TINY cooking Toby figurine, with her mixing bowl and apron, was made in Occupied Japan 1947-52. She is wearing a pale blue-wash dress in a rust and green dotted pattern, with yellow apron and orange bowl. Traditional black tricorn hat and feet. Her moulding is remarkably fine for her type, with all ten fingers defined, a sharp white collar, realistic fabric creases in her garments and even a neat apron bow, tied at the back. Her face is similarly expressive with delicate hand painted features. With her auburn hair and back-handle to match she's a little treasure.
Toby is made of the white clay of the MIOJ period and wears a soft matte glaze. Base is unglazed and stamped in red 'MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN'. This was part of a MIOJ collection and the remnants of adhesive are on the base, presumably to keep Toby vertical in the display cabinet. It worked as she is in very good condition, no issues or repairs, minimal paint loss, some nibbles around the hat rim and colour spatters from time of production. Measures 2"H x 1". (Picture #7 shows Toby beside 1.75" silver shot cup NFS. Picture #8 shows other MIOJ items listed separately.) She has survived 70 years in remarkably good shape, a compliment to the skill of Japanese workers who produced these pieces by the thousand as exports for their devastated post-war economy. Illustrated in Florence p. 184, second row, 6th from left.
IDENTIFICATION: A plethora of marked and unmarked 20C Japanese ceramics creates confusion for collectors. As the Made in Occupied Japan (MIOJ) period is defined and short, 1947-52, it offers an appealing niche. The full MIOJ back stamp is preferred and usually takes precedence over quality of item. The mark was embossed, impressed, acid etched, printed over or under the glaze, or stamped, depending on the material of the object. As with all ceramics, the true distinguishing features are body, style, decoration, weight and fully identified comparative pieces. Enamelling is especially helpful. Pre-WW2 Japanese ceramic painters had fewer colours but used most of them. Post-war manufacturers used fewer colours to save money and eventually the practice of hand painting was phased out for all but premium pieces. On older ceramics true red was rarely used and orange was very common, as was a deep, solid lustre. Post war ceramics reflected fashion with more pastels, bold primary colours and mottled lusters on a light body. (White p.14)
MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN (MIOJ): Ceramics from Occupied Japan are assumed to have started arriving in USA around 1947. In 1949 the US Treasury Department (TD) clarified its rules on markings:
"Made in Occupied Japan", "Made in Japan", "Japan", or "Occupied Japan" are acceptable markings to indicate the name of the country of origin under the marking provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, of articles manufactured or produced in Japan. TD 52162(2) Abstracts of unpublished decisions. Bureau letter to collector of customs, Los Angeles, California, February 18, 1949. (363.22) (White p.211)
IMPORT LAWS: Marks on ceramics imported into the USA were dictated by the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 (implemented March 1 1891) through various Trademark and Tariff Acts and US Treasury Department decisions. However, these laws were not enforced consistently. The US Customs Bureau tried to examine at least 10% of imported goods. Overseas manufacturers saved money (especially on cheap novelties) by marking only the top layer of a box of goods and taking their chances. In mixed sets, often the larger items would be marked and the rest unmarked. Only one piece in a pair might be marked. Paper labels fell off. Or the mark was stamped only on the box and not on its contents. To correct these problems, some US stores, such as the Kresge chain, checked every Japan import and added their own rubber stamp to unmarked pieces. (Klamkin p.18).
OCCUPIED JAPAN (OJ) 1945-1952: World War II ended when Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945. The subsequent Allied occupation of Japan was led by US General Douglas MacArthur with support from the British Commonwealth. This marked the only time in Japan's history that it was occupied by a foreign power. It transformed the country into a parliamentary democracy and ended with the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951 and effective from April 28, 1952.
Carole Bess White, 'Collector's Guide to Made in Japan Ceramics', Collector Books 1994.
Gene Florence, 'Occupied Japan Collectibles', Collector Books 2001.
Marian Klamkin, 'Made in Occupied Japan: A Collector's Guide', Crown Publishers 1976.
Florence Archambault, 'Occupied Japan for Collectors', Schiffer Publishing 1992.
INTERNATIONAL buyers welcome! COLLECTORS, we tailor a layaway plan to fit your budget.
JAPAN MIOJ Cook Toby Jug 2" miniature figurine