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Big Nub Numismatics's Blog

11 Jan 2019

Japanese Imperialistic Currency

| Big Nub Numismatics

Japanese was not always a super power. Before the late 19th, early 20th century Japan was a relatively weak country. like China, its traditions and history was very important to them. So much so that they refused to industrialize, let in foreigners and had an isolationist policy throughout these times. This all changed in the 19th century. Western nations were quickly industrializing, and the resources needed to sustain this were too much for the mother country to handle. these countries then chose imperialism as an easy way to to get these resources. With Japan's isolationist policy, Western nations began pressuring them to open up ports and trade. Fearful of being colonized by one of these Western nations, Japan very quickly industrialized and changed its country to become more modern and Western. Europeans and the United States backed off, and Japan started to take control of colonies. In 1871, Imperial Japan issued the first currency of this new revitalized state, using the Japanese Yen as its basis. It was tied to European currency to make it easier with trade. Although the new Japanese Yen were created, all of the country's previous issues of currency was still circulating in the market, which led to many people becoming confused about the new economy. The Japanese government allowed banks to issue their own currency, and they created notes that were able to be exchanged with gold. just like the gold certificates of the US. In 1871, the New Currency Act of 1871 was emplaced, which switched the currency into the Gold-standard. the original conversion was 1.5 grams of gold for every 1 Yen. ironically, Japan issued German printed notes to be used in commerce. Most of the surrounding Asian countries preferred Silver to Gold as currency. Japan began trading with them for gold and Silver, and this led to the establishment of a Gold-Silver ratio for trading. national banks began to print more and more of their own convertible currency, and despite the government's best efforts to stop this, a high inflationary period was starting to arise. A civil war broke out in the nation causing new notes to be printed to fund war efforts, making the inflation even worse. In 1899, Japan ceased to honor any National bank notes as legal tender. this stabilized the economy, until the first World War.

 

Comments

Kepi

Level 6

Good work! Lots of history going on here. I learned quite a bit. Thanks! ; )

Longstrider

Level 6

Great blog. Full of facts. Thanks.

Just Mokie

Level 5

The Japanese Coin Dealers Association puts out an annual RED BOOK like catalog of Japanese coins. Unfortunately it is in Japanese but it can still be very useful as things like mintages are in Roman numerals. As you all know, the dating can be problematic as they rarely use Western dating styles on their coins, only on some commeoratives. But there are guides online that can help with that problem. Amazon sells the Coin Dealers Association book, the 2019 edition costs 63.00 but earlier editions can be purchased for quite a bit less. For instance, the 2013 edition is only about 14.00.

Mr_Norris_LKNS

Level 4

Thank you for this post! I’ve casually collected Japanese notes and coins for a few years but never got very deep into the history as I should have. Thanks for the enlightenment. We see in Krause catalogs all the various issues from different banks for nations like Japan and China and I’ve always wondered why. Do you recommend a good source for more info?

CoinLady

Level 6

Interesting. Is there a guide of Japanese coins? So much to learn here

Just Mokie

Level 5

Japanese coins of the Meiji period were definitely similar to Western coins. The large Japanese Silver Yen was the same size as the U.S Silver dollar and the Yen was divided into 100 Sen. Japan even produced a Trade Dollar coin for circulation in the China trade along with the British Trade Dollar, the U.S. Trade Dollar, the French Piastre de Commerce, and the Mexican Peso (Spanish 8 Reales, prior to 1821). By 1905, Japan was powerful enough to defeat Russia and gain great respect among the European powers and the USA. Japan was even an ally of the UK and USA in World War I and occupied German colonies in the Pacific, the Marshall Islands, the Carolines, the Marianas, the Palau Islands and Kiautschou in China.

Longstrider

Level 6

Thanks Mokiechan. You added quite a bit to this blog..

Mike B

Level 6

Thanks for that history. As I say we learn from the blogs and my friend from the comments thanks I learned from both today. Thanks. Mike

Mike B

Level 6

Thanks for giving that history. And Richard Nixon and China. That helped a lot with them. But I love info like this thanks for the time and work .mike.

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