Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indonesia Japan Relationship FDCs

Indonesia FDCs
Name: The 50th Anniversary of Indonesia – Japan Diplomatic Relationship (Indonesia - Japan Joint Issue)
Date of Issue: 15 April 2008

This year the diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan commemorates its 50th anniversary. The diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan started in 1958, marked by the designation of peace agreement between The Republic of Indonesia and Japan. During the 50 years both countries have been expanding their cooperation and friendship not only in economic, but also in culture, education and in other fields.

To commemorate this important event, a series of activities is held throughout the year which is declared as "Golden Year of Friendship 2008." In order to extend the relationship and promote mutual understanding between the two countries to the next generation, cooperation between countries has been planned in the fields of education, economic, cultural, sports and human resources exchange. One of the main events in the year-long agenda is the issuance of a joint stamp series between the two countries.

Unlike other joint stamp series that have been issued in Indonesia which only presented one stamp design from each participating country, this joint issue depicts five designs of each country, totaling 10 stamps altogether. The five stamps are designed according to agreed themes namely: scenery/mountain, pagoda/temple, flower, traditional musical instrument, and fish.

1/10 Rp2500:
Kelimutu Mountain/Lake
In the local language (Flores Island), "keli" means mountain and "mutu" means boiling, shortly it can be said that "Kelimutu" means the volcano crater. It is a small yet well-known volcano. What makes it different from other volcanoes is that this 1,690m volcano has three summit crater lakes of varying colors namely Wine Red, Green, and Dark Blue. The other two lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is green and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) is red, bother are divided by a crater wall. The lake colors vary from time to time due to the active upwelling of subaqueous fumaroles at the two eastern lakes. After an earthquake in 1992 the level of the lakes dropped and changed color overnight to their current configuration of green, chocolate and black. This special characteristic of the lake water gives it nickname "The Three Colored Lake."

2/10 Rp2500: Fuji Mountain
At 3,776m, Fuji Mountain is the highest mountain in Japan and also an active volcano whose last recorded eruption was in 1707-1708. The mountain straddles the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures just west of Tokyo. Its symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is a frequent subject of Japanese art. The summit has been thought of as sacred since ancient times. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and common destination for mountain-climbing. On the stamp, it is depicted with Sakura (Cherry blossoms), another symbol of Japan, on the foreground, makes it picture-perfect. Due to its height, the climate on the summit is very cold and for a couple of months of the year, the cone is covered by snow. On a clear day, the mountain can be seen from Tokyo, Yokohama, and sometimes even as far as Chiba.

3/10 Rp2500: Borobudur Temple
Borobudur, located in central Java, is the largest and the most glorious Buddhist monument in the world. No wonder if this temple is acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 42m high structure (forming a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha) was built on a bedrock hill in the form of three tiers: six square platforms, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the center top, a monumental stupa surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. The monument is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The length of each lowest part is 113 meters. It is of uncertain age, but thought to have been built between the 8th and 9th century during the ruling of Syailendra Dynasty. Following the decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java in the 14th century, the temple was abandoned and buried for centuries and was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Raffles, the British ruler of Java. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations.

4/10 Rp2500: Pagoda of Toji
Pagoda of Toji (Eastern Temple) is located in North Western Kyoto, often called as the Five-Story Pagoda of Toji, which refers to its architecture. The temple is most eye-catching, most important and best-known building in Kyoto. Toji (Kyo-o-Gokoku-Ji or Nation Protector) was built in 796, two years after Kammu emperor removed the empire capital city from Nara to Kyoto. Since 1994 UNESCO designated Toji a World Heritage Site. The five-story pagoda, with 57m high is the highest wooden tower in Japan. Fires and wars during the 16th century destroyed most of the temple buildings. It was reconstructed in 1634 and 1695 after burned down five times.

5/10 Rp2500: Corpse Flower (Rafflesia arnoldii)
This plant was first discovered on 20 May 1818 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who was also a naturalist and Dr. Joseph Arnold at the bank of Manna River, Lubuktapi Bengkulu. This parasitic plant was named after its two discoverers. It naturally grows in the rain forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan. This plant has no visible roots, stems or leaves. It blooms as a single fleshy flower which is the only part of the plant that appears above the ground. This magnificently colorful flower is both strange and baffling. The gigantic flower is the amazing thing about this plant. The flower is approximately one meter, weighs up to 7kg with the thickness of 2.5cm. it takes about six to eight months for the flower to fully bloom. It is the largest flower in the world according to the Guiness Book of Records. The flower appearance is very adorable, but the smell is putrid. That is the way to attract a large group of carrion flies that pollinate the plant. The putrid smell also makes it commonly referred to as the "corpse flower". (Note: The common name "corpse flower" also refers to the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanium) from Araceae family.

6/10 Rp2500: Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
Despite being a symbol of Japan, Cherry Blossoms or Sakura (Prunus serrulata) with its wide variety (Yoshino Cherry being the most well-known) actually grows in a wider area. It is indigenous to the Himalayas, including northern India, and several Eastern Asia regions such as China and Korea. The blossoming time of Sakura has become a special moment for Japanese. They pay close attention to the forecasts and turn out in large numbers at parks, shrines, and temples with friends and family to hold flower-viewing parties (this activity is called Hanami). It is the time when the imperial households, poets, singers, other aristocrats and people from every walk of life would gather and celebrate under the blossoms. The custom of hanami dates back many centuries before in China, where the object was plum tree; by the middle of the ninth century, Sakura had replaced the plum as the favored species in Japan. The blossoming time is not same in all places. In southern region like Okinawa it begins in January and reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March. It proceeds northward and arrives in Hokkaido a few weeks later.

7/10 Rp2500: Angklung
Angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia, but originated from Indonesia (used and played by the Sundanese in West Java since the ancient times). This traditional musical instrument is made out of bamboo tubes attached loosely to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved and formed into different sizes so that they have different resonant pitch when struck. The bamboo tubes are formed upright towards its base, the upper parts are tied up on a rattan or small bamboo stick. To play this instrument, the player holds the base tightly with the left hand and shakes it rapidly with the right hand. This causes a rapidly repeating note to sound. Every frame of Angklung usually consists of 3 or 4 bamboo tubes, each of them produces different musical note. When it is shaken, Angklung will produce fast repeatedly sound. In an ensemble a player only plays one note, and since there are many players, together they will produce complete melodies.

8/10 Rp2500: GakuBiwa
GakuBiwa is a four-string musical instrument used in traditional musical repertory, Gagaku. It is said that this instrument originated from Persia, crossed the Asian continent, through China and entered Japan with the introduction of Gagaku. In the Middle Ages Biwa was played solo by the Buddhist priests to tell stories and give advices. But this solo repertory has vanished, leaving only legends behind. The upper part of the body is made from rosewood, mulberry or zelkova and the surface is made of chestnut wood. The pegs for the strings are low and small, which distinguishes the gaku biwa from more modern types of biwa like the Satsuma and the Chikuaen biwa. The plectrum is made of boxwood and is thin and around 20cm long. The four strings of Gaku-Biwa are made of silk.

9/10 Rp2500: Red Arowana (Selerophages formosus)
The name "Arwana" is derived from "Nirwana" (literally means heaven), becomes Arowana in English, and also known as aruanas or arawanas. Other nicknames are bonytongue fish, dragon fish, especially due to its large scales and barbells. For many people, Arowana is the most beautiful freshwater fish. For the Chinese and those of related cultures, the dragon is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The fish lives in swamps and in slow-current streams. Young individuals feed on insects at the water surface, adults prey on other fishes; it is said that they can jump to prey low flying bats and small birds. Arowanas are also used for feng shui to bring good luck and wealth. The fish population gives both good or bad effects towards its status as the species that is almost extinct. Arowana has pretty big size (it can grow around 75cm), hardy and has long life period (for about 20 years). There are many Arowana species classified based on the colors of the scales, namely Green, Silver, Red tail, Yellow tail, and Golden back. Its habitat is wide; the Red Arowana depicted on the stamp, however, is known only from the upper part of the Kapuas River in western Kalimantan, Indonesia.

10/10 Rp2500: Colored Carp Fish (Cyprinus carpio)
This colorful and beautiful member of the carp family is called Koi or nishikigoi in Japanese (simply means "crap") and can easily be found in the pond at Japanese gardens. The beauty of the fish is appraised by their most important feature, the markings and patterns. In Japan, koi breeding has occupied a position between hobby and art form for more than two centuries. The ornamental cultivation of Koi started in 17th century in the Niigata prefecture. In the beginning of 19th century they became more popular and several color patterns had been formed, most notably red-and-white. The outside world became aware of its development in 1914, when Niigata Koi were exhibited in Tokyo and some were presented to then Crown Prince Hirohito. Since then, the interest in Koi spread throughout Jpan and then worldwide. Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Generally Koi have one to three different colors. Some of the major colors that often emerge are White, Yellow, Orange, Red, Black, and Blue. Spots patterns are various; however, the most sought-after patterns are round on forehead and stepping stone on its low back.

Comment: This is a Japan and Indonesia joint issue set. Indonesia Post issued it on 15th April, but Japan will issue it in June. It's really interesting.

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