Friday, December 3, 2010

Vintage Teacup and Saucer Made in Occupied Japan

Do you know that feeling when you pick up an unknown item and your heart skips a beat because you realize it's something special? I was at a new-to-me thrift store that supports single mums called Aunt Leah's. During my explorations, I came upon a cabinet full of vintage tea cups and saucers.

Most of the pieces had beautiful patterns but didn't stand out to me. There was a plain, green coloured set that I picked up to have a closer look at. As soon as I felt the lightweight, thin walls of the tea cup and saucer, I knew I had to have it! The colour almost seemed translucent in the light.

Better yet, I noticed the stamp on the bottom of the teacup read "Kaolin China Made in Occupied Japan". I understand that these pieces were manufacturered between 1944-1952 and are very collectable. Post WWII, consumers shunned Japanese products and often refused to purchase items thought to contribute to the enemy's coffers. The note assured customers that foreign entities now occupied Japan, essentially giving buyers a feel-good reason to purchase these high quality goods.

I love the little history lesson that I got from this $1 teacup and saucer set. I also really appreciate the fact that someone took care of this little set for around 60 years and it's still in such great condition. There is a bit of nostalgia that I feel when recognizing that many of our consumer products today aren't exactly built to last or be cherished for decades. I'm glad to say I get a kick out of the simple pleasure of finding someone's little treasure.


  1. what a beautiful color! and i just love all the history i learn from buying vintage. great find!

  2. This is a really great piece! Love the little tidbit of history!

  3. I don't even know if I was able to capture the true green colour but it's heavenly!

  4. Very nice! I also saw a small piece some years ago that on the bottom said "Made in Occupied Japan." Interesting that you looked up the history of why it was labeled as such - a marketing gimmick - and cool that these pieces are collectable!


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