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Japanese Satsuma Ware Marks and Information

Japanese Satsuma Ware Pottery

Satsuma ware is perhaps one of the most well known of the Japanese pottery styles often richly decorated with fine detail and liberal use of gold.  The name comes from the region controlled by the Shimazu clan (Satsuma-han - officially Kagoshima and surrounding areas).  The history goes back much further to around 1600 when Satsuma pottery was generally plain and in dark clay, very different from the 19th century pieces made for export to the West.

Satsuma comes in many forms and the term is a catch-all covering highly decorated fine work, through the Awata style with enamel decoration and the later post war moriage decorated forms which are often a world away in terms of quality from the 19th century production.

One of the features of Satsuma ware is the crazing, sometimes darkened, which covers the plain areas of the pottery, this can be very fine and almost invisible to the eye through to obvious and heavy.  One sign of late 20th century reproductions is often the fake looking attempt to reproduce crazing.  To check our stock of satsuma ware click here.

 

Satsuma Marks

Marks are most often hand painted over glaze and may include the artist as well as the Satsuma mark along with other details.  Impressed and incised marks are far less common.  Unmarked pieces, or those simply marked Satsuma are also very common.  See below to navigate the marks, or simply scroll through - note some of the marks can be clicked to show the object the mark came from.

 

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Generic marks

Just as with Western items Satsuma pottery often had words such as 'made' or 'artist' incorporated into the mark and can also be in combination.  Some examples are given below.

Satsuma: 薩摩  -  sometimes in hiragana characters: さつま

Satsuma (abbreviated): 薩广

Satsuma-yaki: 薩摩焼 - Satsuma ware

Shimazu clan mark:   -  sometimes found on the body separately from the base mark.  The Shimazu clan were the daimyo over the Satsuma domain (Kagoshima) and surrounding area.

 

Other character marks may include:

Country (as in area of manufacture) - 國 (kuni)

Created/Made - 造 (zo) (tsuku-ru)

For left - 左用 (Sayō) indicating the vase should be placed on the left

For right - 右用 (Migi-yō) indicating the vase should be placed on the right

Great Japan - 大日本 (Dai Nihon) generally changed to just Nihon in the Taisho period

Japan - 大日 (Nihon)

Kiln - 窯 (kama)

Kyoto - 京都

Made - 製 (Sei)

Made by - 製之 (sei no) used subsequent to artists name

Made in the hall (as in workshop of) - 堂製 (do sei)

Painter/Artist - 画 (ga)

Patent - 特許 (tokkyo)

Patent - 專賣特許 (Senbai tokkyo) the Japanese patent act of 1895

Produced/Made - 作 (tsukuru)

Region / Country - 国 (kuni)

Tokyo - 東京

Ware - 焼 (yaki)

Work of art - 美術品 (bi jutsu shina)

Yokohama (City) - 横浜 (市) - (Yokohama-shi)

 

Examples of Satsuma Ware Items

 satsuma ware vase by hododa

 

Japanese Satsuma ware vase with elaborate gilt work and hardwood stand.  Meiji period, 19th century c1870.  Signed to the base for Hododa under the Shimazu crest.

 

japanese kyoto style satsuma ware vase Japanese Satsuma ware covered vase and stand in the Kyoto style with moriage detail.  Unmarked, late 19th century Meiji period.
satsuma dragon ware teapot Japanese Satsuma ware teapot with profuse detail and dragon form mouldings.  Meiji period, late 19th century.  Signed to the base for Gyokuzan with Great Japan.
 

 

Satsuma Marks

Generic marks

satsuma vase japan ⊕ 日本 - Japan (Nihon) under the Shimazu clan mark.  From a vase with profuse gilt over birds and flowers.  Early Taisho period.  Japanese nationalism reduced after the Meiji period and the 'Great' was commonly dropped from Great Japan as with this mark here.
satsuma ware made in japan Made in Japan - Printed mark in gilt on a pair of late Taisho or Showa period vases with large immortals and mountainous landscapes over a brown matt glaze background.  Note the incorrect format of the 'N', such errors were common in the early 20th century.
 satsuma pottery generic mark Hand scripted in red, somewhat unclear mark, but appears to read (on right):  薩摩 Satsuma, followed by (on left) 薩画 Satsuma (abbreviated) ga (Satsuma painted).  Mark from a late Meiji/Taisho vase painted with wisteria.
satsuma yaki ⊕ 薩广 - Satsuma under the Shimazu clan mark.  Gold characters on a red lozenge ground from a millefiori design vase, early 20th century, late Meiji
satsuma under shimazu crest printed 薩摩 ⊕薩摩 - Satsuma under the Shimzu crest.  The mark appears to be printed rather than hand painted.  Mark from a vase with pheasants and flowers likely late Taisho early Showa period.  Image courtesy of C.A.Y. Lau

A

asayama satsuma pottery Asayama or (Chozan) zo 朝山造 - Also reads 大日本 (dai Nihon) 京都 (Kyoto) 東山 either Higashiyama - a district of Kyoto or Touzan, probably a painter. Naming uncertain, some references translate the name as Chozan, others including Bonhams specify it as Asayama which is the standard modern translation. Mark from a Meiji period bowl with Samurai warriors, above average quality.

B

satsuma ware banzan Banzan -  伴山 Hand scripted gilt mark on black lozenge.  From a squat vase with ladies and children visiting a park.  Meiji period.
Japanese Satsuma pottery by Bizan Bizan 美山 - Hastily drawn in gilt over a red lozenge.  Bizan was a decorating workshop in Kyoto and during the Meiji period produced some fine pieces.  Mark from a pair of landscape vases, Taisho period.  A Bizan vase is housed in the Portland Art Museum.  Click the mark to see the vase pair.

C

satsuma pottery by choshuzan Choshuzan 長州山 - Gilt script and stylised form of the mark in multi lined box.  Mark from a landscape painted vase, Meiji period.
Kyoto Satsuma pottery Chozan Chozan or (Asayama) zo 朝山 - Mark also reads 大日本 (dai Nihon) 京都 (Kyoto) 東山 either Higashiyama - a district of Kyoto or Touzan, probably a painter.  Naming uncertain, some references translate the name as Chozan, others including Bonhams specify it as Asayama which is the standard modern translation.  Mark from a Meiji period bowl with Samurai warriors, above average quality.

D

satsuma ware mark Daimyo Daimyo (Sei) 大名 製 hand scripted mark in red panel from a saucer with immortals & dragons (same set as above).  Further marked ?山画 (painted by - possibly Shozan). Also marked 薩广 國 (Satsuma region) and 大日本 (Great Japan) across the top.  Meiji c1900. Image by kind permission of Kiko.
satsuma ware mark daimyo Daimyo (Sei) 大名 製 hand scripted mark in red panel from a saucer with immortals & dragons (same set as above).  Further marked ?山画 (painted by - possibly Shozan). Also marked 薩广 國 (Satsuma region) and 大日本 (Great Japan) across the top.  Meiji c1900. Image by kind permission of Kiko.

E

 antique satsuma pottery Ekido (Sei) 易堂 製 hand scripted mark in black panel under the Shimazu crest.  Also marked 美術品 (work of art).  Meiji 19th century.

F

antique japanese satsuma pottery Fan - 扇 (Ogi) - Unusual mark just using the noun 'ogi' which describes the shape of the mark.  On a Satsuma dish with floral designs, Taisho period.
japanese satsuma pottery by fukuzan 福山 Fukuzan - 福山 hand scripted in gilt directly to the base.  Mark from a vase with raised 3d figures, Showa period.  Other Fukuzan style marks exist on much finer Satsuma ware, likely a different unrelated maker of the same name.

G

genzan satsuma ware Genzan 源山 hand scripted in gilt over a black lozenge.  Mark from a late Meiji or Taisho cup and saucer painted with gilt lined flowers, click the mark to see the item.
satsuma pottery from blue cherry antiques Gingetsu (zo) 吟月造 - Made by Gingetsu, gilt script on black under a red Shimazu crest.  Also reads Dai Nippon Kuni in the right column and Satsuma Yaki down the center.  No further information available about this maker.  Mark from a bowl with 'The Procession of the Samurai' decoration.  Meiji period.
Satsuma ware by gyokusen Gyokusen 玉仙 hand scripted in gilt over a grey lozenge.  Also reads 薩广 (Satsuma) with the Shimazu clan crest above.  There appears to be perhaps several different artists signing as Gyokusen/Gyokuzan during the Meiji period, some using it as an assumed artitic name.
satsuma pottery from Japan Gyokushu ga 玉秀画 - painted by Gyokushu on a late Meiji or Taisho dish.  Also reads Great Japan on the right and Satsuma Yaki down the center.  All under the Shimazu crest.
satsuma ware mark Gyokuzan Gyokuzan 玉山 hand scripted mark in gold to left side with Great Japan above and Satsuma kuni (region) to the right.  Meiji, 19th century.  Mark from a dragonware teapot.

H

hakusan satsuma pottery mark  

Hakusan 白山 hand scripted in simple outlined lozenge.  A small factory but very consistent high quality. Meiji, late 19th century

Also translates as white mountain and Mount Haku(san), a volcanic mountain.

Hakusan Satsuma Pottery Mark

Hakusan 白山 hand scripted in simple outlined lozenge as above.

Mark from a pair of late Meiji vases with countryside scenes and villagers.

japanese satsuma ware mark hattori

Hattori (zo) 服部 造 hand scripted in gold on black panel under the Shimazu mon.  Also marked Satsuma made 薩广. This factory was known for the very high quality of output and first to use cobalt blue from the West. Meiji, late 19th century c1880.

satsuma ware mark hattori

Hattori (zo) - 服部 造 - hand scripted in gold on red panel under the Shimazu mon.  Also marked Satsuma made 广. This mark to a finely painted vase with Rakan.

hattori yokohama satsuma ware Hattori (Yokohama)服部 横浜 - A Satsuma decorator based in Yokohama, painting blanks from other kilns.  The mark in a butterfly cartouche with the decoration on the vase being innumerate tiny butterflies.
satsuma pottery 19th century Hayakawa - 早川 - Gilt script on a red ground from a late Meiji koro in the Kyoto style.  Shimazu clan crest above.  There are a number of possible translations, but the consensus appears to be around Hayakawa.  
Hododa satsuma pottery mark

 

Hododa 保土田 hand scripted under the Shimazu crest, also marked Satsuma 薩摩.  Meiji, 19th century. Also has a paper label with the number 三六五八 (3658), possibly a batch or reference number.

Due to the very wide variation of items it is considered Hododa were a merchant as well as manufacturer and many Hododa marked items were made by other workshops

Hododa 保土田 hand scripted under the Shimazu crest on red panel.  Meiji, late 19th century. This mark from a tea cup.

satsuma ware mark

Hododa 保土田 hand scripted under the Shimazu crest on black panel.  Partial Satsuma mark to the right.  This mark hastily drawn and at odds with the richly decorated Rakan vase it was taken from. Meiji, c1900.

satsuma ware made in Japan Hododa 保土田 in a red cartouche painted in gilt with the Shimazu crest above.  Note the 'Made in Japan' sticker to comply with the McKinley tariff act of 1890.  Satsuma items do not appear to be commonly marked in this form until well into the 20th century, instead relying on labels or details on the packaging.
Satsuma ware for sale

Hododa Zo保土田造 gold on black panel from a finely painted kogo, Meiji period.  Also reads 薩摩焼 (Satuma ware), 日本 (Nihon - Japan) and 横浜 (old form of Yokohama, where Hododa was based). Image by kind permission of J Brassey

satsuma ware mark

Hozan (zo) 芳山 造 hand scripted under the Shimzau crest on red panel. Abbreviated Satsuma mark to left.  Mark on a finely decorated early Meiji vessel with inscription.  This mark also translates as Yoshiyama and differs from other Hozan marked pieces also producing Satsuma ware.  By kind permission of Thomaspden.

satsuma vase mark by Hozan Hozan 寳山 - hand scripted mark under the Shimzu crest.  Mark from a Taisho/early Showa vase with landscape scenics.  There appear to be a number of artists/kilns signing as Hozan of varying quality, probably unrelated to each other.  A Hozan signature is also found under the Yasuda logo on some wares.

I

satsuma ware by ichizan Ichizan 市山 - Gilt script under the Shimazu crest.  Mark from a vase probably Taisho period.

K

satsuma ware kanzan Kanzan 桓山 - Hand scripted mark on late Meiji period small box with flowers and mountainous scene.  This name is translated as Sozan in some literature, however it appears generally accepted that the name is Kanzan when on Satsuma.  Bonhams, Sotheby's and Christie's catalogue it as Kanzan.
satsuma pottery Kikkozan 吉光山 red lozenge mark from late Meiji vases with moriage dragons.  An apparently un-referenced maker, the name likely in the On reading and could also be Kitsukoukosan etc.  In Kun it could be Yoshimitsuyama.  Also reads 'Great Japan' across the top, 'Satsuma region' on the right.

Kinkozan 錦光山 poorly hand scripted mark on an early 20th century Awata style item.  Workers were paid per item produced so often the marks can be very hastily written and difficult to read.

Kinkozan was one of the most famous and prolific of the Satsuma makers and quality varied widely.  The also employed other decorators who would also sometimes have their own name as part of the mark.

kinkozan signature on kyo-yaki satsuma ware vase

Kinkozan (zo) 錦光山 造 hand scripted mark on a large Kyoto (Kyo-yaki) style vase.  Also marked great Japan 大日本, Meiji late 19th century.

Kinkozan Satsuma

Kinkozan 錦光山 classic stylised mark from the height of Satsuma production during the Meiji period c1880.  From a high quality small vase featuring Bijin.  Image by kind permission of S Cookie.

kinkozan satsuma Kinkozan zo 錦光山 printed mark on a late Taisho or Showa period vase with dancing females over a basic landscape.  Quality at the low end for Kinkozan, typical of production just prior to WW2.

 

konishi satsuma ware

Konishi (zo) 小西 造 poorly hand scripted mark on a large heavily gilded dish with Samurai.  Also marked great Japan 大日本, and (probably) 東都 - old form of Tokyo East Capital.  Meiji late 19th century.

 

Japanese satsuma ware

Koshida 越田 gilt painted mark on a pair of late 19th century vases with village life scenes.  Particularly fine gilt line work on the dresses and trees.  Meiji period.

 

satsuma ware Kozan (Zo) 光山造 - Made by Kozan in raised gilt directly onto the base within a bounding box.  Also marked 大日本 (Great Japan).  The Makuzu kiln, started by Miyagawa Kozan, in Yokohama produced some of the highest quality Satsuma and porcelain in Japan earning Kozan the revered title 帝室技芸員, Teishitsu Gigei-in, on June 30th 1896.  His son, Hanzan, succeeded him following his death in 1916 and the kiln and workshop were sadly destroyed by the allied bombing of Yokohama in 1945.
MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN SATSUMA KS within a shield.  Unidentified, possibly an agent or importers mark.  Made during the occupied period 1945-52.  Not strictly Satsuma as it is made from porcelain, but quite possibly made by one of the former Satsuma factories and in the dragon moriage style.  Click mark to see full item.
japanese satsuma ware by kusube

Kusube 楠部 poorly hand scripted mark on early 20th century moriage style vase c1910-20.  The style is very different from the fine quality Geisha decorated Satsuma pieces carrying the same name but with much more clearly written signatures.  Rim mark is likely a vertical dash followed by the number 19 (perhaps a batch code).

satsuma pottery Kusube 楠部 - poorly hand scripted mark on a porcelain figure decorated with moriage and extensive gilt.  Probably for Yaichi Kusube (son of Sennosuke).  Late Meiji c1900.
satsuma identification kusube Kusube 楠部 - gilt script over black lozenge from a ginger jar featuring a meeting or tea ceremony.  Late 19th century, Meiji period.
japanese satsuma pottery by kusube Kusube 楠部 - gilt script over red lozenge.  Mark from a vase with cobalt blue ground painted with Bijin and children in a landscape. Late 19th century, Meiji period
Japanese satsuma vase marks Kyokuzan 旭山 gilt script on red lozenge.  Mark from a pair of late 19th century Satsuma vases well painted with flowers and wisteria.  Image by kind permission of NA15.  Kyokuzan is a given rather than family name.

M

satsuma ware by maruni Maruni 丸二 - gilt script on black lozenge. Mark from a small vase with Rakan and dragon, late Meiji or Taisho.  Click the mark to see the full item.
 maruni satsuma vases mark Maruni 丸二 under the Shimazu family crest, gilt lettering on dark red ground. Mark from a pair of vases with scholars, late 19th century Meiji c1880.  Image by kind courtesy of Mr J McCombs
Satsuma ware history and information Maruni 丸二 under the Shimazu family crest, poorly hand scripted mark on a Taisho or early Showa period vase with immortals.  Maruni was known to be a merchant and many Satsuma items with their mark were likely made elsewhere under contract.
Satsuma ware showa period Minato Hikari (or Hikaru) 湊光 - Also marked with a trade name of Soko China.  From an early Showa period vase c1930. The term 'China' here is a misnomer as the vase is earthenware.
antique satsuma pottery Motodani 本谷 - gilt script on red cartouche under the Shimzu clan crest.  From a dish with wisteria and flowers.  Late Meiji or Taisho.  Note some sites have this mark referenced as Motoya which is an alternative form, however Bonhams & Christies reference it as Motodani.
satsuma antiques for sale Motosada Ga 元貞画 - painted by Motosada.  Name can also be read as Gentei.  Further marked on right 'Great Japan', and in the center 'Satsuma region'.  No current reference found for this painter under either reading of the name.  Mark from the base of a small box, Meiji period of average quality.

N

satsuma ware Nishida 西田造 (Nishi-ta zo) - made by Nishida.  Mark from a late Meiji period vase with Samurai warriors.

R

ryozan satsuma ware Ryozan (Okimoto) for Yasuda 亮山 之章 - Ryozan designed this (Ryo-zan no sho) - Red lozenge with the mark for Okimoto Ryozan.  Above is the logo for Yasuda and below is the Shimazu crest.  Okimoto Ryozan was one of the most famous makers producing work for the Yasuda trading company, late Meiji period.
ryozan satsuma ware Ryozan 亮山 造之 (Ryozan zo no) - Ryozan made this - below the Shimazu clan mark.  Mark from a Meiji period vase with floral designs.
satsuma pottery by ryuzan Ryuzan zo 龍山 (Ryuzan made) also marked 薩摩 (Satsuma).  From a plate with a Samurai procession, Meiji period.

S

satsuma ware for sale by Senzan Senzan 泉山 - Gold script over a pale red lozenge under the Shimazu crest.  This maker is relatively unknown and not often seen, so likely produced limited quantities.  Senzan is a family name and the characters individually read as Spring Mountain.  Senzan is the On reading.  Mark from a vase with Bijin at a lake, late Meiji/Taisho, click the mark to see the full item.
satsuma ware pottery by shinzan Shinzan 新山 (Shin-zan) - Red painted script directly onto the base of the vase.  Shimazu crest above the name.  Mark from a vase painted with large Samurai figures over a black ground.  Late Meiji or Taisho period
Shizan satsuma ware Shizan - 志山 - Gilt script on black cartouche under the Shimazu clan crest.  Very likely a different manufacturer from the other known Shizan marks (市山, 芝山 & 司山).  Mark from a set of cups and saucers late Meiji or early Taisho.  Clik image to see full item.
satsuma ware by shizan Shizan 司山 (Shi-zan) - Black lozenge with gold script.  Mark from a vase with bijin in landscape.  Meiji period c1890.
satsuma ware for sale by shizan or shibayama Shizan (or Shibayama) 芝山 - Gilt script on black lozenge.  Unreferenced maker or decorator, most likely reading as Shizan in the Kun form but can also be read as Shibayama.  There are a number of different Shizan potters which appear to be unrelated.  Mark from a Bowl with landscape late Meiji, click the mark to see the full image.
satsuma ware from kyoto Shuzan 秀山 - Gold script on red backing, late Meiji/Taisho period bowl.  Also reads 京都 (Kyoto) on the left and 大日 (Japan) on the right.
soko china satsuma ware Soko China - Trade name or Westernised business name on an early Showa period vase (inter -war).  Also reads 湊光 Minato Hikari (or Hikaru).  The term 'China' here is a misnomer as the vase is earthenware.

T

satsuma pottery by taizan yohei Taizan (sei) - 帯山製 - Made by Taizan, the mark for Taizan Yohei IX.  A renowned and award winning artist often working in the kacho-ga style as here.  Note the impressed mark denoting this came from his own kiln prior to its closure after which he decorated blanks from other kilns.  Also marked 'Great Japan' on the right.  Meiji period, 19th century.  Click mark to see full item.
Taniguchi 谷口 hand scripted in black panel.  Early 20th century, Meiji period. The name also translates as 'mouth of the valley'
satsuma ware for sale by tokozan Tokozan ⊕ 東光山 造 Tokozan zo (made by Tokozan) under the Shimazu clan crest.  Mark from a small box with images of family life, late 19th century, Meiji.
satsuma ware mark tomoyama Tomoyama 友山  hand scripted gold over a red panel.  Late 19th century Meiji period image from a nut dish. The name can also be translated as Tomozan.  Image by kind courtesy of M.Traub.

U

 Satsuma ware for sale by uchida Uchida 内田 Hand scripted mark on a trio painted with birds and flowers, late 19th century Meiji period.  Uchida were a merchant as well as a manufacturer and likely branded Satsuma ware made by other factories alongside their own production.  They were based in Kobe, Japan.

W

warren imports satsuma ware Warren Imports - Paper label for the famous importer of Asian art based in Laguna Beach, Palm Springs.  The business was started by Harry J. Lawrence in 1937.  This label on a cup and saucer by Genzan which predates the opening of Warren Imports.  Sticker likely mid 20th century.

Y

yasuda satsuma pottery Yasuda Logo - followed by the mark for Okimoto Ryozan (see Ryozan above).  The 'Yasuda Kyoto Tojiki Goshikaisha' was a trading company that procured many different items for export to the West including Satsuma pottery.  It was formed in 1896 giving an earliest date for items with this mark.  Yasuda contracted some of the most famous Satsuma makers to produce items for them earning a reputation for quality.
yasuda satsuma vase Yasuda zo 安田造 - Hand scripted to the side of the vase.  Kyoto style with large characters, late Meiji.  The mark probably for Yasuda Gensei prior to the founding of the Kyoto Tojiki Goshi Kaisha in 1896.  The vase is also partially marked to the inside base.  Click image to see the whole vase.
Satsuma for sale by Yasui Yasui 安井 - also marked 造 Satsuma (abbreviated) zo (created) under the Shimazu crest.  Hand scripted in gilt on a red lozenge, mark from a late Meiji/Taisho period vase with Samurai warriors.
imperial satsuma ware Yoshinobu 吉信 Painted in raised gold directly onto the base with gosu enamel Shimazu crest above.  The gosu blue was a dark opaque blue enamel used on high quality wares from the early to mid Meiji period with items using this decorative enamel often referred to as 'Imperial Satsuma'.
antique satsuma ware by Yuzan Yuzan 由山 - Gilt script on red lozenge, some sites specify it as the Kun reading (Yoshiyama) however the major auction houses list it as Yuzan, the On reading more associated with Satsuma.  Mark from a finely detailed plate, Meiji period, click mark to see the full item.
Yuzan satsuma ware Yuzan 祐山 - Tentative attribution, the mark appears to read Yuzan under the Shimazu crest, although it is not the known Yuzan maker.  The known Yuzan is (由山) but I cannot reference a Satsuma maker using this alternate form.  From a tea service, late Meiji or Taisho - click the mark to see the full item.  Images by kind permission of Bingamum


Reproduction and Fake Marks

chinese style satsuma 中国制造 - Made in China (Zhōngguó zhìzào).  Satsuma style small fish bowl, clearly not intended as a fake.  Older style of writing Made in China, the item likely 3rd quarter of the 20th century.  Click image of mark to see the entire item.
chinese style satsuma temple jar 手工製作 - 中国制造  (Shǒugōng zhìzuò - Zhōngguó zhìzào) Hand crafted and Made in China, the latter being an old form of writing this.  From a large temple jar in the Satsuma style, made before such items started making claim to be Satsuma.  Probably 3rd quarter 20th century.  Click the mark to see the item in full.
Satsuma made in china Satsuma - Blue printed mark and moulded A on a Chinese vase loosely in the Satsuma style.  Very recent, 21st century.  Genuine Satsuma ware is only made in Japan.
chinese pseudo satsuma ware 制嶺特注 - Special Note (Chinese) - Custom Order (Japanese).  Mark on a porcelain vase painted in the Satsuma style.  Probably Chinese made, 1980's period.  Intended for export decorative market, not meant as a deceptive fake.
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