Q: I would like to know the order of marks on items made in Japan. Which is oldest, “Nippon,” “Made in Occupied Japan,” “Made in Japan” or just “Japan”? Does it make a difference if the mark is red, green, black or another color?

A: Most pieces marked with the name of a country were made after 1891, when the McKinley Tariff Act was passed. Pieces from Japan were marked “Nippon,” the transliteration of the Japanese word for Japan. After 1915 the words “Made in…” were usually added. Beginning in 1921, U.S. Customs required country names to be in English, and the word “Japan” was used instead of “Nippon.” Items marked “Made in Occupied Japan” were made between February 1947 and April 1952. After that, just the word “Japan” was used again. According to experts on 19th- and 20th-century Japanese ceramics, the color does not help date a mark. Red, green and black were used most years. There is no explanation for when other colors were used.




6 responses to “Marks on Items Made in Japan”

  1. Atlantiques says:

    😥 I have a set; tea pot, tea cups, saucers, dessert plates made from a very thin porcelain. It has a beautiful colored pheasant with long tail feathers and background is yellow. I have seen design similar in some Kutani pieces. Has black outlined and painted inside. Problem is I cannot find a similar mark anywhere. It has two very small red marks. One on top is an open upwards triangle where one side is extended and other side has a dot or smal slash and under that “arrow” shape point is a small square and the other symbol below that just looks like a simple lopsided square. These are then in a rectangle together and painted red. That is the only markings and I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks

  2. Joiebell says:

    I have a teapot with a gold sticker with red letters on the bottom with pheasents as the design. The teapot has a handle on top made with maybe bamboo. I have tried to locate one on the internet to see the history of it. Can you give any insight to help me. Thanks so much

  3. Gretchdaddy says:

    I have a piece with a blue and silver Made in Japan sticker. When did stickers begin to be used and are they still used? Thank you.

  4. Blynnp says:

    hi, Koiman. I found out that the dragon and a phoenix means fung shay.. a balance of good and evil. when its on a big plate and the middle has hearts it was for the prince and princess for their wedding. it sounds beautiful.

  5. koiman says:

    i have a occupied japan small decorative bowl i got at an antique action and was wondering the value of it. It has dragons and birds on the outside and Japanese letters on the outside and on the inside it says hoto hoto.

  6. baloney says:

    I have a dragonware tea set with a mark that is something like Noritake’s wreath, only simpler, with the letter “T” and “Japan” underneath. The spout of the tea-pot is a dragon’s head. This set was given to my grandmother prior to WWII by a tenant who was in the import-export business. I would like to know more about it. The china is translucent and very pale pink and yellow under the heavier markings.

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