In this postcard posted in Canterbury on 21 July 1908 (I assume) it is marked that:

This space may be used for communication for Inland Postage and Foreign Countries, except Japan.



  • Can you describe the stamp a bit better? Is it prepreinted or glued on? Jan 16, 2019 at 18:12
  • The restrictions don't seem limited to just Japan, they appear on a number of post cards in different variations.
    – Steve Bird
    Jan 16, 2019 at 18:33
  • 2
    photojpn.org/PPC/gui/intro.html seems to suggest that at that time in Japan the address & message contents of a postcard had to be on separate sides of the card, and hence this card would be improper for Japanese use. Jan 16, 2019 at 19:06
  • 1
    Also the 1910 Post Office Guide mentions that pictoral postcards sent to Japan were liable for customs duty, which might also make the card unsuitable (depending on the type).
    – Steve Bird
    Jan 16, 2019 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


The online glossary from the New Zealand Philatelic Federation has this to say on the subject of postcards with divided backs:

Divided back The earliest postcards carried the recipient’s address and postage stamp on one side and the message was written on the ‘picture’ side. Such cards are known as undivided back postcards. In 1902 Great Britain introduced the divided back, a picture on one side and a divided space on the other side for both the recipient’s address and sender’s message. The transition from undivided to divided back took many years as postal authorities around the world adopted similar standards; 1904 in France, 1905 Germany, 1907 in the USA, and so on. In New Zealand this depended on where the postcard was being sent to. Divided back cards would be sent to Australia from Jan 1905, to Italy and Holland from Dec 1905, to Belgium, Canada, Mexico and Thailand from March 1906, to most countries except USA and Japan from April 1906, and to most countries except Japan from October 1906 and to just about everywhere from Dec 1906. The reason for this is that the receiving country decided if divided back cards would be accepted or not. This helps to date unused postcards. Cards before these dates have undivided backs.

  • (my emphasis)

Presumably, that postcard had been printed between October and December 1906, when that restriction was in place, but not actually posted until July 1908.

  • The emphasis is good, but it's a long answer, so you may just want to summarize and add something saying Japan was the last country to accept divided post cards.
    – Spencer
    Apr 29, 2019 at 11:43
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    @Spencer If you think this is a 'long answer', I hate to think how you'd describe most of my other answers! ;-) Apr 29, 2019 at 11:47

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