U.S. # 4982-85
2015 49¢ Gifts of Friendship
The first “great war” of the 20th century was fought between Russia and Japan in 1904 and 1905. What could have become the first world war was calmed by the diplomacy of the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt invited the countries to conduct negotiations in New Hampshire, resulting in peace with the Treaty of Portsmouth.
Japan sought a way to thank the U.S. for its role in the negotiations. Learning of America’s desire for cherry trees, in 1909 the mayor of Tokyo offered to send the trees as a symbol of friendship between the nations. Some believe the gift also was made to help ease immigration tensions between the U.S. and Japan. When the trees arrived late in 1910 and were infested with pests and disease, the President himself had to authorize their burning to avoid a diplomatic crisis.
Two years later, the Tokyo mayor sent 3,020 more cherry trees that were successfully planted to replace the original gift. The U.S. reciprocated in 1915, when Howard Taft sent 50 flowering dogwood trees to Japan. The tree-giving tradition continues into the 21st century. Each spring, Japanese cherry trees still bloom in the U.S., as do American dogwoods in Japan. The trees remain living symbols of the enduring friendship between the two countries – their blossoms an inspiration for international peace throughout the world.
These stamps were part of a joint issue to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s gift of dogwood trees to the Japan in 1915. The sheet features four different stamp designs, two of which were designed by an American artist and two that were designed by a Japanese artist. Paul Rogers designed the stamps picturing the Lincoln Memorial with cherry trees an the U.S. Capitol Building with pink dogwood trees. Japanese artist Junko Kaifuchi designed the other two stamps picturing Tokyo’s National Diet Building with cherry blossoms and a clock tower with white dogwood flowers.
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: April 10, 2015
First Day City: Washington, D.C. – during the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Method: Offset with microprinting in sheets of 72 with 6 panes of 12 per sheet
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 80,000,004 stamps
Three years before these stamps were issued, the U.S.P.S. issued a set of two stamps (U.S. 4651-4652) commemorating Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the U.S. in 1912. Those stamps were voted the most popular of 2012.