Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

Ever seen something like this? It’s a collage made from Japanese Occupation stamps! We thank Ruth Iversen Rollitt for sharing this with us. Incidentally, this souvenir was made by one of Ruth’s late father’s draughtsmen.


  1. NCK says:

    The words Republic of China can be read from some fragments of the stamps, and the head in the green stamps was that of Sun Yat Sen. These were no Japanese stamps.

  2. Ngai C O says:


    Definitely interesting because the boatman was in 19th century Japanese attire whereas the stamps were Chinese in origin and 20th century. Both countries were arch enemies.

    Remnants of this enmity still linger on today because of Japan’s refusal to apologise for its atrocities in China and disputed islands.

    Inscription at the bottom right hand corner of collage reads To Ruth Iverson if my eyesight is correct.

    • NCK says:

      It was just a handiwork of the draughtsmen’s artistry. Mayhap they couldn’t tell Japanese from Chinese. The sailboat with two-tiered sails didn’t look like a traditional Japanese boat either.

  3. Ruth Iversen Rollitt says:

    I was given this in 1946 when we returned from Australia at the end of the war by one of my father’s draugthtsmen. The office was in a room at the Eastern Hotel where we lived. I did not realise where the stamps came from – was just fascinated by the clever use of them and delighted with my gift. Thought they were Japannese as we also had been given Banana money – Japanese notes that were in circulation during the war – sadly they have been lost. But I gave this little collage to Ian for his wonderful collection of memorabilia.

  4. felicia says:

    Thank you, Ruth. These little treasures (and their accompanying stories) always help make our blog and database more exciting :)

  5. Liz says:

    They are probably Japanese Occupation stamps, i.e. normal issues from China issued under the Japanese Occupation and overprinted.

    • NCK says:

      Japan was at war with ROC. Hard to imagine why Japanese would want to use the enemy’s stamps instead of their own stamps in their colony.

    • Ngai C O says:


      Following Liz’s comments, I did a few more searches.

      There is a strong basis to look into what she suggested as the link below points to continued use of Sun Yet Sen stamps during the Japanese occupation.

      Maybe stamp collectors and enthusiasts out there can share their knowledge with green horns, who often jump to conclusions.

      I certainly acknowledge that I can get cynical at times.

    • NCK says:

      Well, Ngai CO. Remember that Ruth received the collage together with some banana notes in Ipoh. I think the subject matter should be Japanese Occupation stamps of Malaya, not China. On eBay, we can find some of these stamps – Malaya stamps with Japanese military overprints. The ROC stamps in the photo bears no such overprints, and I still don’t think Japanese would want to bring ROC stamps to Malaya for use.

      • Ngai C O says:

        Hi NCK,

        I do know that.

        I saw many Japanese occupation notes on sale at the flea market in the Ipoh wet market and the Sunday flea market. But I did not pay much attention to them.

    • NCK says:

      By the way, your link points to an article about Sun Yat Sen stamps, not Japanese Occupation stamps of China. The stamps illustrated were used by the ROC government, not the Japanese occupation government.

  6. Ngai C O says:

    Hi NCK,

    With regards to the link, I might have copied the wrong one.

    Since you seem to be so enthusiastic about the topic, perhaps you might be able to help out with the link below.

    Your talent with Chinese characters can help hopeless souls like me with understanding what it all means.


  7. NCK says:

    Hi Ngai CO, the American Philatelists article only dedicates a short paragraph (under subtitle ’3. Occupied Peking, 1941′ in page 2) to stamps issued under Japanese rule. The ROC martyr stamps had regional overprints even without Japanese occupation.

    Except the ‘poor quality, fuzzy printing with bleeding ink’ (as the paragraph describes) in the two red stamps at the bottom left corner of the page, a layman of me can’t see any hint of Japanese rule in the other stamps, although some of them are said to be occupation stamps by the image footnotes. Then again, who wouldn’t want to earn some good Dollars?

    Take the green stamps at the top left corner of the page for example. The year (the 30th year) in the date of the cancelling stamping had to refer to ROC calendar in which the first year was 1912, making it 1912 + 30 – 1 = 1941. If it referred to the former Japanese Showa calendar, with 1926 as the first year, it would have been 1955 – obviously wrong, as the war would have been over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>