Reader’s Question: What does Japanese era card say?


(Reader’s question/Q&A) Recently I acquired a Japanese postcard displaying a map of Korea divided into sections (agriculture, communication, rail, and shipping). Since I can’t read Japanese, is there a way to translate the writing. The card was sent to Shanghai and has a pictorial red cancel with Shanghai receiving post mark.

Front of the card:

Reverse of the card:

The same side of the card, but with the characters much more readable:

Gregory Smith
Board Member: Gregory Smith (membership and marketing) Residence: Williamsport, PA Job: Retired CEO of Transitional Living Centers, Inc. KSS Member: #393

6 thoughts on “Reader’s Question: What does Japanese era card say?

  1. This picture postcard shows the comparison of development of Meiji 43 year (1910, when Japan started colonization in Korean peninsula) and Showa 8 year(1933).
    Agriculture 33,037,0000 Yen vs. 92,084,0000 Yen
    Industry 1,564,0000 Yen vs. 36,723,0000 Yen
    Post 1,026,0000 mails vs. 56,502,0000 mails
    Telecom 406,0000 calls vs. 1,728,0000 calls (telegram)
    Telephone 6,448 vs. 36,229 (telephone machine numbers)
    Rail 1,095 vs. 4,310 (thousand meters)
    Commerce 5,969,0000 yen vs. 77,281,0000 yen

  2. Great translation! To add one thing: the ,0000 in the above numbers is not a typo, but refers to the 10.000 (as opposed to 1.000) counting system. For instance the last number (77,281,0000 yen) should read as 772.810.000 yen. Which was a considerable amount at the time, as you could live for a few yen a day.

  3. The postmark is a LCD (large commemorative date stamp) of Pukchin 10.10.1 (Oct. 1, 1935). The inscription says “In commemoration of 25th anniversary of Korea Government General”.
    The imprint on address says “Issued by the Govt. General of Korea”. So this is an official issue and I think part of a series.

  4. Looking at the text on the card: isn’t that Russian (Cyrillic) text? If so then might it be a card to one of the White Russians living in China after the 1917 Russian revolution?

  5. Yes, the card is part of a series. A set of three issued October 1, 1935 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Government General. The text is Japanese. The large, somewhat stylized characters, (伸び行く朝鮮 / Nobi yuku Chōsen ) roughly translate to “Korea is continuing to develop”.

  6. One of our members, Evgeny Savchenko, sent us an update on this item:

    “If I understand correctly, he refers to a postcard stamped “Shanghai”: The same side of the card, but with the characters much more readable. The text is actually in Russian. «Дорогая Моня! Посылаю тебе открытки 3. Пожалуйста, верни их т.к. нам нужно для коллекции.» “Dear Monya! Sending you postcards 3. Please return them. we need for the collection.” Beyond that, it’s not very clear.”

    Intriguingly this suggests the sender was a philatelist!

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