Japanese Occupation of Borneo and the Great East

Borneo and the Great East were under control of the Japanese Navy. The Navy headquarters was located at Makasser on Celebes, and the Navy occupied area was divided into three Navy Civil Administrations known as Kaigun Minseibus. These were the Borneo KMbu, Celebes KMbu, and the Ceram KMbu, where the latter administered the Lesser Sunda Islands, Moluccas, and (initially) also New Guinea. Each was responsible for their own postal administration and issued their own stamps.

Because the region consists of tens of thousands of islands, it took much longer to re-open the postal system than on Java and Sumatra. This also varied greatly as we see that post offices in South East Borneo re-opened in June 1942, while others, such as those on Flores, did not re-open until February 1943.

Most Navy occupation stamps consist of an anchor overprint on pre-war Indies stamps. This resulted in many types of Borneo, Celebes, and other anchors. A few are shown above. There were also a few other local issues such as the Lombok Sun and the Flores Gunsei Kitte.

While Japanese stamps were valid in the Navy occupied area, we see them less often than on Sumatra. There was only one definitive issue in the Navy area, a series printed in Tokyo in 1943 and distributed from Makasser. In addition, there were also special stamps issued in 1944 for sending Telegraphic Money Orders (TMOs).

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