A Postcard used in 1945, the last year of Japanese occupation of Korea

Old Korea

Forward Note by Bob Finder: The following article by one of our members of the Korea Stamp Society (KSS) shows one of the key values of being a member of the KSS; that value is the gaining of new information about Korean philately from other members. With the collaboration of six different members of the KSS we were able to piece together some of details about this postcard which I owned, but I had previously had little knowledge of what this postcard was all about.

This postcard shown in Figures 1 and 2 was posted on July 18, 1945, only a few weeks before the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan and WWII would be over. Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 and the Japanese occupation of Korea would soon be ended. But what does the postcard tell us about the sender and receiver?

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Figure 1: The addressed side of a postcard used in 1945 in Korea under occupation of Japan posted on July 18, 1945. The postal rate for domestic postcards mailings was 3 sen starting on April1, 1944. The postal rate was then raised to 5 sen on April 1, 1945. The sender needed to add a 2 sen Japanese stamp to meet the postal rate at the time of the posting. After the liberation of Korea from Japan, the initial Korean postal rate for domestic postcards was 5 Chon.
Figure 2. The message side of the postcard used in Korea in 1945 with the message from the sender.


Figures 3 and 4. Translation of the Japanese writing from the sender and the address side showing the location of the addressee. Translation and images by Kenji Nakano

The sender was Hongseong Agricultural School / SHINJO Yoshinaga, and the receiver was South Chungcheong Province Secretariat/ Mr. KAYAMA Tadashi. The written short message was “Congratulations on your promotion.”

Figure 5. Map of Korean provinces

This map shows the provinces of Korea. The sender was a person of Hongsung agricultural school. The Hongsung is a local area of the south Chungchung province.

Figure 6. Map showing the South Chungchung providence.

The receiver was the Secretariat of South Chungchung providence. The sender congratulated the promotion of the Secretariat of South Chungchung providence. The Japanese occupation period of Korea started on August 29, 1910 and ended on August 29, 1945, so this postcard was one of the few that must have been delivered shortly before the end of the war.

As this postcard was used shortly before August 15, 1945, could these two persons, one who had been recently promoted and the other who expressed “Congratulations on your promotion.”, imagine that the war would soon be over, and if they were Japanese, they would be returning soon to their home nation?

Thanks go to Kanji Nakano, Yi-Fu Chen, Florian Eichhorn and Ivo Spanjersberg for their contributions to this article.

Dr. Joel Lee
Born in Korea, Vietnam war participation as ROK marine, Dr. of Ministry, Retired Presbyterian Pastor. 40 years collected for Korea stamps 1884-1905.

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