News-Antique.com - Oct 22,2008 - Tempe, AZ and Tokyo, Japan- October 23,2008. Occupied Japan was a short-lived country, it existed in a small window of time between the end of World War II and the implementation of the San Francisco Peace treaty on April 28, 1952 when sovereignty was returned to the Japanese people. In practice it was a military occupation under General Douglas MacArthur from 1945 through 1951, and briefly, in transition, under General Matthew Ridgeway.
Today, over half a century has past, and “occupied Japan” has become the most searched for and desirable mark for collectibles in the world. Both Kovel, the premier American collectible search site, and Rinkya, the leading Japanese buying service, worldwide have found that goods such as pottery, porcelain, toys and even clocks produced in Japan during the occupation are the leading collectible goods category this year.
“The level of craftsmanship in many fields in occupied Japan was fantastic,” says Rinkya CEO Heather Russell. “Artisans who had been soldiers returned to their crafts with a seemingly greater understanding of the world, and created motifs that continue to influence both arts and crafts today. What had been a relatively enclosed society was suddenly open to the rest of the world and the explosion of creativity fostered by that may be one of the most important, though unrecognized, artistic movements of the twentieth century.
“That initial creativity would follow Japan through the rest of the century, taking it from a defeated, occupied country to the world’s second largest national economy. In the fields of art and collectibles, the door that was first opened under the Occupation would have ramifications across all of the arts
“At Rinkya what we have noticed is that goods from the Occupation era, well up into the early sixties show a creativity and energy that has made them highly desirable collectibles on several levels and in several fields.
“The actual marks, “Occupied Japan” and “Made in Occupied Japan” were initiated to help open Japanese goods to the rest of the world and overcome the stigma of Japan as a “bad guy”. The success of that strategy is evident today in Japan’s position as one of the world’s premier trading powers. However, even goods produced for the Japanese market during the Occupation exhibit the creativity and innovation of that period. At Rinkya we have many clients who search out these domestic goods , as well as the goods marked for export in putting together rather impressive collections detailing this period of artistic creation and innovation.
“Military occupations are always a tragedy. In some, however, one can find serendipity. The tremendous surge of innovation in the arts and crafts, the new creativity that Japan found as “Occupied Japan,” while it doesn’t make up for the hardship, is certainly that kind of serendipity and perhaps the reason that, today, goods from Occupied Japan are the world’s most sought after collectibles.”
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