Posted by: softypapa | February 6, 2008

Antique “Made in Japan” Rubber Stamp

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Made in Japan Rubber Stamp Japanese Tokaido Softypapa 


This large rubber stamp includes a wooden body and a carved rubber stamp featuring the words “MADE IN JAPAN”.  The stamp is in poor condition with cracked and worn rubber which is coming away from the wooden body at one end.  The wooden body is also worn and has the end of a nail coming through the handle.  This stamp dates from the mid Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) and was likely used to stamp products produced for export.

For nearly two hundred and fifty years the government of Japan had kept the country’s borders closed to the outside world with only limited trade and interaction with foreigners at a few designated port cities.  This condition ended in 1853 with the arrival of US warships under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry.  After Japan formally opened its doors to outside trade and influence, Japanese merchants began to consider how they might capitalize on the new markets opened to them.  For centuries foreigners had admired the rare items of Japanese art and craftsmanship which had found their way out of the mysterious island nation.  And now, with the country at last open to trade, Japanese craftsmen began sending their wares abroad and modifying their products to suit the tastes of foreign customers.  One of the industries which began to thrive under this circumstance was the ceramics industry.  In addition to traditional Japanese designs, many Japanese ceramics makers began to copy popular German items such as plate patterns and novelty pieces (Japanese ceramics manufacturers consider any item that is not a plate a “novelty” item).  Over time, Japanese ceramics made for western consumption took on a style and character all their own.  These remained tremendously popular abroad, especially in the United States, right up until the start of World War two.

Beginning in 1891 the United States government began to require that goods imported into the US should be marked in such as way as to identify their country of origin.  This was the start of the Made in Japan period of Japanese imports.  Initially, many Japanese companies stamped their products Made in Nippon as this is name the Japanese use to refer to their own country.  Items with such a stamp were likely made between 1891 and 1921, which is the year when the US government concluded that “Japan” should be used at all times on labels instead of “Nippon.”  Trade with the US stopped during the war but resumed again shortly after wars end.  Items from this period are usually stamped with any of the following: Occupied Japan, Made in Occupied Japan or simply Japan (many pieces though still used the old Made in Japan stamp or no stamp at all).  When the occupation of Japan ended in 1952 so did the use of the word “occupied” in export stamps.  This period also marks the beginning of the use of paper labels on Japanese exports.  By the early 1950’s technology in this area had improved such that manufacturers began to place paper labels on all their items.  Japanese ceramics makers continue to send their wares abroad to happy collectors around the world, though the industry is today nothing like it was during its heyday in the early part of the 20th century.  Pieces from this period are often particularly well made, demonstrating innovation and creativity and of course, the ever popular Made in Japan stamp.

Height: 1.4 inches (3.7 centimeters)
Width: 8.5 inches (21.8 centimeters)
Weight: 5.7 ounces (163 grams)

here to see additional treasures from Japan!

item code: R1S3-0003864
ship code: G3


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