This is a continuation of my previous article on postcards from the Meiji era.
In 1900, the Postal Law was enacted. Article 18 of the law reads as follows.
“Private postcards of the same size and paper quality as regular postcards issued by the government, with the words “Postcard" printed in the same position as the postcard, and with a stamp of the same amount affixed, shall be deemed to be regular postcards.
Private postcards that do not comply with the preceding paragraph shall be handled in the same manner as first-class mail matter (sealed letters)."
In the same year, the format of private postcards was also established as shown in the figure.
However, it is not true that picture postcards could not be sent before that time. Private postcards could be used as postcards for overseas mail, and I heard that domestic postcards could be sent as the rate of a sealed envelope.
To be precise, in Japan, private postcards could be sent at the postcard rate after September 1900.
The format of the postcards was revised in December 1903 as follows.
The address side
1900: Only the words can be written. The word “postal card" and the same notice as on official postcards.
1903: The words can be written. The word “postal card" or same word written in foreign languages. The word “Universal Postal Union". And the name of the issuing or selling office.
Conditions added in 1903
The paper color must be white or a color similar to white.
The reverse side must not be colored in such a way as to stain other mail.
Watermarking or embossing is permitted if it does not interfere with addressing.
It is possible to use foreign postcards in Japan.
When the use of private postcards became widespread, many of them had various characters and designs added to the surface, which caused a lot of problems, so these amendments were made.
Official commemorating picture postcards
The year 1902 marked the 25th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the Universal Postal Union, and a celebration was held.
It was also at this time that the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications issued its first picture postcards. It was also at this time that the commemorative postmark began to be stamped.
The National Diet Library’s Digital Collection has a book titled “Commemorative Memorabilia of the 25th Anniversary of Japan’s Accession to the Universal Postal Union," which should include a photo of the event, but the photo is so blacked out that I can’t see it.
I was told that this was the venue, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. But I hope the photos could be looked better.
Let’s get back to the main line.
“Commemorative postcards for the 25th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the Universal Postal Union were sold in sets of six for 5 sen (stamps were to be affixed by the sender).
The following image is difficult to understand, it has “25 Years of the Universal Postal Union" written in Japanese at the top. Then “Jubilé de l’entrée dans l’Union Postale Universelle" in French below it. The picture above shows the Yokohama Post Office building 25 years before the postcard was issued, and the picture below shows the Yokohama Post and Telegraph Office building at the time the postcard was issued.
Commemorative postcards issued by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications since then are as follows
The Russo-Japanese War (1st): 6 types, September 1904
The Russo-Japanese War (2nd): 3 types, December 1904
The 3rd Russo-Japanese War (15 types), February 1905.
The 4th Russo-Japanese War (15 types) October 1905
Triumphal return of Manchurian General Headquarters, 1 type, Dec. 1905
Triumphal return of the Army (A, B): 2 types, April 1906.
The Russo-Japanese War (5th): 3 types, May 1906
Welcome to the U.S. fleet: 2 types, October 1908
Jingu Shikinen Sengu: 2 types, October 1909
Japan-Britain Exposition: 3 types, May 1910
Mainly war-related postcards were published, and the number of postcards decreased after the Russo-Japanese War.
The number of picture postcards issued by local governments, newspapers, exposition organizers, and other organizations increased around 1906.
During the Sino-Japanese War, military mail was limited to sealed envelopes. During the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, postcards issued by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications were distributed to the military personnel bureaus for the war effort, and civilian picture postcards were often used in addition to official postcards.
In the book “Tips for the soldier and family, the bereaved" published in 1905, the following is written in the form of Q&A.
“Q: Can private postcards be sent?
A: Private postcards are acceptable. Private postcards are in vogue these days, so sending them is also a good idea. However, it is forbidden to use postcards that may be offensive to public morals."
The purpose of this book, however, was to explain the procedures for receiving special gifts for the families of those who died in the war, support for the families of soldiers who went off to war, and procedures for receiving Military pension.
[Reference] (All books are written in Japanese.)
“Tips for the soldier and family, the bereaved" (1905, Bunshodo Editorial Office, ed., Sakakibara Shoten)
“Various Commemorative Picture Postcards" (1917, Ichiro Ouchi ed., Awaji Picture Postcard Club)
“The History of Japan Postage Stamps" (1930, by Sekko Hibata, Japan Postage Stamp Club)
“The sequel of the History of Japanese Postage Stamps" (1933, Sekko Hibata, Japan Postage Stamp Club)