Learning to identify print methods in Japanese postcards

Home » Topics » Learning to identify print methods in Japanese postcards

Learning to identify print methods in Japanese postcards


Hello. First, please allow me to apologize if this type of question is not appropriate for this forum. I know the focus here is not postcards. That said, I’m fairly new to postcard collecting and I’ve fallen in love with pre-war Japanese cards. Specifically, I enjoy woodblock print and other “art” cards. However, I find that I’m having trouble learning to identify the different print methods by look alone. As an example, I’m attaching a postcard that, at least to me, appears to use three different methods. But, because I’m inexperienced in these things, I’m not certain if that’s true or if I’m identifying the methods correctly.

Any help (especially anything with examples of what to look for when trying to identify the method that was used to print a postcard) is greatly appreciated.


  • mike

    What you've labelled woodblock is screen printing. It's quite rare to see actual woodblock mixed with other printing methods. I only know and own two postcard examples with mixed printing methods, 1941 and 1945, both made by the Watanabe print company.


    Buyer beware with postcards and first date covers. These are frequently faked in Japan - fake postcard or envelope with real stamp and fake postmark.

    • archivist

      Screen printing makes perfect sense and I don't know why it didn't occur to me. Thank you for the help!

      Also, that's interesting about the fakes. Is that because of the stamp collecting market? I've read that there is a large community of stamp collectors in Japan but not as many postcard collectors. I personally don't have any interest in stamps or first date covers and many of the postcards I've purchased are unused, but I will still keep your advice in mind. If you have any images of examples, I'd love to see them. Thanks again!

  • mike

    I'm not sure why there are so many fakes. The real versions of many faked postcards are only worth a dollars.

    All the FDCs in my pic are fake, either offset printed or inkjet. The real one is woodblock printed.

Go to Top