Okinawa Furusato Stamps

New mint condition Okinawa Furusato stamps are part of the Japan furusato stamp family. Most stamps are very colorful indicative of the Ryukyu Islands. Some of the topics pictured on the Ryukyu furusato stamps include:

  • local points of interest such as shrines and historical sites
  • local wildlife, flora and fauna
  • musical instruments and dancing

A lot of the stamps make use of vibrant colors, in particular, gold and, through their images and themes, retain importance to the local island community.

Okinawa Furusato Stamps - Flowers of Okinawa

The following Japan furusato stamps sheet features flowers representative of the Okinawa Islands.

Okinawa and its islands are located in a subtropical region. The islands experience temperatures above 20 degrees celsius for most of the year. As a consequence, the islands contain some of the most abundant coral reefs, as well as, flora and fauna found in the world.

Apart from that Okinawa Prefecture is a major producer sugar cane, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruits.

The furusato Ryukyu stamps on the left show a variety of exotic flowers that can be found on Okinawa. They are:

  1. Hikanzakura (Prunus campanulata maxim) and view from Mt. Yaedake over Iejima Island
  2. Hibiscus and over-sea road
  3. Bougainvillea and residence in Tsuboya
  4. Trumpet Lily and Cape Higashihennazai on Miyako-jima Island
  5. Rhododendron and Seishika Bridge on Ishigaki Island.

The right side of this Okinawa furusato stamps sheet shows Okinawa's famous blue skies, turquoise waters, and a map of the islands.

At the bottom right hand corner, a picture of the Okinawan Deigo flower tree (Indian Coral Bean), the symbol of Okinawa Prefecture. Its trunk is used to make material for traditional Ryukyuan lacquerware.

These Okinawa furusato stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

Price: US$ 12.40 (free worldwide shipping)

Okinawa Furusato Stamps - Okinawa Local Autonomy Act

This beautifully designed stamp sheet was issued on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Japan Local Autonomy Law.

The Local Autonomy Law of Japan was passed in April 1947 and established most of Japan's contemporary local government structures, including prefectures, municipalities, etc.

A typical Okinawa furusato stamp, it vividly gives a glimpse into the culture, nature, and history of the Ryukyu Islands.

The main stamp at the top of the furusato stamps sheet, features the Shuri Castle, located in Naha, Okinawa.

The castle dates back to the mid 16th century. It is the largest wooden building in Okinawa.

In front of the castle, you can see a 'kumiodori,' which is a person performing the traditional arts of song and dance.

The stamps background depicts the scenic 'Kabira Bay' on Ishigaki Island, one of Okinawa's main tourist islands.

The four Ryukyu stamps in the bottom half of the sheet picture:

  • the 'Shurei' castle and Shurei-mon gate
  • a Ryukyu 'bingata' (bright colored traditional dyed cloth worn during art performances)
  • the Ryukyu 'buyou' classic dance used to entertain guests
  • the bright red 'deigo' flower, a plant widely cultivated in tropical areas of Southeast Asia. It became the official flower of Okinawa prefecture in 1972.

The Local Autonomy Act Okinawa Okinawa furusato stamps sheet was issued on April 13, 2012 (1.2M sheets issued). The stamp sheet includes 5 individual postage stamps and uses a 6 color gravure print.

Price: US$ 11.80 (free worldwide shipping)

Okinawa Furusato Stamps - Okinawa Reversion Stamp

The Okinawa Reversion stamp sheet was issued on the 40th anniversary of the return of the Ryukyu Islands to Japan.

After the end of WWII, the Ryukyu Islands, or Okinawa, became a US governed territory until their return in 1972. In the years between 1945 and 1971, Okinawa had its own postal system under the administration of the United States and issued its own Ryukyu postage stamps denominated in US cent.

This Okinawa furusato stamps sheet is full of notable images that characterize the islands of Okinawa.

The furusato stamps at top of the sheet show the famous Shuri-jo castle in Naha City, located on the main island of Okinawa.

It is a Ryukyuan style castle and was the seat of the independent Kingdom of Ryukyu before annexation as Okinawa prefecture by Japan in 1879.

Dating back to the 13th century, it was almost completely destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa and later reconstructed in 1992.

The next two Ryukyu stamps show images of goya (Momordica Charantia), a type of local bitter melon, and mangoes. Both grow abundantly in Okinawa's subtropical climate and are staples of the Okinawan diet.

Further down are furusato stamps with pictures of local orchids, whale sharks from the Churaumi aquarium, the Naha City Yui-Rail monorail, and the Miyako-jima island Ikema Ohashi Big Bridge.

This Okinawa furusato stamps sheet was issued on May 5, 2012.

Price: US$ 16.00 (incl. shipping)

Okinawa Furusato Stamps - Ryukyu Dance Stamp

This Ryukyu furusato stamp is a nice example of how local culture and history can be commemorated on a stamp.

The Ryukyu Kingdom, throughout its pre-annexation days, had strong ties and trade relations with the Kingdom of China and its Ming dynasty starting in the 14th century.

The furusato stamp on the left depicts a dancing scene from the 18th century. It was custom to cordially receive and entertain visiting Chinese envoys by performing local Ryukyu style court dances.

This Okinawa furusato stamp was issued on March 28, 2012


Okinawa Furusato Stamps - Sanshin

Music has played an integral part in Ryukyu history and culture. The furusato stamps below show one of the most prominent musical instruments of the islands: the sanshin.

The Okinawan sanshin (meaning 'three strings') is the precursor to the later day mainland Japanese shamisen.

Often likened to a banjo, it consists of a snakeskin covered body, a neck, and thee strings. This can be nicely seen on the Okinawa furusato stamps on the left.

Traditionally, the sanshin was covered with the skin of the Burmese python.

It closely resembles in both appearance and name the Chinese sanxian, suggesting that it might be of Chinese origin.

In mainland Japan, many people refer to the sanshin as jabisen (meaning snake-skin strings).

In the years following WWII, many Okinawans made sanshin from empty tin cans, known as kankara sanshin.

Today, due to wildlife protection treaties, the export of snake-skin sanshins is mostly illegal.

Issue date for these Ryukyu Stamps was October 3, 2011.


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