Palms and Greater East Asia
On December 1, 1941 the Communications Ministry of Japan issued an invitation for members of the public to submit designs for the next new regular issue of postage stamps. The ministry stipulated that the designs "should be forceful and up-to-date, with subject matter that is effective as propaganda and promotes understanding of the current situation in anti-espionage, expansion of productive power, building a powerful national-defense state, and achieving other national policies." On 21 February 1942 nineteen prize winning designs earned awards up to ¥500. Nakano Takeshi, a Japanese citizen then living in occupied Peking, earned ¥30 for his 18th ranked design of the 10 sen "Palm Trees and Map of Greater East Asia." With minor changes by Kasori Teizo, this design was used for the 2nd Showa issue of 1 December 1942 (Japanese Philately 39(2):71).
Of course, Japan at the time was a member of the Axis Powers against which the struggles of World War II were carried out. Japan had been for more than a decade highly militarized and imperialistic. Much as the Americans of the nineteenth century had a sense of Manifest Destiny over the North American continent, and various European powers had for their colonial empires in the Americas, Africa and Asia, Japan had claimed "Greater East Asia" as Japan's share of the colonial powers' pie. Japan was the only non-European nation to realistically make such a claim, and the war for their empire was often called the "Greater East Asian War" by Japanese citizens (A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi).
Paper Type: Rives Lightweight Buff, 115 grams
Paper Size: 10" x 13"
Image Size: 4" x 5"
Edition Size: 50
Inks Used: Van Son Rubber-based: Warm Red, Rhodamine Red
Date cut: 2004-02-23 (Palms); 2009-02-26 (Map)
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