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Plates and Figurines Marked Made in Occupied Japan

Updated on March 19, 2020
Blond Logic profile image

Mary has many hobbies and shares her ideas and passion in an easy to read user-friendly way.

Occupied Japan Plates
Occupied Japan Plates

Stamped Occupied Japan

Have you ever bought a figurine or piece of pottery and discovered it said "Occupied Japan" on the reverse? You may have wondered why it was marked like this. After World War II the allied forces occupied Japan until the early 1950s. The Japanese ceramics, pottery and china were stamped "made in occupied Japan" or simply "Occupied Japan".

Now, these pieces are becoming collectible and the savvy collector is always searching for something that will only increase in value. These are not only of interest to a collector of Japanese art and design but also to historians and memorabilia of WWII.

Where to Find Occupied Japan Items

There are many places to find figurines, pottery, or china that are stamped with the "Occupied Japan" or "Made in Occupied Japan".

Ebay is a great place to start, there are usually several people who sell frequently on that site. Because the stock on eBay is always changing, it is a good idea to check back often. Remember with eBay, if you like something, buy it because it may not be there tomorrow or even in an hour.

Another place will be traditional auction houses. These may be found in boxes and sold as a job lot so it is important that you look in as many boxes as possible because it is likely it won't be listed in the sales brochure.

It is possible to find some at charity shops such as Salvation Army and Goodwill but normally the employees sort through and sell these separately. If you speak with them they may be willing to keep them back and sell them to you.

Swap meets, garage sales, and if you are in the UK, car boot sales. These are always good places to find these things. It is best to arrive early. Talk to traders and see if they have more than what is on display.

Antique shops may also have them but you will pay a much higher price than the previous places.

The Collector's Encyclopedia of Occupied Japan Collectibles (Series I)
The Collector's Encyclopedia of Occupied Japan Collectibles (Series I)
This is my 'go to' book for checking what my items may be worth. Of course, I don't take my book with me, but if the price is reasonable on an item, I'll buy it and check when I return home. Every time I buy a piece and refer to my book, I'm learning what to look for. It is a fantastic hobby with a mixture of history thrown in. When I see a new piece, it's like finding buried treasure. I enjoy looking at my pieces and at the moment don't plan on selling but it is nice to know what they are worth.

Collecting Occupied Japan Items

Cathy Anderson from Seatlle, has photographed and listed various manufactures and designs of cups and saucers which are marked "occupied Japan" or "Made in occupied Japan". She herself is a collector. Take a look to see if you have the same ones. Her list is increasing as she buys, and photographs her collection and displays it here on the internet.

Why are They Stamped Made in Occupied Japan

There are several reasons these could be stamped like this. Firstly for export reasons. After the war there was continued animosity against the Japanese and as such people didn't want to buy their products. People didn't want to support Japan by buying their products.

At that time, their products were also inferior it was thought. If you have seen the film "Back to the Future" they make reference to this. In the 1950s Japan was synonymous with poor quality and now it produces some of the highest quality goods available. This was due to W. Edwards Deming1 who went to Japan from the US to help with quality control in companies Toyota and Sony to name just two.

It could have also been that they used these marks as a stamp of defiance against being occupied.

Whatever the reason, they now are becoming collectible and are increasing in value.

Displaying your Collectibles

If you want to display your collectibles, opt for a glass cabinet. This will protect them whilst also allowing you to view them. The correct placement should be away from strong light that could bleach the coloring of your pieces.

Another advantage is, when others want to view a piece, they needn't handle it to do so. Safely placed on display, your collection will be kept in a clean, dust free environment.

“W. Edwards Deming of Powell, Wyo.: The Man Who Helped Shape the World.”,

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Mary Wickison

Are you a collector?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have collected and sold a number of O J figurines. They tend not to be of the highest quality. I see a lot of pieces based on English designs. They are interesting and historical like you said. Thanks for the info.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      8 years ago from Brazil

      HI Certifiedcrush,

      Yes that is true. I first came across a piece at a yard sale in the States. With children, it opens up a new avenue to discuss history. It makes it more tangible.

      Thank you for stopping by.

    • certifiedcrush profile image


      8 years ago from Charleston, WV

      Well done. I always keep my eye out for Occupied Japan pieces. If nothing else, they are easy to date! :)


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