Korea 1945 Cover after WW2 Questions

South Korea

Recently I purchased on eBay, what is most likely a philatelic cover that was a curiosity to me. It was a cover addressed to a fairly famous US naval officer, Read Admiral Jeraud Wright, dated December 12, 1945. (See images of front and back cover) I was not aware that covers had been made with Japanese stamps, before the US military had overprinted the Japanese stamps, issued on February 1, 1946 under US Military Rule (see Korean Postal Stamp Catalog numbers RS1-RS6, Scott 55-60). The Japanese cancels read KEIZYO (which means Seoul) over TYÔSEN (Chôsen, old name for “Korea”).

The characters 海軍 on the reverse side mean according to our member Yi-Fu Chen “sea” () and “military” () respectively. This combines into the term “sea military”, which is of course “navy” in English. The hangul version of this term is 해군 (pron.: “hae-gun”).

The USA military went into Incheon, Korea on September 8, 1945 after the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945. The southern part of Korea was until the control of the US military. The Japanese colonial government offices remained in operation in the early days, including the Japanese Post Office.

The addressee on the cover, Rear Admiral Jerauld Wright, was the Commander of Cruise Division 6 of the US navy, taking command in early October 1945. He was the senior-ranking member of the committee that accepted surrender of the Japanese forces throughout Korea. After WW2, he continued to have an accomplished career in both the US military and as a government diplomat. He would rise to the full rank of Admiral in 1952. He was involved in the development of NATO, supported the CIA and became US Ambassador to the Republic of China in 1963.

The rest of this article is for KSS members only. Please login.

3 thoughts on “Korea 1945 Cover after WW2 Questions

  1. Hello Bob,
    there was no civilian foreign* mail service of Korea in December 1945.
    With 8 different stamps, the cover is clearly cto / philatelic.
    The envelope used is of japanese navy administration origin, vertical style, the characters in japanese read “Kaigun” (navy). And yes, one can read or spell the characters also in korean, chinese, vietnamese, malay… none of these countries had a navy in Korea before the US occupation.
    – Tons of similiar covers used in Japan proper exist, pmkd. Yokohama or Tokyo, often with 1945.9.2 or 1945.9.10 dates (official landing day, official occupation day ec., often backdated). And they exist addressed to US, UK, Australia.. Again there was no foreign mail service in Japan before 1946.9.10 (cards) or 1947.1.10 (covers). None of them was actually mailed. Souvenirs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.