Cherry Blossoms: 20 Sen Violet with Syllabics


 February 1874
Scott #30 and Sakura #24 with syllabics  syllabic i  (I-1),  syllabic syllablc ro (ro-2) , or syllabic Syllabic ha (ha-3) on native paper.
Scott #38 and Sakura #34 with syllabics  Syllabis ni (ni-4) or syllabic    (ho-5) on foreign wove paper.

Size 22 1/2 mm x 25 1/2 mm

While the Government printed syllabics Syllabic i, syllablc ro, and Syllabic ha on native paper, the stamps were never issued to the Japanese public.  Syllabics Syllabic iexists only on wove paper.  All known stamps were utilized as specimens for official notifications and bear the black-dot (sumi-ten) specimen overprint.  Syllabics syllablc ro,  and Syllabic ha exist only in unused condition.  It is believed that they were sold to foreign stamp dealers as export sheets for disposal by the government.

There is one original plate for each syllabic.  Printing was done by the Government on native paper for syllabics Syllabic i, syllablc ro,  and Syllabic ha. Foreign wove paper was used for syllabices Syllabis niand .   Syllabics Syllabic i, syllablc ro,  and Syllabic ha were thought to have been engraved by Matsuda.  Syllabics  Syllabis ni and   by Umemura.  A lighter shade of violet was used for the syllabic Syllabis ni than for syllabic .

There are no known classic forgeries of syllabics Syllabic i, syllablc roSyllabic ha and Syllabis ni, but there are ABC Kurabu (Club) forgeries of syllablc ro, and Syllabis ni which are not deceptive.  All the classic more deceptive forgeries are syllabic .

There is no secret mark on the genuine stamps.

Reminder:  Only 16 petals or florets in the genuine Kiku Crest (Chrysanthemum Crest).



Genuine – Government Printing

Cherry Blossom: 20 sen violet with syllabic ni (4)
  Genuine with Syllabic Syllabic i (i -1)

Photo from The Cherry Blossom Issues of Japan, 1872-1876 by Ichida, Dr. Soichi page 182

Cherry Blossom: 20 sen violet with syllabic ni (4)
  Genuine with Syllabic syllablc ro (ro -2)
20 sen with syllabic 3
  Genuine with Syllabic Syllabic ha (ha -3)
Cherry Blossom: 20 sen violet with syllabic ni (4)
  Genuine with Syllabic Syllabis ni (Ni -4)
Cherry Blossom: 20 sen violet, syllabic ho (5)
 Genuine with Syllabic (ho-5)

Differences Between Genuine and Forged

These characteristics are typical of most of the forgeries.

A:  Genuine:  At the lower end of the central band, the inner scroll ends with an upward curl before the paulownia leaf and does not touch the leaf.   Forgeries:  In forgeries, the end curl is usually downward and/or may touch the leaf.

BGenuine:   There are seven round buds on the center flower stem and five buds on the side stems.    Forgeries:   Some have five buds on the center stem and less then five on the side stems.

C:  Genuine:   Each  inner frame ornament has a distinct central notch from which three flower protrude. The center flower stem  continues back to the base of the ornament.   Forgeries:   Some forgeries have no V-shaped depression and all the flower stems end at the edge of the ornament.


Cherry Blossoms: 20 sen violet, syll ho (5)


Signed” Forgeries




Wada: 20 sen Cherry Blossom, syllabic ho, with sankō
Wada: Plate 27

Sankō at bottom outside oval ring in color or stamp.



Hirose: 20 sen Cherry Blossom with red sankō overprint
Hirose: Position 1

 Large red sankō overprint.  Probably exists without overprint.




Unsigned” Forgeries



Genuine with Hirose: Die 1
Hirose: Die 1

Forgery with syllabic  (ho-5)

Although this example has the red sankō overprint, it is known with no sankō.


Genuine with Hirose: Die 2
Hirose: Die 2

Forgery with syllabic  (ho-5)


Note: Numbers in parenthesis and bold are the catalog numbers found on reverse of the forgeries.  State 4 forgeries did not have any numbers on the reverse. It is believed that State 4 forgeries exist for all different values.  But only a few State 4 examples were available for examination.  When State 4 was available for examination, the design type is recorded.

20 sen violet, syllabic ロ with ABC: Design 109-A
ABC (Kurabu) Club Forgery – Design 109-A.

States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No.  19). 

Only known forgery with syllabic  syllablc ro (ro-2)

Characteristics of Design 109-A:

      1. Uneven top.
      2. Break.
20 sen violet, syllabic ニ with ABC: Design 109-B
ABC (Kurabu) Club Forgery – Design 109-B

States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 29).

Only known forgery with syllabic Syllabis ni(ni-4).

Characteristics of Design 109-B:

      1. Extra dot.



Japan Stamp Publicity Association


Genuine Cherry Blossom, 20 sen, sylllabic ho wih JSPA reproduction No. 9
Genuine with JSPA Sheet No. 9 Issued 20 November 1962 with Syllabic (ho-5)

The stamp on this sheet reproduces the genuine issue of  February 1874 on wove paper.  The stamp is imperforate on cream-colored wove paper.   Click here to see more information about JSPA reproductions.


Kitte Bunka Kai (Stamp Culture Association) On the Occasion of their 20th Anniversary – 1964

Kitte Bunka Kai: Folder and Souvenir Sheet 20 sen Cherry Blossom Syllabic I
Photo: Genuine syllabic 1 & 1964 Reproduction

The genuine 20 sen Cherry Blossom stamp syllabic Syllabic i is one of the rarest stamps of Japan.  It was never issued to the Japanese public.  It is only known used with the back dot (sumi-ten) of a specimen stamp. The photograph shown here is taken from Dr. Ichida’s book, The Cherry Blossom Issues of Japan 1872-1876, page 182.  At the time of publication of Dr. Ichida’s book (1965), he says that about 6 copies probably exist.  The photo of the copy shown here was in the Kanai collection (x-Caspary).  Note the clear sumi-ten (black-dot) on the chrysanthemum crest.

As explained in Japanese Philately, Vol. 19, p104, this reproduction was made from a new die engraved by the retired Chief of the Engraving Section of the Government Printing Bureau, Katō Kurakichi.  The reproduction is exquisite in engraving detail and printing.  Only 1,000 copies were issued  to commemorate  the twentieth anniversary of the Kitte Bunka Kai of Tokyo.

The sheet is heavy high-quality wove paper, 121 x166 mm, and the stamp is in the violet color of the original.

The additional inscriptions :

      • At top – Kitte Bunka Kai Sōritus Nijūshūnen Kinen (Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of the Kitte Bunka Kai).
      • At bottom –  The date 1964 and the name of the Society .

The folder cover in light green has similar inscriptions and an explanation inside.