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Japan:  Nagoya Castle

Kaart ontvangen van Seito

Op deze plek stond in 1523 al het eerste kasteel van het Tokugawa regime. In 1612 was een grotere versie gereed. Helaas werd in de tweede wereldoorlog een groot gedeelte van dit kastelencomplex verwoest, maar een aantal schilderingen en andere kostbaarheden konden worden gered. Wederom werd het kasteel opgebouwd, nu met modernere materialen als beton en het gebouw kreeg liften en air-conditiong. Het was gereed in 1959.

During World War II, the castle was used as the district army headquarters and as a POW camp (prisoners of war).
Buildings such as the main and small donjons, and the Honmaru Palace were burned down during the USAF air raids of May 1945. Three towers, three gates and 1,047 paintings of the sliding doors and walls of the palace that were prior taken into storage for safety survived the fire and have been designated as important national cultural assets. In 1959, the main and small donjons, and the main gate were restored to their original appearance with some modifications. The two donjons are modern concrete buildings with air-conditioning and elevators


Japan: Kamakura-Gu tempel

Kaart ontvangen van Takenoko

De tempel van Kamakura-Gu in Kamakura werd in 1869 gebouwd door de keizer Meiji ter ere van de Prins Morinaga, die op deze plek 9 maanden gevangen werd gehouden en vermoord in 1335.
Deze prins, één van de 36 kinderen van keizer Godaigo, was toen pas 25 jaar. Morinaga had als opperpriester leiding gegeven aan soldaten en vocht tegen de shogun van Kamakura.
Kamakura was toendertijd in feite de hoofdstad van Japan onder de Shoguns (Opperbevelhebbers of Generaals die de barbaren verslaan).

Kamakura is mainly known for its temples and shrines. A 15th Century tsunami destroyed the temple that once housed the Great Buddha of Kamakura, but the statue survived and has remained outdoors ever since.
Magnificent Zen temples like Kencho-ji and Engaku-ji; the Tokei-ji (a nunnery that was a refuge for women who wanted to divorce their husbands); the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine; the Hase-dera, an ancient Kannon temple; the graves of Minamoto no Yoritomo and Hōjō Masako; and the Kamakura-gu where Prince Morinaga was executed, top the list of Kamakura's most famous historical and religious sites.


Sendai: the City of the Forest

Kaart ontvangen van Bluemoon

Op deze kaart is het bronzen standbeeld afgebeeld van Lord Masamune Date. Deze krijger leefde van 1567 tot 1636. Hij was de stichter van de stad Sendai.
Masamune had in zijn jeugd zijn rechteroog verloren door de pokken. Hij kreeg daardoor de bijnaam "éénogige draak". Ook zijn helm sprak tot de verbeelding, die was getooid met een grote maanvormige sikkel.
Masamune deed veel voor zijn leefgebied. Hij liet een kasteel bouwen, liet missionarissen toe voor de prediking en zorgde voor economische opbloei in het gebied, naast het oorlog voeren met naburige stammen.
Helaas is het kasteel in de tweede wereldoorlog verwoest, maar wat bleef is een mooie tuin/park, en natuurlijk het standbeeld.

Japan heeft heel veel postzegels met mooie bloemen erop.
De zegels op de kaart zijn daar een goed voorbeeld van.

Osaka: Kasteel

Kaart ontvangen van Naoko

De bouw van het Osaka Castle is begonnen ergens in de 16e eeuw, maar moest diverse keren worden herbouwd en gerepareerd, o.a. door blikseminslagen, branden en oorlogsomstandigheden.
In 1995-1997 werd het kasteel nogmaals grondig gerestaureerd. Er zijn nu 5 verdiepingen aan de buitenkant met een typisch Japanse stijl, en er zijn 8 verdiepingen aan de binnenzijde uitgevoerd in moderne bouwstijlen met veel beton.
Het kasteel is gelegen op een terrein van ongeveer 1 vierkante kilometer dat praktisch door water is omgeven en begroeid is met 300 mooie kersenbomen.

Osaka Castle, originally called Ozakajō, is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one kilometer square. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from sword-bearing attackers.


Over deze 2 postzegels kan ik op dit moment weinig zeggen. Het ontbreekt me aan informatie. Als die beschikbaar komt, zal ik het hier aanpassen.

Aomori: Hirosaki Castle

Kaart ontvangen van Sumie

Hirosaki Castle was constructed in 1611. It was the seat of the Tsugaru clan. The main building measures 612 meters east-west and 947 meters north-south.
The surrounding Hirosaki Park around the castle grounds is one of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots. Over a million people enjoy the park's 2600 trees (which were originally planted around in grounds in 1903) during the sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, usually during the Japanese Golden Week holidays in the end of April and beginning of May.

This card has a lot of interesting postage stamps. Sumie writes: "The stamps are old, but you can see animal symbols of Lunar Year Calendar".
I also see cherry blossom!

Thanks Sumie!

Himeji-jo: Castle

Kaart ontvangen van Jeanne

Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defence and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.

This card was sent by Jeanne, an American woman married to a man working on the US military base in Okinawa. That's why she is allowed to use USA stamps.
The left stamp is from 2007 and shows the Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis), named for its large horns. Some of their subspecies is endangered: the Ovis canadensis sierrae.
The second stamp is from a series of 10 that asks for animal rescue by adopting a shelter pet (dogs and cats). Emission of 2010.
The third stamp is also from 2010 and comes from a sheet "Nature of America", in this case "Hawaiian Rain Forest". Sheet contains 10 different stamps.

Thanks Jeanne!


Japan: Takamatsu Lighthouse

Kaart ontvangen van Tomoe

The Red Lighthouse of Takamatsu, depicted on this card,  is located at the end of a 1800 ft long breakwater. It was built in 1998 with the rest of the Sunport. It’s not very high, only 46 ft  (14 meters), but it’s the only lighthouse in the world to be built almost entirely of glass, in such a way that at night, it’s the entire lighthouse that emits light, red light.

This is how it looks like at daylight as seen from the sea (source: Wikimedia).

The postage stamp is from a block of 10 stamps (80 yen each) with characters from the popular "One Piece" anime heroes/heroines. Emission is 23 march 2011.
"One Piece" is based on Japanese manga artist Eiichiro Oda in the comic magazine "Weekly Shonen JUMP" serialized in the same name on the TV animation comic book, launched in 1999. In recent years, the United States and other countries this work has been warmly welcomed into the energy of the cartoon world's most commercial brands.
The full sheet with the ten stamps is also depicted here:



Tokyo:  Shibuya

Kaart ontvangen van Fumi

A trend setting area for fashion, art, culture and music always flowed with people and information. The 109 building in the center is the easily recognizable spot from the Shibuya Station.

The upper postage stamp depicts the Tokyo National Museum (Hyokei Hall or Hyokeikan). This stamp has been issued in 1981. Hyokeikan opens to the public only for temporary exhibitions and special events. Built in 1908, the Hyokeikan building has a beautiful design based on Western-style architecture of that period. The building has been designated as an important Cultural Property.
You can see a nice video on Youtube:

The two blue stamps on the bottom show a "mute swan". These stamps belong to a huge series of small stamps with a variety of subjects (mainly animals and flowers). This one is from 1971.

Next to the regular cancellation by the Ushigome post office, there is a red-colored special cancel: