Japanese Occupation

1942 - 1945


Nigel Gooding Collection










Japanese Occupation of the Philippines


Reopening of Postal Service in City of Manila


4 March 1942


The Second World War came to the Philippines on 8 December 1941 when Camp John Hay at Baguio City was bombed. That was followed at about noon by high-altitude bombing of Iba and Clark Fields, north of Manila, and a strafing attack by fighter aircraft formations which inflicted heavy damage to installations and aircraft on the ground. In the days which followed, successful attacks destroyed the air bases and aircraft at Nichols and Nielson Fields, giving total air superiority to the Japanese. The US Navy Base at Cavite was rendered useless by repeated bombings which began on 10 December.


On 10 December, Japanese troops landed at Aparri, Cagayan and at Vigan, Ilocos Sur. That was followed on 12 December with landings at Legaspi, Albay. On 22 December a strong force commenced landings at Bauang, La Union on the Lingayen Gulf. Those Imperial Japanese Forces converged swiftly upon Manila, while the Filipino-American Forces withdrew to positions on the Bataan Peninsula, after abandoning Manila and declaring it to be an “Open City.”


General Douglas MacArthur relocated his General Headquarters to Fort Mills on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay, taking with him President Manuel Quezon and key members of his civil Commonwealth Government. Left behind to deal with the Japanese and to do whatever was possible to protect the Filipino people were two high-ranking and trusted members of his government, Jorge Vargas, Executive Secretary of the Council of State, and Jose Laurel, Secretary of Justice. Just before the fall of Manila, Quezon created the City of Greater Manila and appointed Vargas as its Mayor, in that position to be recognised by the Japanese invaders as spokesman for the Filipino people.


On 1 January 1942, late in the afternoon, advance elements of the Imperial Japanese Army reached the outskirts of Manila, pausing before entering the city. The fall of Manila occurred on the following day, 2 January 1942.


On 4 March 1942, less than nine weeks after the occupation of Manila, postal service was resumed in Manila. Mailings were initially restricted to letters, postcards, newspapers, and printed matter sent by the Imperial Japanese Forces, Government Offices and by persons who have appropriate authority. The Official Articles produced by the Japanese Authorities stipulated that only the 2c Jose Rizal green and 16c Magellan Landing blue postage stamps issued during the US Occupation, having had the words “United States of America” and “Commonwealth”, were valid for use on mail. The 2c stamp was issued to pay the Frist Class Letter rate, with the 16c stamp covering the Registration Fee. Both stamps were issued on 4 March 1942 to coincide with the opening of the postal services.


In the early stages, the attitude of the Bureau was quite lenient in regard to its handling of covers bearing any “unauthorised” stamps. Most such covers were returned to sender where handstamps were applied stated that the “attached stamp not valid for postage”, normally with an additional “Postage Due” handstamp was also applied. In some instances, a few covers were delivered to the addressee upon collection of the postage due.


Presentation Structure


The collection comprises the following sections:


Censor Mail - Shows domestic covers used between 4 March 1942 and 30 June 1943, at which time the use of censor handstamp was stopped by the Japanese Postal Authorities. This includes censor markings from various Cities that were also responsible for handling and censoring mail from adjacent provinces.


Commercial Mail - Shows domestic covers used from 1 July 1943 to the end of the Japanese Occupation in 1945. Includes regular mail, official mail and registered mail.


Overseas Mail - Shows covers sent from the Philippines to Japan.


Slogan Cancels - Depicts various Slogan Handstamps that were used during the Japanese Occupation period.


Registry Receipts - Shows various Registration Receipt cards used to track registered domestic and inbound covers.


Stamp Issues - Section that depicts all the postal stamp issues during the Japanese Occpation period, including proofs, plate blocks, errors and varieties.





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