Imprinted Postcards 1932 to 1934
Post Office Issued Picture Post Cards
Official Postcards & Stationary
Imprinted Postcards Issued by The Post Office of Manchukuo
From 1st March 1932 Manchukuo issued a series of "imprinted" postcards, (this means prepaid cards that had the image of the necessary stamp printed directly onto the card by the Post Office). These cards fell into three main groups, domestic cards, cards for foreign mail and cards printed for use between Manchukuo and China. For part of the time, until 1937, there was also a "local" card, which meant that for 1f you could send a card within any of the main cities.
The basic cards were usually 140mm x 90mm landscape in format, or 90mm x 140mm portrait. They were printed using offset lithography, on a medium weight, yellow, cream or buff coloured card. Reply paid cards, folded were the same size as normal cards and open measured 180mm x 140mm. In addition to plain imprinted cards a range of picture postcards became available, issued by Post Offices, also with imprinted stamps.
Postcard prices underwent many changes over the short period of the existence of Manchukuo, whenever a change took place, cards were often up-rated (or down-rated) by the Post Office to conform to the new price, in order to use up old stock. This was done in two different ways, by the use of a surcharge (as with stamps) or by the addition of a postage stamp to bring it in line with the correct postal rate.
Standard Postcard Rates
|Date||Domestic & Japan||Foreign||China||Local|
|26th July 1932||2 fen||15 fen||2 fen||1 fen|
|1st March 1934||
|6 fen||1˝ fen||1 fen|
|December 1934||-||-||2 fen||-|
|1st April 1937||2 fen||10 fen||2 ˝ fen||1 fen|
|1st March 1942||3 fen||10 fen||3 fen||Ended|
|1st October 1944||5 fen||10 fen||5 fen||-|
First Regular Issue Postcards - 26th July 1932 replaced 1935-8
The initial supply of post cards for the Manchukuo Postal Service came from Tokyo, printed by the Imperial Japanese Printing Bureau. In 1933 additional stock of the 1f and 2f standard postcards were produced at the Manchukuo Central Bank printing works at Mukden. The cards from Tokyo have the horizontal characters aligned with the centre of the imprinted stamp, whereas those printed in Mukden have the horizontal characters level with the top of the imprinted stamp. Reply paid cards and the 15f card all originate from Tokyo. All the designs are based upon the "First Regular Issue" of postage stamps.
Used card dated 26. 7. 32. Harbin (Image: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium)
26th July 1932 1f Local Rate Postcard (Printed in Tokyo) - The Post Office operated a Local service within a city for postcards costing 1 fen and these were pre-printed with this rate. If being sent outside of the city an additional 1 fen stamp was needed. To see a nice example of a local postcard in commercial use click here.
The eight characters at the top of the card, written horizontally, read (right to left) - "Manchu State Postal Service Postal Card". The vertical line of 11 characters reads "Write the name and address on the right hand side". The cards could be on buff or cream card - see above.
This is an example of a Japanese printed 1f local postcard up-rated to 10f and sent to Belgium. Note the date shown on the international cancel 28the November 1939, this represents very late usage as these cards were replaced on 1st April 1937 with a design featuring the State Council Building. The1f local postage rate continued until November 1940. (Image courtesy of: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium)
Used card dated 3. 2. 34. Harbin (Image courtesy of: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium)
26th July 1932 1f Local Rate Postcard (Printed in Mukden) - Above are used and unused examples of the Mukden printing, note that the eight large characters line up with the top of the imprinted stamp and because of this the centre dividing line is longer. Both examples are on identical cream card. This shows that it did not take Manchukuo long to set up and manufacture postcards to be by the postal, service but in spite of this cards made in Japan are far more common.
This is an example of a Mukden printed 1f local postcard up-rated to 6f and sent to Belgium. Note the date shown on the international cancel 15th August 1936. These cards were these cards were replaced on 1st April 1937 with a design featuring the State Council Building but the 1f local postage rate continued until November 1940. (Image courtesy of: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium)
26th July 1932 1f + 1f Reply Paid Postcard, above are both parts of this card, the top copy is for use by the sender and below the reply section used by the recipient. (Printed in Tokyo).
The characters used on the top copy this card are similar to the above, but with the additional 8 vertical characters which read "Attached card is for reply". The bottom copy has an extra character in the horizontal heading "Manchu State Postal Service Reply Paid Postal Card".
26th July 1932 2f Postcard (Printed in Tokyo) for domestic use and for mail to Japan and China (China would also charge the recipient 4c postage due because they did not recognise the Manchukuo Post Office and considered its stamps invalid). Note that this example is on buff card, cream was also used see the used card shown below.
This is a used example of the 2f domestic rate postcard printed in Japan on cream card. The cancel is dated 2nd August 1934 and this means that the postage was overpaid by ˝f as the rate for domestic postcards dropped to 1˝f on 1st March 1934. (Image courtesy of: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium)
This used example on cream card has been up-rated for international use to Belgium. It was sent on Kirin on 6th June 1934 and at this time the the international rate was 6f so the sender has overpaid on postage by ˝f. (Image courtesy of: Edgard Pockelé of Belgium).
26th July 1932 2f + 2f Reply Paid Postcard (Printed in Tokyo) for domestic use and for mail to Japan and China.
26th July 1932 15f Postcard (Printed in Tokyo) for foreign destinations hence the "Carte Postale". The characters read (from right to left) Manchukuo Post Office Postal Card. It is interesting to note that the imprinted stamp on this card shows the White Pagoda and not Puyi, as appears the postage stamp of the same value.
Price Changes 1st March 1934
On 1st March 1934 postal prices were reduced but only overprinted versions of the 2f card (both Tokyo and Mukden printings) were available for purchase on this date. The overprint consists of 6 characters, the characters on the left being the denomination 1˝f; the two characters on the right meaning "temporary use". The reply paid version of this card also had an overprint applied.
These overprints exist in many variations (see below) and the overprinting work was done in the major cities of Hsinking, Mukden and Harbin. Hard black overprints appear to have been made typographically and the softer black overprints may be the result of a rubber stamp. A soft red hand-stamped overprint is known to exist on cards printed in Mukden only - see below. (I have assigned types "a" to "f" to the examples below on a purely arbitrary basis).
1st March 1934 1˝f Surcharge on 2f 1932 postcard (Card printed in Tokyo).
Type a. Hard black surcharge - height of surcharge 14.1mm (Card printed in Mukden).
Type b. Hard black surcharge - height of surcharge 12.3mm (Card printed in Tokyo).
Type c. Hard black surcharge - height of surcharge 12.5mm, top right character missing (Card printed in Mukden). This card was sent from Mukden to Hsinking.
Type d. Soft black surcharge - height of surcharge 14mm (Card printed in Mukden).
Type e. Watery black surcharge - height of surcharge 12.8mm approx (Card printed in Mukden).
Type f. Hard black surcharge - height of surcharge 13.2mm approx (Card printed in Mukden).
Type g. Red surcharge - height of surcharge 12.7mm approx (Card printed in Mukden).
March/April 1934 1˝f Postcard for domestic use and for mail to Japan. There is also a reply paid version of this card - see below.
March/April 1934 1˝f + 1˝f Reply Paid Postcard for domestic use and for mail to Japan. Note that the reply card is almost identical to the normal 1˝f postcard. The difference is the length of the vertical dividing line which continues well below the last character.
March/April 1934 6f Postcard for all overseas destinations, excluding Japan and China. There is also a reply paid version of this card.
September 1934. This is a 15f postcard with the indicia covered by 6f stamp. A possible explanation for this may be that post offices re-valued stocks of old 15f cards to overcome shortages of stock of the new 6f cards. This is something to look out for - please let me know if you find any similar examples.
(My thanks to David Wood for sending me this image)
New Format 1st November 1934
The main reason for the issue of these new cards was the renaming of the state "Manchu Empire", this results in the change of heading seen below, now reading "Manchu Empire Postal Service Post Card". The vertical line of 11 characters continues to read "Write the name and address on the right hand side" as before.
The Post Office changed the format of all domestic postcards from the Chinese style landscape format to portrait. These were better suited to Japanese calligraphy (by this time Japanese was the language being taught in schools). Postcards to foreign destinations, excluding Japan, would remain in landscape format.
Three cards were issued at this time, a 1f x 1f reply paid postcard, a 1˝f postcard and a 1˝f x 1˝f reply paid postcard. Both a 1f postcard and a 6f postcard were to be included in this format but for some reason these were never issued.
A note on a card in my collection states that these cards were produced by the Ukrainian Publishing Company, Harbin. Further research would be needed to confirm this.
1st November 1934 1f + 1f Reply Paid Card (front and back shown above). These were printed on cream card (listed) and buff (unlisted) and the card illustrated is an example of a minor variety reported by Spalding.
The last character shown above is out of alignment with the other two (second picture) having been displaced downwards, this card is also buff, a colour not reported by Spalding, while Higgins and Gage list cream to yellow buff, so it may be that the buff card used turns yellowish on exposure to light. This seems to have been the case with the card shown above.
1st November 1934 1˝f postcard, note that as with the 3rd regular issue stamps the imprinted stamp now has six characters in the heading at the top.
1st November 1934 1˝f + 1˝f Reply Paid Postcard
Sources of the information used in this page - The first person to write definitively (in English) about the Imprinted Postcards of Manchukuo was Dr. Robert M. Spaulding Jr., his "The Catalogue of Postal Stationary of the Japanese Occupation of China, Part One, Manchuria", forms the core of Western knowledge of this subject and was the basis of the Higgins & Gage section on Manchukuo. I have found both works very helpful in compiling this page. Other references include the JSCA Japanese Stamp Specialized Catalogue Vol. 3 and articles from "The China Clipper", the journal of the China Stamp Society.