Japanese post issued New Year 2014 postage stamps to be used on New Year postal cards. In Japan it is an ancient tradition to exchange postage card to congratulate relatives and friend on different occasions. The exchange of New Year cards by mail is an annual custom for Japanese people as well. The first New Year postage stamps were issued in Japan in 1935 to celebrate the coming New Year 1936. There was a pause then, but since the year 1948 until now the New Year postage stamps have been issued annually.
As horse is a zodiac next year, this animal became subject for the New Year 2014 postage stamps. They depict a Zhongshan doll and a Ryukyu papier-mache cock horse.
Zhongshan dolls are made in Yokote city, Akita Prefecture. Elegant colorful kabuki dolls and festival dolls are created in this style.
The Ryukyu papier-mache "cock horse" is produced in Okinawa Prefecture. The stamp depicts a king of Ryukyu Dynasty wearing the best clothes sitting astride a horse. The horse stands on the top of a wooden box decorated with flowers. A string of wire is planted inside the box, and when you draw the figure, the box clicks, which gave name to the toy - "cock horse".
The stamps were issued in two variants-as ordinary postage stamps and as donation stamps including three additional donation yen in their cost.