Updating Japan’s Postal System

One of the Meiji government’s first tasks was to update Japan’s antiquated postal system. Hisoka Maejima, appointed the Superintendent of Postal Services, hired an American expert, Samuel Bryson, to assist in the development of a national service. In 1872, the old, privately organized courier system was discarded and a new, national service, based largely on the British model, was adopted. The success of the new service was greatly assisted by the parallel development of an extensive railway system that provided access to the outer provinces. Postage stamps were introduced and postal rates became uniform throughout the country. Progress in Japan’s postal system also led to a rationalization of weights and measures, making Japanese products measurable to other countries. By 1877, the postal service was sufficiently advanced that it was able to join the Universal Postal Union, therefore linking Japan with the world.
Vancouver Museum, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,

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