Japan Commemorative Stamps

In the following, a very nice selection of mint condition Japan commemorative stamps issued by the Japan post service.

Feel free to browse through the selection and, if interested, add your favorite commemorative postage stamp to your Japanese stamp collection.


Japan Commemorative Stamps - 2012 Annual Meetings IMF World Bank Group

Each autumn, the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund hold annual meetings to discuss a range of issues related to poverty reduction, economic development and finance. The annual meetings are traditionally held in Washington DC or in a member country. About 10,000 people attend the meetings, including representatives of media, the banking sector, and private business.

To commemorate this annual event, the Japanese postal service is to issue a special stamp sheet.

This Japanese stamp sheet will be issued on October 12, 2012.

The Japanese postage stamps on the left show the following images.

Left column:

  1. Wadokaichin Coins: Also called Wado-kaiho is the oldest form of Japanese coinage, having been minted starting in 708 AD.The coins,with a square hole in the center, remained in circulation until 958 AD. Wadokaichin is the reading of the four characters printed on the coins. Wado is thought to stand for 'Japanese copper' and Kaichin for 'currency.'
  2. Toraisen Coins: These were coins minted privately by local clans and wealthy merchants. Due to the rapid expansion of commercial transactions during the Muromachi Period, actual coins were in scarce supply. Besides Chinese coins, toraisen were used in transactions.
  3. Hirumokin Gold Slug, Sekishugin Silver Slug, Yuzurihakin Gold Plate.
  4. Keicho Oban Coin: Issued by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It weighs 165.4g and contains 68% gold.
  5. Keicho Chogin Coins: Consist of 80% silver and were also issued by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Right Column:

  1. Tenpou Tsuho and Kan-ei Tsuho: Coins from the Tenpou (19th century) and Kanei (18th century) periods.
  2. Tenbin: Money changers balance and weights as used during the 19th century.
  3. Yamada Hagaki: 17th century paper money predominantly used in the Ise-Yamada region near Nara. It is considered to be the first paper money in Japan.
  4. Edasen: 'Money Tree' Coins as just taken out of the mold.
  5. Niju-en-kinka 20 Yen gold coin, Goju-sen-ginka 0.5 Yen silver coin, and Ni-sen 0.02 Yen doga bronze coin.

Price: US$ 15.70

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - 2012 International Letter Writing Week

For the 2012 International Letter Writing Week, the Japan Post will issue the following Japanese commemorative stamps. Each of the below Japan event stamps will come in a ten-stamps sheet.

The first Japanese stamp on the left shows artwork by Japanese artist Kiyokata Kaburagi. The painting is entitled 'Hatsu Gochi.' Kaburagi, 1878-1972, was the pseudonym of Kaburagi Kenichi, a Nihonga painting artist during the Taisho and Showa periods. He is considered to be the leading master of the bijinga genre. Starting out as an illustrator, he became a member of the Imperial Fine Art Academy and the Art Committeef the Imperial Household. In 1944, he received the title of official court painter.

The middle of the three Japan commemorative stamps is a work by Uemura Shoen, 1875-1949, entitled 'Shun-pou.' Uemura Shoen was the pseudonym for Uemura Tsune, a woman artist during the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods. Known for her bijinga paintings of beautiful women, she also produced numerous works on historical themes and other traditional subjects.

A painting by Ito Shinsui is shown on the last Japanese postage stamp. It is entitled 'Fubuki' (snowstorm). Ito Shinsui was the pseudonym of Ito Hajime, 1898-1972. He was a famous Nihonga painter and Ukiyo-e woodblock print artists during the Taisho and Showa periods. He is also considered to be one of the great names of the shin-hanga art movement, revitalizing the traditional art with the advent of photography.

These Japan postage stamps will be released on October 9, 2012.

Price - 90 Yen Stamp Sheet: US$ 15.80

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Price - 110 Yen Stamp Sheet: US$ 18.10 

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Price - 130 Yen Stamp Sheet: US$ 20.10 

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Japan World Stamp Exhibition 2011

The Japan World Stamp Exhibition has been held in Japan since 1971. In 2011, the event took place from July 28th until August 2nd at the Pacifico Yokohama.

The exhibition aims at promoting Japanese philately and at making Japanese stamps more widely known to overseas potential Japanese stamp collectors. Another goal is to facilitate cultural and international exchange though the Japanese kitte.

To commemorate this event the below special Japan commemorative stamps sheet was issued.

Issue date for these Japan commemorative stamps is July 28, 2011.

The Japanese stamps on the left show the following images (left hand column):

  1. Sanka-haku-u, Shower below the summit color woodblock print (Hokusai).
  2. Tokaido-hodogaya, another Hokusai print showing travelers making their way from Edo (old Tokyo) to the former imperial capital of Kyoto.
  3. Koshu-Misaka-Suimen, surface of the water at Misaka in Kai Province.
  4. Sumidagawa-Sekiya-no-Sato, three horseman passing the village Sekiya at the Sumida River.
  5. Toto-Asakusa-Hongannji

Right hand column:

  1. Bishu-Fujimigahara, a copper applying varnish to the inside of a barrel.
  2. Koshu-Mishima-Goe, Mishima pass in Kai province.
  3. Gaifu-Kaisei, south wind a clear dawn.
  4. Kazusa-no-Kaiji, sea route of Kazusa from Kizarasu, Chiba to Edo.
  5. Bushu-Senju, a horseman and two fishermen marvel at Mt. Fuji at Bushu in Senju.

Price: US$ 15.80

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - National Afforestation Campaign

Realizing that forests provide enormous benefits and prosperity through water conservation, soil protection, and provision of recreational opportunities, Japan has called into life the national afforestation campaign.

The aim of the National Land Afforestation Campaign is to promote the public movement to 'green Japan' and ultimately to facilitate the cultural development of Japan through the enrichment of people's life.

The 63rd National Afforestation Ceremony, the annual main event of the campaign was held on May 27 in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The following Japan commemorative stamps were designed to honor this occasion. The event stamps depict various tress that were planted at the ceremony, as well as, flowers of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

In detail the Japanese commemorative stamps at the left show images of:

  1. Cinnamomum camphora
  2. Acer palmatum
  3. Gingko biloba
  4. Camellia japonica
  5. Citrus natsudaidai
  6. Pinus densiflora
  7. Nageia nagi
  8. Tenderstem broccoli
  9. Chamaecyparis obtusa
  10. Cerasus



Issue date for these Japan commemorative stamps is May 25, 2012.

Price: US$ 11.30 

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - The 67th National Sports Festival

These Japan commemorative stamps celebrate the 67th National Athletic Meet in Gifu Prefecture.

The National Sports Festival is the premier prefecture versus prefecture sports event in Japan. The abbreviated name is Kokutai which literally translates into 'National Polity' or 'Fundamental Character of the Nation.'

Winners in each discipline are awarded the Emperor or Empress Cup.

The first Kokutai was held in 1946 with the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe being co-hosts.

Since then, the national sports festival has been held on an annual basis without interruption.

The last three Kokutai meets 64/65/66 were hosted by Niigata, Chiba, and Yamaguchi prefectures.

Yamaguchi Prefecture is hosting the event for the second time after 1965.

The Japan commemorative stamps on the left depict five athletic competitions:

  1. Badminton
  2. Rhythmic Gymnastics
  3. Rowing
  4. Cycling
  5. Field Hockey

The left and right hand side borders of these Japanese stamps show 'Minamo,' the games mascot character.


Issue date for this Japan commemorative stamps sheet is September 28, 2012

Price: US$ 13.10 

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Philately Week 2012

Philatelic Week was enacted in 1947 to facilitate Japanese stamp collecting as a hobby. Focus was put on the cultural, as well as, aesthetic value and quality of each stamp.

Usually the Philatelic Week annual Japan commemorative stamps have been showcasing classical Japanese artwork on them. For instance, past issues have covered early Japanese paintings of the famous Kano School of Painting.

The 2012 Philatelic Week Japan event stamps follow in these footsteps and commemorate the occasion with another set of exquisite stamp art work.

Shown on the 2012 Japan stamp sheet are:

  1. Magaki ni Souka-zu Fusuma, a room partition with a painting of a Chrysanthemum Morifolium on it.
  2. Ryuko-zu Byobu, folding screen with painting of dragon and tiger on it. Artwork by Kano Sanraku.

Sanraku (1559-1635) was a Japanese painter famous for combining the forceful quality of Momoyama work with the tranquil depicition of nature and the refined use of color typical of the Edo period.

3. Shunka Kacho-zu Byobu, folding screens with painting of flowers and birds. Artwork by Kano Einou. Eino (1631-1697) was another disciple of the Kano school of painting.

The Kano School is one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting. It was the dominant school from the late 15 century until the Meiji period which began in 1868.

Close-up of above 2012 Philately Week stamp sheet:

The above Japanese stamp sheet was issued on April 20, 2012.

Price (stamp sheet as shown above): US$ 15.80

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Constellation Series Vol. 2

Based on requests of Japanese philatelic fans and to promote culture and science, the Japan post service released the 'constellation series vol. 2' Japan commemorative stamp sheet.

The first series constellation special stamp sheet was issued in July 2011and depicted the following constellations: Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, House, Aquila, Cygnus, Hercules, Ophiuchus Serpens, Delphinus, and Fish Hook.

The second commemorative series focuses on those constellations that are representative for the fall season.

The stamp sheet features 10 individual stamps showing:

  1. Capricornus
  2. Aquarius
  3. Pisces
  4. Cassiopeia
  5. Pegasus
  6. Andromeda
  7. Perseus
  8. Cepheus
  9. Cetus
  10. Ikariboshi

This Japan commemorative stamps sheet was issued on July 6, 2012.

It uses a 6 color hologram foil offset print method.

Price: US$ 32.80

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - 100 Years of Japanese Sports

Issued in July 2011, this Japan commemorative stamp sheet marks 100 years of Japanese sports. It is also a tribute to Jigoro Kano.

In his quest to develop Olympic-class athletes and to promote lifelong participation in sports, Kano founded the Japan Amateur Athletic Association (today's Japan Sports Association) in July 1911. It also acted as the NOC in Japan.

The Japan commemorative stamps sheet on the left consists of 10 stamps depicting various personalities or sports disciplines.

First column from top:

  1. the founding of the Japan Amateur Sports Association in 1911 (Jigoro Kano shown on the right)
  2. Japan's first participation in the 1912 Olympic Games
  3. Commemorating the establishment of the National Sports Festival (since 1946)
  4. The 'Flying Fish of Fujiyama,' Hironoshin Furuhashi in 1949
  5. The founding of the Japanese sports boy scouts in 1962

Second column from top:

  1. The 18th Olympic Games held in Tokyo in 1964
  2. The Sapporo Olympic Winter Games in 1972
  3. The 1998 18th Olympic Winter Games in Nagano
  4. Sports Masters of Japan (2001)
  5. The 29th Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2008

The background of the stamp sheet shows the '100 Years of Japanese Sports' logo at the top (including the logo for the Japan Amateur Sports Association and the Japanese Olympic Committee), as well as, a scene from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.


The commemorative stamp sheet was issued on July 8, 2011.

It uses a 6 color offset print method.

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Republic of San Marino

This Japan commemorative stamps sheet is quite interesting in itself. Usually, most Japanese stamps or Japan commemorative stamps do only show Japan related events, images, designs, or personalities.

In fact, the stamp sheet was a joint issue between the Japan post service and the postal service of the Republic of San Marino.

San Marion Post issued its own sheet first on March 17, 2010, followed by Japan Post with a Japanese version on March 23.

As such it is a very special item for Japan stamp collectors to acquire.

The stamps included on the sheet depict the following image:

  1. Statue 'La Republica' by Vittorio Pochini
  2. San Marino Castle
  3. The 'Apparition of San Marino to his people' by Emilio Retrosi
  4. Statue 'La Republica' in front of the public palace by Stefano Galetti
  5. Basilica de San Marino
  6. City Walls
  7. Tower
  8. Painting 'Santa Maria Magdalena' by Francesco Menzocchi
  9. Anonymous painting entitled 'San Marino'

The background image on the right also shows San Marino castle.


The Japan commemorative stamp sheet was issued on March 23, 2010.

It uses a 6 color offset print method.

Price: US$ 14.70

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - 2010 International Letter Writing Week

International Letter Writing Week was established at the 14th Universal Postal Union Congress held in Ottawa in 1957. The aim was to contribute to world peace by encouraging cultural exchanges among the people of the world through letter writing.

The congress adopted a recommendation to this effect which was followed by a supplemental recommendation during the Tokyo congress in 1964.

Letter Writing Week has become a yearly event in Japan and Thailand, whereas the UPU focuses more on the international letter writing competition for young people and on World Post Day.

Letter writing week is an annual occasion and for 2010, the Japan post service once again issued its Japan commemorative stamps sheet.

Starting in 1958, Japan began issuing a series of stamps depicting woodblock paintings.

Through letter writing week, Japan encourages people to write more letters, to discover the happiness of communicating , and to enjoy the pleasure of receiving mail.

In 1979, a letter writing day was also introduced by Japan and the postal service issues a special Japan stamp each July.

July is called Fumizuki in Japan which mean 'month of letters' in ancient Japanese.


Issue date for the 2010 International Letter Writing Week event stamp sheet was October 8, 2010.

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - International Letter Writing Week 2011

Another fine example of Japanese artwork on the 2011 Letter Writing Week Japan commemorative stamp sheet. The Image shown is a painting entitled 'gakuya or dressing room' by renowned artist Ito Shinsui.

Shinsui (1898-1972) was a Nihonga painter and ukiyo-e woddblock print artist during the Taisho and Showa periods. He was one of the freat names of the shin-hanga art movement. Shinsui was a pseudonym. His real name was Ito Hajime.

Issue date for these Japanese stamps is October 7, 2011.

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Japan Commemorative Stamps -2009 International Letter Writing Week

The theme for the 2009 International Letter Writing Week Japanese stamp sheet is taken from Utakawa Hiroshige's '53 stations on the Tokaido Road.'

The city of Fujisawa, as shown on the stamps, is located in the central part of Kanagawa province. It was one of the stations on the Tokaido Road.

The Tokaido was one of the five routes constructed under Tokugawa Ieyasu, a series of roads linking the historical capital of Edo with the rest of Japan. The Tokaido connected Edo, the seat of the shogunate, with the then imperial capital Koyto.

The most important of all roads, the Tokaido was the main artery of the country, stretching along the eastern coast of Honshu; hence, the name Tokaido which means 'eastern sea road.'

Along the road, there were 53 different post stations, which provided stables, food, and lodging for travelers.

Issue date for this Japan commemorative stamps sheet was October 9, 2009.

Price (stamp sheet): US$ 16.30

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Ikebana 550 Years

This is yet another fine example of a Japanese anniversary stamps sheet. It celebrates 550 years of 'ikebana', the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

The word ikebana actually means 'living flowers' and is sometimes also known as 'kado' or the 'way of flowers.'

Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which humanity and nature are brought together. In contrast to conventional floral arrangements, it emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws focus to shape, form, and line. Though creative in nature, Ikebana follows certain rules.

The structure of Japanese Ikebana is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, to symbolize heaven, earth, and man.

The plant container is also a key element of the composition and various styles of pottery are being used.

The origins of Ikebana are somewhat mysterious. It is believed that Buddhist practice introduced Ikebana to Japan as early as the 7th century (offering of flowers on an altar in honor of Buddha).

The first classical styles of Ikebana began in the middle of the 15th century with the school of Ikenobo. The first teachers and studens of Ikebana were Buddhist priests.

According to historic records, a priest of the Rokkaku-do temple in Kyoto was so skilled in flower arrangement that other priests sought him out for instruction.

As time passed, other schools emerged, styles changed, and Ikebana became a Japanese custom.

In 1462, the first records of Ikebana appeared in the so-called Hekisan Nichiroku document marking 550 years of history.

This Japan commemorative stamps sheet has a background of hexagon patterns standing for the shape of the Rokkaku-do temple.

The individual commemorative stamps show various Rikka (or standing flowers) styled sample of ikebana. The Rikka style was developed as a Buddhist expression of beauty and nature. The stamps very nicely show branches used representing hills, waterfalls, valleys, and other objects of nature.


Issue date for this stamp sheet was May 31, 2012.

Price: US$ 14.80 

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - 1300 Years of Kojiki

In July 2012, the Japan post commemorated 1300 years of the Kojiki, the oldest Japanese chronicles. On this occasion, a special Japan commemorative stamps sheet was issued.

The Kojiki or 'record of ancient matters' is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan. It dates back to the early 8th century and was composed by O no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Gemmei.

It is a collection of myths about the origin of the four home islands of Japan: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku.

Some of the myths contained in the Kojiki are said to have inspired Shinto practices.

The Kojiki contains various songs and poems. While the historical records are written in a form of Chinese mixed with Japanese elements, the songs are written in Chinese characters.

The records are divided into three parts: Kamitsumaki (upper roll), Nakatsumaki (middle roll), and Kamitsumaki (lower roll).

The Kamitsumaki focuses on the deities of creation in the Age of the Gods.

The Naktsumaki begins with a story of Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor, and his conquest of Japan. Many stories are mythological and the historical information is highly suspect.

The Shimotsumaki covers the 16th to 33rd emperors. Unlike previous volumes, it has limited references to deities.

The Japan commemorative stamps on the left show the following historic figures:

  1. Konohanasakuya-hime, in Japanese mythology, she is the blossom-princess and symbol of delicate earthly life. She is also the daughter of mountain-god Ohoyamatsumi.
  2. Hosoke, god figure in early Shinto rituals
  3. Itaechakushoku shinzo, a large 'ema' votive horse tablet with the image of Susa-no-o on it (god of sea and storms and brother of the sun godess Amaterasu).
  4. Another votive tablet with the image of the god Inata

These Japanese anniversary stamps were issued on July 20, 2012.

Price: US$ 15.70

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - The 66th National Sports Festival

This Japan commemorative stamps sheet celebrates the 66th National Athletic Meet in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The National Sports Festival is the premier prefecture versus prefecture sports event in Japan. The abbreviated name is Kokutai which literally translates into 'National Polity' or 'Fundamental Character of the Nation.'

Winners in each discipline are awarded the Emperor or Empress Cup.

The first Kokutai was held in 1946 with the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe being co-hosts.

Since then, the national sports festival has been held on an annual basis without interruption.

The last three Kokutai meets 64/65/66 were hosted by Oita, Niigata, and Chiba prefectures.

Yamaguchi Prefecture is hosting the event for the second time after 1963.

The meet was entitled 'Oidemase Yamaguchi Kokutai' and carried the slogan of 'Let us feel your enthusiam.'

The Japan event stamps on the left depict the venue and the five athletic competitions.

  1. Sailing
  2. Wrestling
  3. Mountaineering
  4. Handball
  5. Rubber Baseball

These Japan commemorative stamps were issued on September 30, 2011.

Price: US$ 11.90

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - 120 Years of National Diet Building

The next Japan commemorative stamps feature 120 Years of the National Diet Building.

The Diet Building is the place where both houses of the Diet of Japan meet. It is located in Nagata-cho Tokyo.

Sessions of the House of Representatives take place in the left wing and sessions of the House of Councillors in the right wing.

The building itself was completed in 1936 and is constructed purely out of Japanese building materials with the exception of the stained glass, door locks, and pneumatic tube system.

The construction of the Diet building began in 1920. However, plans for the building date back to the late 1880s.

The Diet met in temporary structures for the first 50 years of its existence because there was no agreement over what it should look like.

Two German architects were invited to Tokyo in 1886/87. They drew up two plans for a building which were never used.

In 1898, Prime Minister Ito interview American Ralph Adam Cram who proposed a more oriental design for the building. However, the Ito government fell as Cram was en route to the US and the project was dropped.

From 1890 to 1925, the diet held its sessions in two different makeshift buildings. The first one, a wooden European style structure burned down in 1891. The second one housed the diet until 1925.

The current building's design was selected from a public design competition held in 1918. The building's floor plan was eventually designed based on a design by first prize winner Watanabe Fukuzo. The roof and tower were inspired by the third prize winner Takeuchi Shinshichi.

The aim was to construct a hybrid style building merging European and East Asian design.


These Japanese event stamps were issued on November 29, 2010.

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Japan Commemorative Stamps - Seasonal Memories Series Vol.1 Summer

This new Japanese stamps series was just released in July 2012. It is to capture the sights and sound of each Japanese season. The first volume in this 'seasonal memories' series covers the season of summer.

The 'summer' Japan commemorative stamps sheet is designed seasonally very colorful and portrays the following memories:

  1. Sound of wind at the river
  2. Summer festival food-stalls and street vendors at night
  3. Sounds of xylophone on the way home
  4. Dreams in the fog
  5. Sunset, embracing the evening
  6. Clouds in the blazing summer sky
  7. Kids playing with crabs at the beach
  8. Wave trails and sailing boats
  9. Groups of alien-like jellyfish
  10. Crickets, the cellist in the grass

The left hand side of the sheet shows children wearing the traditional summer yugata playing with fireworks at the beach.


Issue date for this Japan commemorative stamps sheet was July 3, 2012.

Price: US$ 15.70

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Japan Commemorative Stamps -The 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

The 2011 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships were held in Tokyo in October. On that occasion, the Japan Post issued a Japan commemorative stamps sheet.

With the exception of the time during the first and second world wars, these championships have been held every two years since 1903.

The first competition took place in Antwerp, Belgium.

In 1995, Japan for the first time hosted this event in the city of Sabae, Fukui Prefecture.

2013 marks the 110th anniversary and will see the championship going back to Antwerp.

The all-time medal count for this competition is lead by Russia (former USSR), China, and Romania. Japan takes fifth place.

The commemorative Japanese stamps on the left depict scenes from the competition.

The first stamp shows a female athlete doing a finishing pose.

The second Japan event stamp illustrates a male athlete on the pommel horse.

During the tournament, male athletes compete in the various disciplines such as floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.

Female athletes perform in the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor categories.

Scoring is done by multiple judges with regard to level of difficulty, aesthetics, dynamism, and stability.


These Japan stamps were issued in October 6, 2011.

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