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Thursday, 13 December 2012

85) Coins and Currency/Banknotes of the Japanese Yen



85) Coins and Currency/Banknotes of the Japanese Yen:



Brief history of Coinage development in Japan:

The Japanese yen is the official currency of Japan. The yen is pronounced as “en” literally meaning “round” in Japanese.However, Westerners, preferred to pronounce it as “yen” because several of the English speaking visitors to Japan during the “Edo” period (1603 – 1868)  and “Meiji” period (1868 – 1912) spelt it as “yen”, while the Portuguese  preferred calling it “ye”.

In the 1800s, silver Spanish dollars were accepted as currency throughout South-East Asia, including Japan.

In the 1840s, the silver Spanish dollars were getting replaced by silver dollars from Latin American republics, and the Mexican silver pesos.

In 1866, the Hong Kong silver dollar also was gaining usage as a unit of purchase in Japan, but the Mexican silver dollars were still the preferred currency.

In 1870, with a view to have their own currency, Japanese Authorities introduced silver 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen and 1 yen coins.

In 1871, to avoid confusion, the “Meiji” Government officially adopted “yen” as its circulating currency under the “New Currency Act, 1871” which adopted a decimal accounting system. The yen was essentially a dollar unit having similar value as the other silver dollars which had more or less equal value among themselves and was further sub-divided into “sen” (1/100 yen) and “rin” (1/1000 yen). One yen coins gold were introduced, followed by 1 rin and ½ rin coins copper in the same year.

In 1873, 1 and 2 sen copper coins were introduced.

In 1889, 5 sen cupro-nickel coins were introduced.

In 1897, the 1 yen silver coin was demonetised and 5,10 and 20 yen gold coins were introduced in sizes reduced by 50%.

In 1920, 10 sen cupro-nickel coins were introduced.

In 1938, at the commencement of World War II, the cost of silver having become prohibitive, silver coin production was replaced by base metal coins in the 1, 5 and 10 sen denominations. 

In 1945, The Japanese Authorities even minted 5 and 10 sen clay coins but these were kept in Bank vaults as Reserve currency and not issued for general circulation.

Between 1946 and 1948, after World War II, 50 sen,1 and 5 yen brass coins were introduced .

In 1949, 5 yen coins with a hole were introduced, similar to the ones still in circulation.

In 1951, 10 yen bronze coins were introduced similar to the ones in circulation, present day.

On 31/12/1953, coins below the denomination of 1 yen ceased to be legal tender, following the implementation of the Small Currency Disposition and Fractional Rounding in Payments Act 1953.

In 1955, the aluminium 1 yen coins, similar to the ones presently in circulation were introduced along with 50 yen nickel coins.

In 1957, 100 yen silver coins were introduced, however, in 1967, these were replaced by cupro-nickel coins similar to the ones in use present day.

In 1973, the yen and rin ceased to be legal tender and their circulation was withdrawn.

In 1982, the first 500 yen coin was introduced.

Some salient features of Japanese coinage:

1)   The 500 yen coin is the highest-valued coin used in the World today. Because of its high value, this denomination was counterfeited by unscrupulous persons to such a large extent, that, in 2000 a new series of coins were issued with more security features, however, fake coins still continued to surface.

2)   Instead of displaying the year of mintage, yen coins display the year of the current Emperor’s reign. For example, a coin minted in 2009, bears the date “Heisei 21" (the 21st year of Emperor Akihito’s reign). The date is stamped on the reverse of all coins and in most cases, the country name , through 1945, is mentioned as: “Dai Nippon” or “Great Japan” and after 1945 is mentioned as: “Nihon Koku” or “State of Japan”.  
The coins in recent circulation are mostly from the period of Emperor Hirohito (“Showa era” – 1926 to 1989) and Emperor Akhito (“Heisei era” – 1989 onwards).

3)   Yen coins have features which can be easily identified by visually challenged persons. The 1 yen (light) and 10 (medium) yen coins have a smooth edge, while the 5 yen coins also have a smooth edge, but have holes in the centre. On the other hand 100 yen (medium) and 500 yen (heavy) have reeded edges, while the 50 yen coins also have a reeded edge, but have holes in the centre.




Current Yen coins in circulation:

(The following coins have been  brought for my collection  by Jayant Biswas who recently visited Japan and made it a point to collect the entire series presently in circulation for me).



Obverse of a one yen coin shows a young tree, Country name and denomination of the coin.




Reverse of a one yen coin shows the denomination of the coin and the year of the present Emperor’s reign from which the year of minting can be calculated.

Obverse of a one yen coin shows a young tree, Country name and denomination of the coin.


Reverse of a one yen coin shows the denomination of the coin and the year of the present Emperor’s reign from which the year of minting can be calculated.

One yen coins were first minted in 1955.

The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 20 mm, Thickness: 1.2 mm, Weight 1 gm. Edge: Smooth, Composition: 100% aluminium. 

A unique feature of these coins is that, 1 yen coins which are made of Aluminium are so light that they can float on water, if placed correctly.


Obverse of a 5 yen coin shows an Ear of Rice, a gear in the centre around a hole, water and denomination of the coin.




Reverse of the 5 yen coin shows the Country and year of the King’s reign.  


The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 22 mm, Thickness: 1.5 mm, Weight: 3.75 gms, Edge: Smooth, Composition: 60-70 % copper and 30-40 % zinc.
5 yen coins were first issued in 1959.


The image given below is the Obverse of a 10 yen coin shows “Hoo-do” Temple at “Byodo – in “, Country and denomination of the coin. The “Byodo-in” is a Buddhist temple in the city of UJi in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.(There are 47 Prefectures in Japan which are first-order subnational jurisdictions on a State or Provincial level. There is one Metropolis: Tokyo, one Circuit/Territory: Hokkaido, two urban Prefectures: Osaka and Kyoto and 43 other prefectures. A Prefecture is a Governmental body, larger than cities, towns and villages. Prefectures have been in existence since 1870).

. It is  a temple of both the “Jodo-shu” (Pure Land) and “Tendai-shu” sects. It dates back to being originally built as a Villa in 998 (Heian Period) and was later converted to a Buddhist temple in 1052. The most famous building in the temple is the Phoenix Hall (“Hoo-do”) or the “Amida Hall” which was constructed in 1053 and is represented on this coin and the image of the Phoenix inside the Phoenix Hall is represented on the 10000 yen Banknote, given under the Currency/Banknotes section of this Post).






Reverse of a 10 yen coin shows an evergreen tree branches, denomination of the coin and year of the Emperor’s reign.

The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 23.50 mm, Thickness: 1.5 mm, Weight :4.50 gms, Edge: Reeded (for issues from 1951 to 1958) and Smooth (from 1959 onwards), Composition: 95% copper, 3-4 % zinc and 1-2% tin.

10 yen coins were first minted in 1951 (with reeded edge) and then from 1959 (with smooth edge).





Obverse of a 50 yen coin shows a “Chrysanthemum”, Country and denomination of the coin.( Chrysanthemum has been adopted by the Emperor of Japan as his official seal. The “Festival of Japan” is, also,  a celebration this flower).



Reverse of a 50 yen coin shows the denomination of the coin and the year of the Emperor’s reign.

The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 21 mm, Thickness: 1.70 mm, Weight: 4.00 gms, Edge: Reeded, Composition: Cupronickel (Copper 75% and Nickel 25%).

50 yen coins were first minted in 1967.




Obverse of a 100 yen coin shows “Cherry Blossoms”, Country and denomination of the coin.(The cherry blossom is a flower belonging to the genus “Prunus” and a prominent variety is the Japanese Cherry Blossom “Prunus serrulata” also referred to as “sakura” in Japan. It is also called the Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, Oriental Cherry or East Asian Cherry. The Japanese cherry is used for cherry blossom displays and in festivals).


Since its inception in 1883, the Japan Mint’s Cherry Blossom Viewing has gained in popularity with every passing year. In April 2012, Cherry Blossom Viewing was organised at the two branches of Japan Mint one in Hiroshima (the “Gyoiko” variety of Cherry Blossom) and the other at Osaka( the “Kodemari” variety of Cherry Blossom). The Mint brings out several Commemorative coins celebrating the Cherry Blossom viewing.




Reverse of a 100 yen coin shows the denomination of the coin and the year of the Emperor’s reign.

The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 22.60 mm, Thickness: 1.70 mm, Weight: 4.80 gms, Edge: Reeded, Composition: Cupronickel (Copper 75% and Nickel 25%).

100 yen coins were first minted in 1967.



Obverse of a 500 yen coin minted in the Series issued from 1982 till 2000, shows “Paulownia”, Country and the denomination of the coin. The Paulownia is a deciduous tree with heart-shaped leaves which is found in China, Laos, Vietnam, Korea  and  Japan. Its flowers bloom in early spring on panicles 10-30 cm long with a tubular purple corolla.

 In Japanese, Paulownia is called “kiri” or the “princess tree”. “Paulownia” flower pattern (“go-shichi-no-kiri”) is the symbol of the Prime Minister’s office in Japan and is also the emblem of the State Cabinet. 

(This coin has been given for my collection by my sister-in-law in Lucknow).


Reverse of a 500 yen coin minted in the Series issued from 1982 till 2000, shows the denomination of the coin, “Bamboo” and “Mandarin Orange”. (The “Mandarin Orange” is a small citrus tree with fruits resembling oranges. Mandarin Oranges are considered to be traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. In India, Mandarins are used in “Ayurveda” – the traditional medicine of India).


The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 26.50 mm, Thickness: 2.00 mm, Weight: 7.20 gms, Edge: Smooth with the lettering “NIPPON – 500 –NIPPON-500”, Composition: Cupronickel (Copper 75%, and Nickel 25%).
500 yen coins were first minted in 1982 (or "Showa 57"). This coin was replaced with another 500 yen coin with added security features, to prevent counterfeiting which had been detected in this denomination and this coin is no longer being minted.



Obverse of a 500 yen coin minted in the Series started in 2000 (or "Heisei 12"). It, also, shows the “Paulownia”, Country and denomination of the coin.


Reverse of a 500 yen coin minted in the Series started in 2000. It also, shows a “bamboo”, “Mandarin Orange” and the denomination of the coin with a latent image as an additional security feature.


The specifications of this coin are: Diameter: 26.50 mm, Thickness: 2.00 mm, Weight: 7.00 gms, Edge: Reeded slantingly. Composition: Copper 72%, Zinc 20%,Nickel 8%.

These 500 yen coins were first minted in 2000.



Commemorative coins:

Several commemorative coins have been issued by the Bank of Japan. The first commemorative coins to be issued were 100 yen and 1000 yen silver coins commemorating the  Tokyo Summer Olympics (1964).Since then, several Commemorative coins viz: Japan World Exposition (1970), Sapporo Olympics (1972), International Ocean Exposition in Okinawa (1975), the 50th Year of the Emperor on the Throne (1976), The 60th Year of the emperor on the throne (1986), The Enthronement of the Emperor (1990), The 20th Anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan (1992), The Wedding of His Imperial highness The Crown Prince (1993), The 12th Asian Games (1994), Nagano Olympic Games in 1997/1998), The 10th Year of the emperor on the throne (1999), , 2002 FIFA World cup Korea/Japan (2002), 5th Winter Asian Games (2003), The Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan, 50 years of Japan's Accession to the UN (2006), 50th anniversary of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (2007) etc have been brought out in various denominations.  

Commemorative 500 and 1000 yen coin series which began in December 2008 with 47 unique designs, one for each Prefecture (The Programme is titled “The 60th Anniversary of Enforcement of the Local Autonomy Law”) and the  Cherry Blossom Viewing (last Commemorative coins set issued in 2012) etc. are some of the present issues.

Banknotes of the Japanese Yen:

Japanese yen Banknotes were first issued in 1872. Since then, Japanese yen has been issued in various denominations from 0.05 to 10000 yen at various points of time.

Post World War II:

In the aftermath of World War II, after the defeat of the Axis forces, the Allies took over the task of issuing yen Banknotes between 1945 and 1951, in addition to those printed by the Bank of Japan. 

However, Banknotes below 1 yen were demonetised from 31.12.1953 onwards, in view of their printing not being cost-effective.

In the early 1950s Banknotes below 50 yen were replaced by coins.

In the late 1950s Banknotes of 50 yen and 100 yen were replaced by coins.

In 1957 and 1958, yen notes of 5000 and 1000 denominations were introduced.

After 1982 the 500 yen notes were replaced by coins.

In 2000, yen notes of the denomination of 2000 were introduced to commemorate the 26th G-8 Summit in Okinawa and ushering in the new millennium.

From 2004 onwards, yen are being issued in three denominations only viz: 1000 yen, 5000 yen and 10000 yen.

The Bank of Japan has issued yen currency notes in six series, details as under:

Series A (1946-48): 

Bank notes were issued in the denominations of 0.05, 0.10, 1,5,10 and 100 yen denominations. The dates for suspending further issue of this Series ranged from 31.12.1959 for the 0.05 yen, 01.04.1955 for 5 and 10 yen, 05.07.1956 for the 100 yen and 01.10.1958 for the 1 yen denominations. 

Series B (1950-1953): 

This series had Banknotes in the denominations of 50, 100, 500 yen and introduced a new currency Note in the denomination of 1000. The dates for suspending further issue of this Series ranged from 01/10/1958 for the 50 yen, 04/01/1065 for the 1000 yen, 04.01.1971 for the 500 yen, and 01/08/1974 for 100 yen denominations.

Series C (1957-1969):  

 This Series did away with the smaller denominations and had Banknotes in the denominations of 500 yen, 100 yen and introduced the still higher denominations of 5000 and 10000 yen. The dates for suspending further issue of this Series ranged from 04/01/1986 for the 1000 yen, 5000 yen and 1000 yen denominations, while the printing of the 500 yen notes under this Series was stopped on 01.04.1994.

Series D (1984):   

The Banknotes issued under this series were in the denominations of 1000 yen, 5000 yen and 10000 yen. 
However, it was discovered that several counterfeit/fake Banknotes of this Series were circulating by December 2004, as such, the Bank of Japan went very slow with the printing of Notes under this Series from January 2005 onwards, keeping the official Note issues under careful watch, however, as the incidence of counterfeit Notes in circulation was still noticed, this Series was finally withdrawn from circulation on 02/04/2007.

Series D Commemorative issue (2000):  
  
(The following Banknotes are from the collection of Jayant Biswas).

A 2000 yen Commemorative Note issue: 
(EURion constellation features):

To help prevent counterfeiting of this 2000 yen banknote, a unique feature of this 2000 yen commemorative Banknote is that it is the first one to carry the features of the “EURion constellation”. 

The “EURion constellation” is a pattern of symbols placed in several banknote designs by Banks across the World from 1996 onwards. 

It consists of a set of five dots/circles usually three together and two separate ones, reproduced several times at prominent places. This feature helps imaging software to detect the presence of a Banknote in a digital image. Such software prevents/refuses the user from reproducing Banknotes, so as to prevent counterfeiting of these notes by using colour photo-copiers.

Under this Commemorative issue, Banknotes of the denomination of 2000 yen were introduced on 19/07/2000 to commemorate the 26th G-8 Summit in Okinawa and for ushering in the new millennium. These currency Notes were green in colour and size was 154 x 76 mm.


The front of these currency Notes featured the “Shurei-mon” which is a famous gate in Naha, Okinawa near the site of the summit.


The back of these Banknotes depicts a scene from the “Tale of Genji” and a portrait of “Murasaki Shikibu” (taken from the Gotoh edition of the Murasaki Shikibu Diary Emaki) preserved in the Gotoh Museum. 

The “Tale of Genji” is considered to be a classic in both Western and Japanese Literature and is written by “Murasaki Shikibu” in the 11th century and referred to as the first modern novel or first psychological novel. Murasaki Shikubu was a Japanese noblewoman and her work depicts the lives of high courtiers during the “Heian period”. She is the second woman to be depicted on a Japanese Banknote after Empress Jinga (1881).

This Note can still be procured from Banks in Japan, although they are categorised as rare by collectors. Jayant picked this Note up from a Bank of Japan branch for his collection.



Series E (2004 onwards): 

This Series is currently in circulation since 2004 and consists of three denominations viz: 1000 yen, 500 yen and 10000 yen. All the Banknotes of this Series exhibit the “EURion constellation” patterns, as one of the safeguards against counterfeiting.

The 1000 yen Banknote measures 150x76 mm and is blue in colour.


The Front of the 1000 yen banknote shows the portrait of “Noguchi Hideyo” (he is also known as “Seisaku Noguchi” and was a prominent Japanese Bacteriologist credited with the discovery of the agent of “Syphilis” as the cause of progressive paralytic disease in 1911).


The Back of the 1000 yen Banknote shows an image of “Mount Fuji, Lake Motusu and cherry blossoms”. 

(Mount Fuji is located on Honshu Island and is the highest mountain in Japan at about 12,390 feet. It has an active volcano. It is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains”, the others being “Mount Tate” and “Mount Haku”. 

Lake Motusu is the westernmost of the Five Lakes of Fuji and located in the “Yamanashi prefecture” of Fuji. It is the third largest of the Fuji lakes and is the deepest of them all. 

The cherry blossom is a flower belonging to the genus “Prunus” and a prominent variety is the Japanese Cherry Blossom “Prunus serrulata” also referred to as “sakura” in Japan. It is also called the Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, Oriental Cherry or East Asian Cherry. The Japanese cherry is used for cherry blossom displays and in festivals).

The 5000 yen Banknote measures 156 x 76 mm and is purple in colour.


The Front of the 5000 yen banknote shows the portrait of “Higuchi Ichiyo”. (This was the pen-name of the Japanese author “Natsuko Higuchi” who lived in the nineteenth century “Meiji era” Tokyo. 

She is considered to be the first professional woman writer in modern Japanese literature. She lived at a time when women’s education was not given due importance and not only received a high education, but also wrote popular and highly acclaimed books on Japanese/Meiji literature such as “Child’s Play” , “Troubled Waters” and “Separate Ways” among others. Higuchi is the third Japanese woman to appear on a Banknote after “Empress Jinga” (1881) and “Murusaki Shikibu” in 2000).


The Back of the Note shows “Kakitsubata – zu” (The Kakitsubata – also called the “Iris laevigata”, “Rabbit-ear Iris” –   is the prefectural flower of “Aichi prefecture” as well as Chiryu City. Every year in April, a festival is held in the temple garden as a celebration of flowering of this Iris. This Note shows this painting of “Irises” made by “Ogata Korin” which is in 6 panels (folding screen) and is exhibited as National Treasure at the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts. 



 (The original painting of "Ogata Korin" titled the
“Kakitsubata – zu”).

(Ogata Korin was a Japanese painter of the “Rinpa School” who lived in the seventeenth-eighteenth century Japan. He developed an original style characterised by bold impressionism, expressed in a few and simple highly idealised forms veering away from realism and traditional conventions. In lacquer his use of white metals and mother of pearl. His works on gold-foil folding screens and “Irises” are some of the treasured creations of Japanese Art).


The 10000 yen Banknote measures 160 x 76 mm and is brown in colour.

 
The Front of the 10000 yen banknote shows the portrait of “Fukuzawa Yukichi” (He lived in the Nineteenth century and was a writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur and journalist who founded the “Keio-Gijuku University”, the newspaper “Jiji-Shinpo” and the Institute for Study of Infectious Diseases”. His ideas and contributions in changing the face of Japan in the Meiji Era have led him to be regarded as one of the Founders of modern Japan).


The Back of the Note shows the “Statue of Hoo” (also referred to as the “Chinese Phoenix” or “Fenghuang” are mythological birds of East Asia said to be living on the “Kunlun Mountains” in China.(This image of the Hoo is taken from the Phoenix-Hall in “Byodo-in” temple).  

The males are called “Feng” and females are called “Huang”. The birds are commonly depicted as attacking snakes with its talons and its wings spread.

Traditionally, the bird was portrayed as having the beak of a rooster, the face of a swallow, the forehead of a fowl, the neck of a snake, the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise, the hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a fish. 

In modern times, it is described as having the head of a golden pheasant, the body of a mandarin duck, the tail of a peacock, the legs of a crane, the mouth of a parrot and the wings of a swallow. 

Nevertheless, the bird is considered to be symbolic references to our solar system viz: the head representing the sky, the eyes representing the Sun, the back being the Moon, the wings representing the wind, the feet symbolising the Earth while the tail represents the planets. 

Traditionally, it is a belief that the Bird has five colours in its feathers blue, black, red, white and yellow and it appears only at places that have the utmost peace, prosperity and happiness – a connotation, that a person who has achieved peace within himself is now one with the Universe.

4 comments:


  1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Beutiful collection indeed !"

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for all the info!:) i've had my own, granted more meager, collection and this helped me very much in identifying them!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are very welcome. Nice to know that this post could be of some help to you. Happy collecting!!

    ReplyDelete