This brooch is from Japan and a specific period.   Following the end of World War II Japan needed to rebuild its economy.  It was agreed by the allies they could export goods as long as 50% of the items leaving the country had ‘Occupied Japan’ or similar stamped on them. This brooch is one of those items.  It is made of celluloid and the pin on the back has stamped clearly ‘OCCUPIED JAPAN’.  In many respects it is a cheaply made piece of jewellery but I bought it for the history and story it tells.

It is said the Japanese were so ashamed of the stamping requirement they often just didn’t do it.  There were stories of shipments from Japan where only the top layer in a crate would be marked.  Not every customs officer looks beyond the top layer!

The main types of items produced for export were kitchenware, porcelain, jewellery and toys.  As they were required to put the mark on 50% of the items they exported so sometimes you will find on a cruet set where the salt has the mark but not the pepper.

On 28th April 1952 the occupation of Japan by the Allied powers ended and the practice of ‘stamping’ goods ceased.  This gives a short collecting period and has given rise to counterfeiting, so be careful.  Also because of the Japanese reluctance to ‘stamp’ items, when collecting generally if a piece is exactly the same as a marked/stamped piece it is worth 50% to 75 % less and don’t let a dealer tell you differently. The value is in having an item with ‘Occupied Japan’.