Friday, August 26, 2016

South Korea 2016 - Post Culture Week - Mailboxes

ISSUE DATE: 19 July 2016
STAMP SIZE:50 x 30 mm

The mailbox has long been a channel and window of communication that enables people to share happy, sad, or joyous messages. Most people picture the recipient of a letter in their minds whenever they drop the letter with a heartfelt message in the mailbox.

Mailboxes can be found on any street and any country in the world. They may vary in color and shape, but they share two common characteristics: They are generally located at a point of heavy pedestrian traffic and are readily noticeable even from a distance. Since the mailbox is a public installation many people share, the unique culture and sentiments of the local area are often reflected in its design. For this reason, the mailbox is a cultural symbol that represents each country or city.

Upon hearing the word “mailbox,” the Koreans first think of bright red. In fact, red is the most commonly used color for mailboxes. It represents passion and happiness. Many other countries including Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the U.K. have red mailboxes, too. There are other colors as well. Yellow mailboxes, which exude a bright and warm feeling, are found in Switzerland, Brazil, and France, while blue, which symbolizes trust and faith, is used for mailboxes in the U.S. China uses green, a color often associated with stability and peace. The shape and color of the mailbox may vary across regions or depending on its purpose, even within the same country. Nevertheless, the mailbox always represents anticipation and happiness, and it is always a channel through which people open their hearts to others.

As the Internet and smartphones have rapidly proliferated in recent years, fewer and fewer people are writing letters, and mailboxes are disappearing one by one. However, this has created an opportunity for fun ideas and novel symbolic features for mailboxes. Good examples include the Slow Postbox, which delivers mail one year later, and the Giant Postbox, which was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world. We hope such positive developments will continue to help the mailbox establish itself as a new cultural icon.

Stamp images thanks to Korea Post

South Korea Post