Thursday, June 05, 2008

First day cover from Japan

I have already shown a lot of nice covers coming from Japan, here in my blog, but I really can not resist to the pleasure of showing you this one I received recently.

This is a first day cover of a set of two stamps issued on the 23rd of May 2008 celebrating the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize. I guess you wonder who Hideyo Noguchi is, and what is this prize about ?
Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928), also known as Seisaku Noguchi, was a bacteriologist who discovered the agent of syphilis. During his youth he had an accident that would have a string influence on his adult life : he fell into a fireplace, burning severely his left hand. Later, thanks to the generous contribution of some teachers and friends, he could receive surgery, improving highly the mobility and the functionality of his left hand. When getting older, he decided to become a doctor to help those in need. He became the apprentice of the doctor who saved his hand. He also decided to change his original name (Seisaku) into Hideyo, after reading a fictional novel about a doctor named Siesaku who ruined his life by his laziness. A bit of superstition, may be ?
His medical career was focused on research on bacteriology. He spent a consequent part of his life in South America and then in Africa where he made some researches for a vaccine for yellow fever. He died in Africa in 1928, killed by the yellow fever virus he wanted to eradicate.

In 2006, the Japanese government established the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize. The objective of this prize is to honour individuals with outstanding achievements in fighting against various infectious diseases in Africa or in establishing innovative medical service systems. The prize is expected to be awarded every five years, the first time being in 2008 : this is the subject of this set of stamps.

As you can see on the cover, both stamps have been issued se-tenant. In fact they have been issued in the form of a mini sheet of ten stamps with illustrated margin. One stamp pictures the portrait of Hideyo Noguchi. To be noted that his portrait is printed on Japanese 1000 yen banknotes since 2004. The other stamp pictures a map of Africa and a microscope. The map of Africa is also present on the red first day cancel and on the margin of the sheet. The autograph of Dr. Noguchi is also represented on the stamp, the cancel and the margins.

Nice cover, isn’t it ?

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