Today in Postal History


Japan to India
May 2, 1915

This cover has caused me consierable confusion.
I initially could not identify the date properly and concluded
that the cover had passed through Tokyo's outgoing section on May 13.
After some help I have concluded that it really entered the mails
on May 2 and was cancelled in Tokyo's outbound department on May 3.

Here is the story.
The four CDS marked 4 .5 .2 are for the fourth year
of the Taisho reign (1915), fifth month (May) and second day.
The sender's return address was Tokyo
so we can surmise that the May 2 cancel was Tokyo.

The two western cancels with Tokyo are May 3, 1915.
What appears to be a '1' before the '3' is an errant slug adjacent
to the '3' which was high enough to be inked and make a mark.

The sequence of reception in the regular Japanese post on May 2 and
then transfer to the outbound post on May 3 is consistent with expectations.

The sender was the German Society for East Asian Nature and Ethnology.*
The Society is still active.

This mechanical translation describes their current objectives:
"The German society for nature and people customer of Eastern Asia (OAG),
Tokyo, was created 1873 by German buyers, scholars and diplomats.
Their goal is it, the countries of Eastern Asia,
in particular Japan, to investigate and spread knowledge of it.
This scientific task connects it with an informal function.
Like that are apart from the lecture and publication activity excursion ions, journeys,
celebrations and cultural meetings a component of the activities of the OAG."
Their objective appears to be one of cultural exchange.

The destination of the cover was Calcutta.
The letter was censored in Calcutta.
The censor mark was a double rim enclosing the legend
PASSED BY POSTAL CENSOR CALCUTTA with a 5 inside the second circle.

There is another handstamp on the reverse similar to a CDS indicating that
the cover was PASSED BY CENSOR 3 JUN 1915 CALCUTTA.

There is also a Calcutta CDS dated June 4 when the cover went back into the mail system.

*Thanks to Jim Whitford-Stark for his superior translation of the name of this German Society.
Thanks, too, to David Benson and David Frick in analyzing this cover.


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