On May 24 – June 30 VMU Centre for Asian Studies invites you to visit Japanese post stamps exhibition “Prefectures”. The exhibition displays a part of Mr. Leonas Veržbolauskas collection of Japanese post stamps. The exhibition is located in the 4th floor gallery at the VMU Multifunctional Research and Studies Centre (V. Putvinskio st. 23, Kaunas).

Japan began issuing stamps for its prefectures, also known as furusato (ふるさと – hometown) stamps in 1989. However, they are not trully regional stamps as they are issued by Japan Post and are sold at the post offices not only in their prefectures but also all around the country. Prefecture stamps provide an excellent opportunity to experience the sights and scenes for which Japan’s prefectures are famous for.

One of the most popular themes is the combination of flowers and famous sites. In fact, flowers have been playing an important role in Japanese culture as many of the floral traditions can date back hundreds of years and are connected to certain events or activities. Good examples are “hanami” (cherry blossom viewing) and flower arrangement known as “ikebana”.

Recognizing a Japanese prefecture stamp is quite tricky if one does not know Japanese, however, there are a few distinctive features which can help to identify a prefecture stamp. One way to recognize prefecture post stamp is to look at its inscription: “日本郵便” (Nippon/Nihon Yūbin – Japan Post). On prefecture stamps this inscription has a calligraphic style of font. However, around 2008 inscriptions were unified. In this case, a stamp can be identified by its prefecture name which is imprinted on the bottom of the stamp.