Collecting – Occupied Japan

I’m going to tell you about treasure and treasure hunting, (the treasure in this case is Occupied Japan Collectibles).

Simply Identified as Made in Occupied Japan
Made in Occupied Japan Tea Set Stamp

This is a story about what happened, after Japan surrendered, at the end of WWII, that brought about the creation of manufactured ceramics / porcelain dishware and figurines, stamped with the addition of the words “Occupied Japan”.

Victorian Lady & Man, 5 1/4″ Tall
Stamped on the bottom of the Lady & Man figurine, Made in Occupied Japan

I will tell you a little bit about how Occupied Japan Collectibles came to be.

This writing will show a few ceramic figurines, a tea set, cups & saucers, a dinner plate, a covered casserole dish & their manufacturing stamps.

It All Began With War

The story begins in the early 1930s. The Tokyo government took over a Chinese province, (Manchuria), which Tokyo renamed Manchukuo.

Time passed, then there was a clash at the Marco Polo bridge near Beijing, (this was on July 7, 1937).

These actions, along with other things happening with Hitler and his allies, seemed to cause the United States to react in a way that they hadn’t done so in the past, with China. The US government gave it’s 1st loan to China, (1938).

On December 7th, 1941, Japan’s military launched a surprise attack on the United States Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

War takes it’s tole on men, women, children, farms, businesses, structures and machines, but finally, over time, battles and bombs, Japan surrenders.

This is not a story about war. If you would like to better understand this topic, to begin, go to http://www.britannica.com and read “Pearl Harbor Attack”.

The War Has Ended. The Nation, the People of Japan, Need Help

Japan’s occupation had been discussed and was agreed on by the Allies in a series of wartime conferences.

The occupation was supposed to be a joint occupation by international powers, but the majority, of the governing of the nation of Japan, was entrusted to the U.S. forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. 

General MacArthur’s mission, was to revive Japan’s economy.

Due to the occupation, from 1945 to 1952, factories in Japan were told to print “Occupied Japan” or “Made in Occupied Japan” on products.

And so, Occupied Japan collectibles came into being.

A small collection of tea cups and saucers manufactured in Occupied Japan

Interest Takes Off with this Collectible.

Interest in Occupied Japan grew in the late 60s. Many Occupied Japan collectibles were seen as affordable and easy to identify.

A beautiful Periwinkle & White, Occupied Japan tea cup and saucer
Periwinkle & White Tea Cup & Saucer Made in Occupied Japan Stamp

Gene Florence was an author of at least 5 books on the subject of Occupied Japan collectibles.

Hand Painted Man with 2 Ladies

He was regarded by many as the foremost authority in the field.

Truly amazing artistry
Hand Painted Man with 2 Ladies, Occupied Japan Stamp

You may see Occupied Japan ceramics, manufactured under the name Ardalt, Andrea or Paulux, (being higher priced).

Mr. Florence said, “What’s interesting is that these were marketed in the downscale 10 cent stores of the time and considered inferior, but…a lot of these pieces were actually of very high quality”.

Tidbits of Information and My Feelings about Occupied Japan Collectibles

Dinnerware sets are said to be overrated, if you intent is as an investment. The problem often is no matching pieces, (this plate is beautifully decorated, but finding matching pieces might be problematic).

A beautiful 10 1/2 inch plate, but often, the problem is, there aren’t any matching pieces to be found.
10 & 1/2″ Made in Occupied Japan Dinner Plate Stamp

All of the pieces featured in this story, were manufactured 70 years ago. All survive post Occupied Japan, (from 1952 to present day).

Red, Navy & White Occupied Japan Tea Cup & Saucer with Flowers at the Cup’s Bottom
Red, Navy & White Occupied Japan Tea Cup & Saucer with Flowers at the Cup’s Bottom
Red, Navy & White Made in Occupied Japan Tea Cup & Saucer Stamp
Occupied Japan Covered Casserole / Sides Dish. As with the Plate above, this is beautiful, but sadly, I don’t have any accompanying pieces with this dish.
Beautiful Covered Casserole Dish, Made in Occupied Japan Stamp

I got lucky with this pattern, as one day, I found another cup and saucer just like the one I had found years ago.

Prince China Tea Cup and Saucer
Blue & Pink Cup’s & Saucer’s, Made in Occupied Japan Stamp

I love cups and saucers, tea sets and beautiful dishware, but figurines are fun too.

Most times, larger figurines are more valuable, as they are more scarce.

If you find a pair of figurines and a comparable quality of a single figurine, the pair will bring a better price, (often twice the value), of single figures.

Figurines 8″ or less are more common, so not as valuable.

Man Sitting on a Tree Stump, Made in Occupied Japan Stamp
This little man, (6 1/4″ tall), is sitting on a tree stump
The Victorian Era Man with Flowers figurine, has a Made in Occupied Japan Stamp, but it looks very poorly printed. Additionally, the stamp is not sealed under glaze, (all of my other pieces stamps are sealed). The fact that anyone could have stamped those words, makes me question this piece’s authenticity. I’m not saying it isn’t truly Made in Occupied Japan. I just don’t know. Just the same, this is the most recent piece I have purchased. I like the figurine’s look, so it sits on my bookshelf.
Victorian Era Man with Flowers Figurine, (7″ Tall)

A Warning

You do have to beware of forgeries.

Be warry of anything plastic, (there is doubt that any Occupied Japan pieces were made of plastic).

On ceramics / porcelain be warry of “Occupied Japan” lettering that appears as “perfect”. I am repeating this concern from statements I have read, but, I find this interesting as the only piece I have, that I am concerned with is my Victorian Era Man, (see my comments about it under the image of it’s stamp).

Treasure Hunting

Did you know, there is still treasure out there to be found, if you know what is a treasure and where you might find it? Now, wouldn’t you like to go on a treasure hunt?

A few of the pieces you see here, were passed on to me, by my mom, but I am a treasure hunter.

The majority, of the pieces pictured, I found in thrift stores.

I call it treasure hunting, because you never know what you will find, it’s always a hunt and often you find a treasure, like any one of these lovely pieces.

I enjoy, treasure hunting and decorating my home, with these beauties from the past.

I think many of you out there might enjoy treasure hunting for Occupied Japan too.

Decorate Your Home With Occupied Japan Collectible Treasures

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