Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gifts of Friendship

Sheet of U.S. "Gifts of Friendship" stamps.
One hundred years ago this year, then-former U.S. President William Howard Taft arranged for the United States to send 50 flowering dogwood trees to Japan. The trees were sent in response to 3,000 cherry trees that had been sent to Washington by Tokyo as a gift in 1912, when Taft was president.

Through the years, the two countries have continued to exchange trees as a sign of our ongoing friendships.

This year, the exchange of flowering trees between the two nations is being honored with a joint postage stamp release by the U.S. Postal Service and Japan Post.

Sheet of Japanese "Gifts of Friendship" stamps.
Four stamps were designed, two by the U.S. and two by Japan, and all four designs have been released in both countries. The U.S.-designed stamps depict the Lincoln Memorial with vibrant cherry trees in the foreground and the U.S. Capitol building surrounded by white and pink dogwood trees. The Japanese-designed stamps feature two prominent buildings in Tokyo: the National Diet Building framed by cherry blossoms, and the clock tower outside the Diet Building rising behind a foreground of white dogwood flowers, according to the USPS.

Each of the postal services has released a special sheet featuring the designs.

In the U.S., the "Gifts of Friendship" stamp comes with a variety of philatelic products, including press sheets with or without die cuts, first day covers, digital postmark sets, notecards, framed art and more. For more information about the stamps or to order any of the Gifts of Friendship products, visit the USPS website at

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