Why Japanese anime stamps?
Japanese postage history has a tradition of beautiful but, at the same time, exotic and mystic stamps. The Japan Post, on a regular basis, has been releasing new issues, Japan commemorative stamps, and furusato stamps covering every aspect of Japanese culture.
Japan animation postage stamps (sometimes referred to as 'manga' stamps) have been featured on more and more Japanese stamps in line with the increasing role of Japanese animation in the country's popular culture. Some have even gone so far as to describe the use of anime postage stamps as Japan's soft cultural diplomacy.
They just might be right. After all, who doesn't like Hello Kitty postage stamps?
Interested in Japanese Anime Stamps? Have a look at our dedicated animation postage stamps sections.
Japan animation stamps date way back to the 1990s when the earliest history of manga anime was commemorated with three Japan stamps featuring the scroll that is usually considered to be the earliest manga image (said image was featured as the logo for the 2011 Japan philately expo).
For the first time in 2005, Japanese stamp collectors, as well as, anime fans had the opportunity to buy the newly released 'Anime Hero and Heroine' series of stamps. This anime stamps series featured popular anime characters such as 'Pokemon, Pikachu, Gonbe, Lizardon, Mew, and Rayquaza.'
In particular, the Pokemon anime stamps turned out to be a hot collectible among Japan stamp lovers. It is interesting to note, that this was the first time the Pokemon character was issued in Japanese postage stamp history. Prior to that, only a few select small countries, predominantly in Africa, had already featured their own Pokemon anime stamps.
The second major Japan anime stamp series release in 2005 focused on the character Gundam.
Even though single Japanese animation stamps had been issued before in Japan, and as such were nothing new, starting 2005, each release came with its own animation postage stamp sheet.
Previously, anime characters such as Tetsuwan Atom, Doraemon, or Rose of Versailles, etc. had always been issued together with other ordinary stamps. Yet, until the 2005 release, Japan stamp collectors wanting to buy a sheet of anime stamps could not get single sheets dedicated to Japanese animation.
The year 2007 marked the release of the first Transformers movie and with that came three special Transformers stamp souvenir sheets.
Two years later, in 2009, the Japan Postal Service issued two anime stamps sets commemorating the 50th anniversary of popular anime magazines 'Shonen Jump' and 'Shonen Sunday.'
In 2011, on the occasion of the annual Japan philatelic expo, the PhilaNippon, two Japan commemorative stamp sets were issued. Besides a famous Japanese style woodblock print stamp set, a Japanese animation stamps set featuring famous characters Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Pikachu, and Astro Boy in vivid color.
In addition to the above 4 anime character stamps, one more specialty Japan animation postage stamp was issued depicting a scene from the Choju-jinbutsu-giga (animal caricatures), a set of picture scrolls created around the beginning of the 13th century.
Featured on the scrolls are rabbits, monkeys, and frogs engaged in everyday activities and seasonal festivities. They are sometimes referred to as Japan's first ever manga and their illustrations serve as images on what are known to be the first Japanese anime stamps.
During their Anime Heroes and Heroine stamps series, the Japan Post released the long awaited Dragonball Kai Japanese anime stamps in January 2012. As with previous releases, the Dragonball stamp sheet was a limited run.
So far, Japan Post's Anime Hero and Heroine series alone comprises 22 anime stamp sets in seven years.
Besides Japan, many other countries have also released their cartoon and comic book heroes on animation postage stamps. Japan is certainly not the exception anymore. The US postal service for example has issued stamp sets covering Superman, Archie, and Calvin & Hobbes. Similar holds true for Canada and other countries.
Japanese anime stamps have certainly been at the forefront of the manga trend in Japan, but the future of the animation postage stamp will be one extending beyond the borders of Japan.
Over the last several years, Japanese anime stamps have become a hot collectible among non-Japanese stamp collectors with the perceived value of these stamps expected to appreciate with time far beyond their original face-value.
If you would like to learn a bit more about the Japanese anime stamps currently available, please have a look at our dedicated animation postage stamp sections. Who knows? You might become the next passionate anime stamp collector.