Noritake imports to the U.S. market ceased with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the course of the war Noritake did sustain some bomb damage and workers as well as materials were in limited supply but the factory did not close. It produced mostly dinnerware for domestic use in Japan.
For the period from the end of World War II in 1945 through 1952 The U.S. and its allies occupied Japan. Noritake wares from circa 1948 – 1952 may bear a number of marks including “Made in Occupied Japan” and “Occupied Japan.” It was not illegal for Japanese artist to label their work just “Japan” or “Made in Japan” during this period so not all items made were marked “Occupied”.
From my collection:
Figurines, “Made in Occupied Japan”
In the 1946 – 1947 recovery period for post-war Japan, Noritake production for American servicemen became an important part of their economic recovery. Noritake marked their items immediately after the war as “Rose China” However, it is believed by collectors that this period’s wares were not of the quality as pre-war years. Noritake sales to the U.S. Military PXs continued for many years as a significant market as GIs would buy Noritake wares to send home to loved ones. But also, it is important to keep in mind that the U.S. consumer was reluctant to purchase Japanese wares immediately after the war. Those sentiments eventually wore off and by 1948 Noritake china again became available in the U.S. markets.
Sango China – Made in Occupied Japan. Service of 12 (78 peices total).
This has been in my family for many years. We use it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course I always wash the dishes as all peices are in perfect condition!
For today’s collector, the questions that surround markings of Noritake and the Morimura brothers operations can be extensive. The loss of company records during the war makes some questions forever unanswerable. There are some records in “old Japanese” that are yet untranslated. The questions of the color of backstamps, the many different types of backstamps, the dates that peices were made, and the factory location they were made in is questionable by many experienced collectors. Various collectors have various timelines, so if you collect this porcelain it is important to research and decide for yourself. Some people call all china made in Japan “Nippon” and I hope I have clearly defined that is just not the case.
Note: The use of a new backstamp, the letter “N” in a wreath was adopted in 1953 by Noritake repacing the long used “M” in a wreath making Noritake wares immediateloy collectible worldwide. From 1945 to 1952, occupation of Japan by the Allied Occupation Forces had been in place and many backstamps for this period say “Made in Occupied Japan”, also collectible because of the limited supply.
In my next post I will discuss Dragonware until then Happy Collecting and remember the best is yet to come.