In 1923 there was a terrible earthquake in Tokyo, and tens of thousands perished in a fiery holocaust. The postal facilities where stamps were printed and stored were destroyed, and much of the governmental infrastructure as well. With the government nearly shut down, emergency printing of postage stamps was contracted out to private printers, none of whom were equipped with machines to create the perforations or add the adhesive gum. The stamps thus had a somewhat antique appearance, but citizens nervous that the government had been dealt a fatal blow were reassured. "The Earthquake Issue" has since become highly collectible.
The 3s bright rose [Scott #182], designed by Morimoto Shigeo, brings together several legendary symbols of Japan in a modern-looking way. A Chrysanthemum is the central element, a representation of the Imperial family of Japan. It appears on every Japanese stamp from 1872 until the end of World War II. In the lower section cherry trees with stylized cherry blossoms frame Mt. Fuji, and above are two dragonflies flanking a central star. The star symbolizes the fact that the island was under martial law after the earthquake, a measure needed to protect the common safety. The dragonfly is a symbol of Japan and victory. Ancient legends hold that when the first emperor, Jimmu, descended from heaven, the shape of the island archipelago from his divine height reminded him of a dragonfly, "akitsu." He christened his regime "Akitsu-shima" or "The Land of The Dragonfly."
Paper Type: Rice Paper, Legion Mulberry White 38 [Utrecht #19118]
Paper Size: 9.75" x 13"
Image Size: 4" x 4.687"
Edition Size: 50
Inks Used: Water Soluble red(6); black/brown (0.1), yellow (0.05)
Date cut: 1999-06-08
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