Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Neat Historical Artifact from 1940s Japan

I found this going through some of my dad's stuff. I'm not entirely sure, but I think what I have is actually from 1940. It certainly looks like it could be that old, as the backing paper is now khaki colored, but I have no idea if it was originally that color or if it's yellowed over time. 

The bigger reason that I think it's legit is because dad was born a Jew in 1936 in Austria, and when he & my grandparents fled Nazi oppression in 1941, they fled east through Russia rather than going through war-torn and occupied western Europe. (I don't have a date on this, but it had to have been before Operation Barbarossa when Nazi Germany attacked Russia, so that's any time between 1 January and 23 June 1941.) They then took the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Manchuria, and from there they took a boat to Japan and sailed from Yokohama to Seattle. 

My father was in the region at the right time, and Japan in 1940 more or less controlled all major ports in mainland China, so I figure it's likely that Japan printed out a ton of these such that they were still around and being used a year after issue. 

Three bits of Japanese trivia related to this:
  1. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan Mail Steamship Company) operated passenger services at this time. No, I don't know why it's NKY and not NYKK. Kabushiki kaisha is a type of corporation in Japan; I think the English translation would be something like "Company, Limited". 
  2. The word maru (丸, meaning "circle") is often appended to Japanese commercial ship names. If you're a Trekkie you'll have heard of the Kobayashi Maru, which uses this same tradition. 
  3. The Emperor Zinmu referenced on the paper is likely an older translation of Jimmu, the legendary First Emperor of Japan who is said to have begun his reign in 660 BC. 660 + 1940 = 2,600, the anniversary given. 

Anyway, it's a neat bit of history and I thought folks would find it interesting. I have a 1200 dpi scan of it if anyone is interested. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to