Made in Occupied Japan

I’ve been collecting antique or vintage cup and saucer sets, and every time I go to America, my American friend, Gay takes me to some antique shops. I love going antiquing. While I was in America last time, Gay took me to an antique mall that was new in Flint, Michigan. I really enjoyed shopping because the mall was huge and I could see a lot of vintage or antique stuff. While I was enjoying looking around with her, I found a small matching cup and saucer set. I thought it was very pretty. I overturned the cup because I wanted to make sure where the cup came from. I especially love collecting British cup and saucer sets. They are very elegant and have a lot of details. Most of them are not hand painted, but I can get a lot of painting hints from the sets. When I overturned the saucer, I found a very interesting mark that I’ve never seen before. It said “Made in Occupied Japan, Ohata China”. I’ve seen made in Japan china many times at antique shops in America and am used to it, but it was my first time to find occupied stuff. Since I couldn’t understand the meaning of it, I asked to Gay. She told me that it wasn’t happy for me, but it had been created while our country was colonized by America after World War 2. I thought it was very interesting and found a part of our history! I bought it. After getting home, Gay searched about occupied stuff for me. She told me that it had been created from 1945 to 1952.
I knew our country lost World War 2, but I’ve never seen the proof. To be honest with you, I was very shocked.After I returned to Japan, I also asked to my Texan friend, Matt about the occupied stuff. He also helped me to find some links.I found that during our country was colonized by America, we had to print the mark “made in occupied Japan” on all our export things. I didn’t study it at my history class. I asked to both my husband and daughter if they studied it at school, but both of them also didn’t study. The occupied stuff are exported things, and that’s why we haven’t seen them in Japan. I also tried to search about “Ohata China”, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the china company. I guess we already don’t have the company in Japan any more.

I’d love to show the matching cup and saucer set to my parents. They might know about it more. I’m happy to be able to find a part of our history in America! If you know some information about it, could you tell me about them? I’m looking forward to receiving a lot of information from you!

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

Made in Occupied Japan Ohata China

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chezzyr
    May 15, 2012 @ 17:01:06

    Very pretty! And interesting history too (I didn’t know this either). I searched on ebay USA and can find similar raspberry, strawberry and blackberry of this series. cup, saucer and plate trios


    • yumi
      May 15, 2012 @ 22:08:47

      Hi, Chezzyr!

      Thank you for the comment! I’m happy that many people are also interested in this story! If I can get some more information, I’d love to share it with you here!

      If you can get some more one, please share it with me here!!!!


  2. akiko
    May 15, 2012 @ 17:23:18

    I owed the occpied cup and saucer before. But I sold it at the garage sale this spring…hahaha. I also didn’t know about the proof of it since I got it. You can see many occpied china in antique shop in America. I’m sorry I don’t know much about fo it, but my cup and saucer didn’t have any brand name on it. Just said “Occupied Japan”.
    Maybe many potteries involved that kind of work and they could get foreign money through that export under occupied period.


    • yumi
      May 15, 2012 @ 22:11:25

      Hi, Akiko-san.

      Thank you so much for the comment! Geeeee!!! Why you didn’t notice that before you sold your cup and saucer set????? LOL
      I’m very curious about yours. I know even they aren’t occupied stuff, Japanese vintage cup and saucer sets have really high quality! I’d love to collect them from now on!


    • shirley ruth liepitz
      Mar 31, 2018 @ 22:15:08

      I have a beautiful cup and saucer with the dragon design Very delicate with the geisha girl on the bottom of the cup The only markings on the bottom of the saucer says in red print : Made in occupied Japan I know it was made after WWII Any value?Shirley


      • yumi
        Apr 02, 2018 @ 18:39:52

        Hi, Shirley

        Thanks for visiting my blog again. I am sorry that I don’t know about the value of your dragon porcelain. I hope you can show them to an antique dealer. Then, she/he can tell you the value. I am sorry that I can’t help you.

  3. akiko
    May 15, 2012 @ 17:26:26

    sorry mistyped not owed it’s owned…hehe


  4. Dixie
    May 15, 2012 @ 18:41:51

    That is beautiful!!!


  5. aelfwyne
    May 15, 2012 @ 23:31:32

    As a historian, I find this very interesting. Thanks for sharing!


    • yumi
      May 16, 2012 @ 00:05:07

      Hi, Alvine!

      Long time no see! How have you been? Have you still been studying Japanese?
      I’m so happy that you visited my blog and left the comment!

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad for you this story is interesting!


  6. Matilda Jane Holmes
    May 16, 2012 @ 00:09:38

    Hi Yumi, I have some cups and saucers made in Occupied Japan! I will send you some photos.Jane


  7. Melanie
    May 18, 2012 @ 00:16:36

    Hi, Yumi!

    What a beautiful cup & saucer set! It must be so much fun antiquing in the U.S. Are there many antique stores in Japan?

    This is a really interesting period of Japanese history. It’s amazing that you had to go all the way to the U.S. to learn about it! What do you learn in school about post-war Japan?


    • yumi
      May 18, 2012 @ 11:23:54

      Hi, Melanie!

      Thank you so much for reading the blog entry and leaving the comment! We have both Japanese style antique stores and Western style antique stores. We also have some pawn shops.

      We learn about WW2, but I didn’t know that America ordered us to print the mark on all our exported goods. I didn’t know the part at school. I think our education system is quite good to control young students not to become anti-America. I’ve never thought negative feelings against America even thought America dropped atomic bombs twice. I think our education has been working out for Japanese people very well.


      • Melanie
        May 18, 2012 @ 23:37:46

        History is not taught very well in Canadian schools! We learn very little about WWII, and almost nothing about what happened in the Pacific region during WWII. Most of what I know about WWII in the Pacific comes from watching American movies!

        I am so thankful that I have been able to meet so many wonderful Japanese people on Twitter! I have learned so much about Japan. I would love to visit someday!

        = )

      • yumi
        May 19, 2012 @ 11:49:38

        I’m so glad that you are interested in our culture! I hope we can meet in Japan some day!!!!

      • K. D.
        Dec 15, 2012 @ 00:02:29

        Hello Yumi, I came across your site while researching some Ohata china pieces I have. FYI, the “Made in Occupied Japan” mark is not a bad thing. It is what helped Japan rebuild it’s industrial base after the war. I came across the following that I thought you might find interesting:
        The following is a compilation of research from different thoughts on Occupied Japan markings. There are varying opinions on the history of this marking.

        “The unofficial occupation began when Emperor Hirohito broadcast the unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945. Officially accepted by General Douglas MacArthur on board the U.S. Battleship Missouri September 2, 1945, the new Japanese Peace Treaty was signed and became effective on April 28, 1952 restoring full sovereignty back to Japan and thus ending the Allied Occupation.

        My father was in Japan during WWII and he says the economy had become so bad after the war that our soldiers could not even buy food and supplies because, back home, people would not buy anything made in Japan because they were the “bad guys.”

        As Japan needed to rebuild their economy after the war, part of the agreement to allow them to export goods out of the country was they had to mark 50% of all items with “Occupied Japan” or “Made in Occupied Japan.” They could do this with a paper label, cloth label, engraving, handwritten or stamp. You may come across things like a salt and pepper set, where only one of the pair is marked OJ and the other will just have “Japan” on it.

        During the year after WWII, Japanese manufactures were banned from exporting although American authorities occupying controlled territories permitted the sale of items “Made in Occupied Japan” that were regulated through the years 1946 and 1947. After the regulation was lifted, much of the same tooling was used so the marking continued until about 1955. It took months before Japan could re-tool the manufacturing process from war to peacetime. The Japanese had to conform to a strict U.S. Government identification process for exporting all manufactured goods……”

        In my research of my Ohata china pieces, I have found that the mark that keeps coming up is not the one on my china. It seems to have been redesigned and is a much lighter, “happier”, flowing and simple china mark. I believe my mother got this china in the late ’50’s or early ’60’s. If you are interested in seeing the china mark from my china, I will see if there is some way I can get a picture of it to you. I am trying to find out more about the Ohata China Co. and it’s history. Not much about it online other than samples of their work.

        Have a great day!

      • yumi
        Dec 15, 2012 @ 04:25:25

        Wow, thank you so much for such the long comment!
        I really enjoyed reading it!!!!
        Yes, I’ve been collecting the occupied Japan stuff and every time I go to America, I can get something. My collection is getting bigger. I have to show my collections on another entry some day.
        I’m very curious about ohata china because it’s gone and nothing. If you can get more information, please let me know. Thank you!

      • K. D.
        Dec 19, 2012 @ 04:52:06

        Yumi, I think that you have a much better opportunity than I, to research the Ohata China Co. You speak the language and have access to the research opportunities, like books on china in the libraries or antique shops where you are. If you find out any of their history after the war, I would be interested in hearing about it. You might try inquiring about Ohata from some of the companies that are still in business from that time till now. They might know something or know where you could look. I know that Sango and Noritake are two of them still around. You might find this link interesting.

      • yumi
        Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:29:10

        Thanks for the link and comment. I’ve tried to search about the Ohata china, but it’s still difficult for me to do it. I know Noritake, Fukagawa and Okura. Those three are representative Japanese china companies now. I guess Ohata was in the Nagoya region because at the time there were so many small china companies there. I’ve been keeping on looking for some information about the company and when I get some of it, I will let you know!

      • J
        Jan 18, 2013 @ 03:25:58

        My husband inherited 2 plates that say Ohata China, Made in Occupied Japan. They are dessert or salad size, have the same markings on the back as yours do, but the designs on the front are both full, in the center of the plates. One design is of strawberries and flowers, leaves. The other had what look like a white fruits with leaves. The artist had the same style as your plates.

      • yumi
        Jan 18, 2013 @ 22:57:02

        Hi, J

        Thanks for the comment. Wow, I’m very curious about your hubby’s china!

  8. faye awada
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 07:30:06

    i have over 20 sets of cup and saucers that are made in occupied japan, each cup is more beautiful then the other , would like to sell them


  9. Jan
    Jun 20, 2017 @ 19:33:43

    Thank you for posting the information about the Ohata China. Going through my mother’s items I found a Tea set that matches your cup and saucer. It was real interesting to read about the history of this china.


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