Sunday, May 2, 2010


Around here O.C. can mean Ocean City, NJ...

or Ocean City, MD,

or there was a TV show The O.C.on Fox a couple years ago... But, in the antique world, OC is Occupied Japan...although this is a collectible that has lost some punch as we drift farther away from the WWII events. (But looking at the new price guides...much of the market for all things has lost close to 70% of value!)

Anyway, I was always fascinated by the "occupied" mark because, if you look at enough pieces, you can see the resentment of that mark. For those who are not aware, from 1945-1952, items imported from Japan to the United States had to be marked in a fashion indicating they came from Occupied Japan.

Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States along with Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Japan had never been occupied by a foreign power in its history which dates back to 30,000 BC.

Although four different marks were used during this time ("Japan," "Made in Japan," "Occupied Japan," and "Made in Occupied Japan"), only the last two marks guarantee the pieces were made in the Occupied Japan time frame. For serious Occupied Japan collectors, it is items with these two marks for which they search.

I have read that in a box of ceramic wares, workers would purposely not stamp a couple pieces out of spite...understandable. What made me think of this mark were a pair of little shelf sitters I got in an auction lot...look at the woman's eyes...the paint has been dripped as though she is crying. Maybe it is just my literary imagination, but I imagine their pride was seriously impacted.

So, when you see an Occupied Japan mark, remember that there was a person who painted that and stamped that label on there and what was behind that label.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am catching up on your Posts, Susan, and I just LOVE this one - I have always been curious about Occupied Japan items, seeing them in certain shops over the years, yard sales {priced high I might add} and I have several pieces as well with that mark. I didn't really know the back story in full. Just wanted to stop in and say hello and Thank you for the info! I love learning new things ~ Happy Friday