Today in Postal History


Japan to Ruanda Urundi
June 21, 1927

The unusual part about this picture postcard is the destination and routing.

The card was sent from Kyoto where it was given a machine cancellation.
Note that the lettering in the cancel is arranged to read properly
on a cover oriented in accord with Japanese practice with the long side up.

There is also a pencilled change in the Japanese instructons to the right of the card.
The change may well reflect the sender's use of Imprimé rather than post card.

The destination of Usumbura (now Bujumbura) is at the north end of Lake Tanganyika.
The route given was via Dar es Salaam and Kigoma.
The card would have traveled by steamship from Japan through several exchanges
until it reached Dar es Salaam south of Zanzibar on the Indian Ocean coast of Africa.

The route then passed through what had been German East Africa
which had been blockaded and/or occupied by the Allies during World War I.
That portion known as Ruanda Urundi at the north end of
Lake Tanganyika was captured by Belgian troops in 1916.
In the peace settlement Ruanda Urundi was mandated to Belgium.
It was administered as part of the Belgian Congo, hence the
use of Congo Belge, its neighbor to the west, in the address.

From Dar es Salaam, the card would have ridden the railroad (completed in 1914) inland
through such places as Morogoro, Kilossa, Dodoma, Kilimatinde,
Tabora, to Ujiji next to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika.
From there a lake steamer would carry the cover north to Usumbura.

The sender marked the cover Imprimé to qualify for the printed matter rate.
The card is franked with a single 1926 2s green Mt. Fuji (Scott 194).

The card is illustrated with a picture of Nishi-Honganji, a shrine in Kyoto.

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