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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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postcard / photographic print

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Seventeen picture postcards with scenes of life in the prewar Imperial Japanese navy:
    1. ‘Tags for relief from duties’ 休業札(Kyūgyō-fuda)
    2. ‘Laundry’ 洗濯 (Sentaku)
    3. ‘Sword practice’ 撃剣 (Gekiken)
    4. ‘Division inspection’ 分隊点検 (Buntai tenken)
    5. ‘Physical examination’ 身体検査 (Shintai kensa)
    6. ‘Landing forces’ 陸戦隊 (Rikusentai)
    7. ‘Rat-catching’ 鼠取り (Nezumi-tori)
    8. ‘Wrestling’ 角力 (Sumō)
    9. ‘Servicing the cannon’ 大砲手入 (Taihō te-ire)
    10. ‘Bathing in sail-cloth’ 帆布入浴 (Hofu nyūyoku)
    11. ‘Loading coal onboard’ 石炭搭載 (Sekitan tōsai)
    12. Talent show’ 演芸会 (Engeikai)
    13. ‘Patrol on the first night’ 初夜巡検 (Shoya junken)
    14. ‘Signalling’ 信号 (Shingō)
    15. ‘Diving operations’ 潜水作業 (Sensui sagyō)
    16. ‘Getting up’ 起床 (Kishō)
    17. ‘Fine box’ 罰金箱 (Bakkin-bako)


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1930s
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 9.2 centimetres (each approx.)
    • Width: 14.1 centimetres (each approx.)
  • Curator's comments

    This is an unusually large group of postcards of navy life, in good condition. They show life from the perspective of ordinary sailors, in a more light-hearted vein than other forms of official propaganda. Notwithstanding, each of the cards has ‘Military Post’ (Gunji yūbin 軍事郵便) on the verso. (T. Clark, 11/2011)


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    26 September 2012

    Reason for treatment


    Treatment proposal

    Provide with custom-made archival box for storage


    In good condition but requires protection from physical damage, dust, atmospheric pollutants and light during storage.

    Treatment details

    The postcards were housed in a custom-made box. This consisted of an inner envelope of Manilla 225 gsm paper and an outer box constructed using Boxboard and Filmoplast T 6472. The envelope and box were adhered to each other with double-sided tape and cotton ties were attached using Culminal (non ionic cellulose ether).

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Credit Line: Purchase funded by JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund

  • Department


  • Registration number


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Object reference number: JCF22872

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