Japanese Ex-liblis Stamps
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Variations in Ex-libris Ownership Stamps
 
  Japanese ex-libris ownership stamps show an abundance of variations in substance, shape and color when compared with those of China and Korea. Here we would like to introduce a few of the more unusual ones.
 
Large Stamps and Small Stamps
  The largest ex-libris ownership stamps are the "Nisshinkan toshoki" of the Ominokuni Nishoji (later renamed "Nishioji") Clan School's "Nisshinkan" and the "Kaikoku zoshoki" of Yoshimaro Fukui, which are both more than 15 cm long and 9 cm wide. In contrast, the smallest one was an oval stamp used by Shunjo Nakamura "Nakamura" which was 6 mm long and 4 mm wide. The longest text on a stamp was on the one belonging to Yoshimaro Fukui mentioned above which had 238 characters.
Large Stamps and Small Stamps
   
Old Stamps
  The ex-libris ownership stamp coming from the most distant past are the "shogu naiin" from the time of the Shomu Emperor (701 to 756), and the "Sekizen toka" and "Naika shiin" from the time of Empress Komyo (701 to 760).
Old Stamps
   
Unusual Ex-libris Ownership Stamps
  Some stamps used Jindai characters (the ancient characters that are said to have been used in Japan before Chinese characters were introduced) that are considered very unusual, such as the text on the stamp of Kamo no Mabuchi and the "" (sakakino yano shirushi) of Tokoyo Nagatane which is unclear in meaning. There is also Imao Kiyoka's stamp that uses the old Japanese syllabary (manyogana) to give us "" (nadeshikozono ni osamuru fumira no shirushi) and Yamakawa Masanobu's "Masanobu" among others.
Unusual Ex-libris Ownership Stamps
   
Stamps with Animal and Plant Motifs
  There are also ex-libris ownership stamps that do not use Japanese characters. For instance, Awashima Kangetsu's and Koizumi Yakumo's figure of a crow, Kato Eibian's figure of a turtle, Tachibana Moribe's figure of a Foo dog, Hanawa Hokiichi's and Kimura Senshu's figure of a mandarin orange tree, Niijima Yaeko's figure of a chrysanthemum, and Urushiyama Tendo's figure of a bird and a fish.
Stamps with Animal and Plant Motifs
   

Imperial and Foreign Stamps
  The stamp "shogu naiin" of the Emperor Shomu mentioned above, and Emperor Komei's "Konohana" , Empress Gosakuramachi's "Meiwa" are some of these stamps. Ex-libris ownership stamps used by foreigners, such as Ernest Satow "Eikoku satsudo zosho" , Basil Hall Chamberlain "Eiodo zosho" and Frank Hawley "Hawley bunko" are some of the more well known examples. The stamp held by Oouchi Yoshitaka, a feudal lord during the period of Japan's civil wars, "Nihon kokuo no in" is a good example of the background during this period.

Imperial and Foreign Stamps
   
Color Stamps
  While the color of ex-libris ownership stamps most often used was vermilion, we can occasionally see black. Other than these two colors we have Matsudaira Tadafusa's "Shosha minamoto no tadafusa" and Wakizaka Yasumoto's "Toko" which are indigo. Green is used for Motoori Oohira's "Fuji no kakitsu in" and Konakamura Kiyonori's "Azumaizo". And Saeki Yukoku's "Toyama saeki yukoku zosho" and Morita Shien's "Morita" used brown. Honma Mitsuoka's "Honmashi tosho" gives us a unique example of an ex-libris ownership stamp using two colors.
Color Stamps
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