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World War II Collection

The World War II Collection includes stamps during the Japanese Occupation, censored covers, and correspondences of prisoners of war (POWs) with their family and loved ones.

During World War II, Singapore was occupied by the Japanese from 15 February 1942 for 3 years and 8 months. Postal services were resumed a month after the surrender, on 16 March 1942.

Pre-war Straits Settlement stamps were overprinted across the portrait of King George VI, so as to deface the portrait of the colonial king, the sovereign head of the British. The first issue was hurriedly overprinted by hand with “Seal of Post Office of Malayan Military Department”.

Subsequent stamps were overprinted by machine with “Dai-Nippon-2602-Malaya” (which means  Greater Japan Postage). 

In 1943, Kanji characters were used to eliminate the use of English language.


To establish an Asian identity under Japanese leadership, preparation for a new stamp issue began in December 1942.

The first public Postage Stamp Design Contest was held, and five of the stamp designs were selected and issued in 1943, as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8-cent stamps. It was also the first time Singapore issued pictorial stamps.


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