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Monday, October 15, 2007 Posted: PM JST Vintage Japanese postcards give a wonderful view of what Japan and the Japanese used to look like about a hundred years ago.

Postcards became unbelievably popular in Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905.

Compared to philately, the identification of a postcard's place and time of production can often be an impossible task because postcards, unlike stamps, are produced in a decentralised, unregulated manner.

For this reason, some collectors choose to limit their acquisitions to cards by specific artists and publishers, or by time and location.

There are even reports of people who died in fights. After the war ended, postcards became less popular among Japanese, but the boom was kept alive by the increasing number of foreign tourists.

This book helps you date the postcards when postmarks and written documentation is not available.

Postmarks, Date Stamps and Stamps If the postmark has the location name in English, the date format is day-month-Gregorian year.

If the postmark is in Japanese, the date format is Japanese year-month-day.

The Japanese year depends on the period (Meiji, Taisho, Showa). The Japan Stamp Dealers' Association (JSDA) publishes the Japanese Postage Stamp Catalogue (Nihon Kitte Katarogu).

The catalogue is published annually and contains color images of all the stamps that Japan's postal service has issued since its inauguration with the stamp's issue date as well as other information.

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