Marai (or Malai as it was written in many documents) is the name for Malaya during the period of Japanese Occupation. Japanese stamps were authorised for use in Marai in stages. The first stamps to be used are 3 cents, 5 cents, 8 cents and 25 cents on 08 December 1942 (commemorating the First Anniversary of the Greater East Asia War). Note: The issue’s special cancellation was available from 08 – 14 December 1942. There was also a case of 05 December 1942 usage of the 4 stamps without the special cancellation. This was in Pitt Street, Penang. It is not surprising since it was a turbulent time and there are bound to be early releases of the stamps. Here are some first day covers from that period. For commemorative covers, please refer to the Commemorative and Souvenir Covers section.
16 February 1942: Fall of Singapore
This cover was issued in Japan and cancelled in Tokyo on the day after the fall of Singapore (15 February 1942). 1942 is Showa 17, thus the postmark Showa 17, February 16.
01 – 02 November 1942: Selangor Agri-Horticultural Exhibition
This cover was cancelled with the Selangor Exhibition cachet. The event was held in Kuala Lumpur from 01 – 02 November 1942.
11 – 15 February 1943: First Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore
I classified these covers as first day covers as these covers are the first official use of the additional (other than 3, 5, 8 and 25 cents) Japan stamps in Marai / Malai. This cover was dated 11 February 1943 – earlier than the actual date of the first anniversary of the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1943. This cover was cancelled in Penang. The actual date of issue should be 15 February 1943.
This cover was cancelled on 15 February 1943 in Penang.
This cover was cancelled in Syonan (Singapore) on 15 February 1943 to commemorate the Fall of Singapore and the First Anniversary of the Rebirth of Marai / Malai.
29 April 1943: Definitive
This cover was cancelled in Penang on the first day of issue of the Marai/ Malai definitive stamps. The date coincides with Emperor Hirohito’s birthday (Tenchosetcu).
This cover was cancelled in Malacca.
01 September 1943: Commemorating the 1,000,000 dollars in the Marai / Malai Postal Savings Fund
This cover was cancelled on the first day of issue with the commemorative postmark in Syonan (Singapore).
This cover was cancelled in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
This cover was cancelled in Penang.
01 October 1943: Definitive
These covers were cancelled in Penang. A note was found on the back of the cover that stated the date corresponds to the First Anniversary of the Malai (Malaya) Gunseikanbu (Central Military Administration) Yusei Kyoku (Postal Service) in Syonan (Singapore).
02 February 1944: 2nd Anniversary of the Rebirth of Marai / Malai
This cover was cancelled in Penang. It is also the anniversary of the fall of Singapore.