu Islands

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Ryukyu Islands.

The Ryukyu Islands are a chain of islands in the western Pacific Ocean, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. The largest of the islands is Okinawa Island.

The Ryukyu Kingdom was formally annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1872, although the kingdom had been part of the feudal Satsuma Domain in Kyushu since 1609. During World War II, the islands came under the occupation of the United States military in 1945, and a civilian government was set up under American control in 1952. The islands reverted to the control of Japan in 1972.

Okinawa new Year stamp in 1959
New Year's stamp of the Ryukyu Island for 1959

First stamps

First Ryukyu Island definitive stamp, 1948
10th anniversary of first Ryukyu postage stamp
10th anniversary of first Ryukyu postage stamp, 1958

The first definitive stamps of the Ryukyu Islands were issued on July 1, 1948, and the first commemorative stamps were issued on February 12, 1951.

The final Ryukyu Island stamp was a commemorative stamp issued on April 20, 1972, after which time stamps of Japan were valid.[1][2]

See also


  1. ^ Ryukyu Islands. Sandafayre Stamp Atlas. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  2. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.

Further reading

  • Handbook and Specialized Catalogue of the Postal Issues of the Ryukyu (Liu Ch'iu) Islands (issued under United States administrations): Parts I-VIII; X. Berkeley, CA.: The Ryukyu Philatelic Specialist Society, 1978-2014
  • Schoberlin, Melvin H. A Study of Major Errors of the Ryukyu Islands, plus a thimbleful of history. State College, PA.: American Philatelic Society, 1965 24p.
  • Sera, Minoru and Nina S. Thomas. Ryukyus Handbook: Philatelic and Historic. Tokyo, 1963 238p.
  • Tachikawa, Kenkichi. Handbook of Ryukyu Postage Stamps. s.l.: Japan Philatelic Society, 1973 174p.

External links

Postage stamps and postal history of Japan

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. For example, while commemorating the 50th anniversary of Japan's postal service, the country's 1921 government released decorative postcards depicting intrepid horseback riders carrying the mail.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".Since 2007, the nation's post offices have been managed by the firm Japan Post Network, which is itself a part of the larger Japan Post Holdings conglomerate. As of December 2017, the smaller company has been managed by CEO Koji Furukawa. The simple Japanese postal mark, introduced in 1887, is still used to this day.

United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands

The United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (琉球列島米国民政府, Ryūkyū-rettō Beikoku Minseifu), or "USCAR", was the government in Okinawa, Japan, after World War II from 1950 until 1972.


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