Japanese Currency, Coins, Bonds & Invasion Scrip

            Japanese troops had to get paid, and wherever the Japanese took over, they issued invasion scrip for use in the local economy. Here are a some samples.

            First, here is some actual Japanese currency. I am certainly no expert in this field, but from a book I picked up at the bank of Japanfs Currency Museum years ago it seems like this currency was issued about 1943. In fact, the top note, which is a 50 sen note (100 sen=one yen), has the date Showa 18, or 1943, written vertically along the right side. In the foreground is a torii gate, traditionally used to mark the entrance to a Shinto shrine. Below it is a five yen note.



Here are the backs of the two notes.



Here are two ten-yen notes from the same period. Note that the serial numbers are very close. Could they have been from a soldierfs last pay? He would have had to have been an officer to get paid with that many ten yen notes.



Here are the backs of these notes.





Here are some coins from the period ending in 1945. One sen is 1/100 of a yen.

The top row has coins from the Meiji era (1868-1912). From left to right, they are: one sen, Meiji 16 (1883); two sen, Meiji 16 (1883); five sen, Meiji 23 (1890).

The middle row has coins from the Taisho era (1912-1926). From left to right: one sen, Taisho 8 (1919); five rin=1/2 sen, Taisho 8 (1919); five sen, Taisho 10 (1921); ten sen, Taisho 12 (1923); fifty sen, Taisho 12 (1923).

The bottom row has coins from the Showa era (1926-1988). From left to right: one sen, Showa 17 (1942); one sen, Showa 19 (1944); ten sen, Showa 10 (1935); ten sen, Showa 15 (1940); ten sen, Showa 19 (1944).

Note how, for example, one sen went from being a large copper coin to a small aluuminum or tin one (and worse was yet to come, as you can see below!)


Here is the other side of the above coins in the same order, showing the dates in most cases.


This is what one sen ended up as. It is referred to as ceramic. The mountain is probably Mount Fuji.


Here is the other side. There is no date. Supposedly these were prepared in 1945 but not issued (how some got out, I donft know). There were also five and ten sen denominations in this material.



            This is a discount war bond. It was sold for seven yen on June 22, 1942 and was to be redeemed for ten yen on August 8, 1952 after Japan won the war. The black writing in the centre at the top reads from right to left: dai-nip-pon-tei-koku-sei-fu, Government of Greater Japan. The next line down says dai-to-a-sen-so-wari-biki-kok-ko-sai-ken, Greater East Asia War Discount National Treasury Bond. The third line with two characters says ju-en, ten yen. The fine print in the middle is about how to redeem the bond when it matures. The three lines at the bottom give the issue date and price and the maturity date. The single column of four characters above the red seal says O-kura-dai-jin, or Minister of Finance, which is repeated in the seal itself. At the left there is a battleship and an airplane. On the right, a tank with artillery and anti-aircraft listening horns in the background along with a Type 11 light machine gun, shingunto military sword, pick and shovel in the foreground. The three red characters above the tank say gThird Seriesh. The white characters on a red background in the top right say yu-bin-kyoku-bai-shutsu, gSold by the Post Officeh. The tiny white writing in the cente of the bottom says nai-kaku-in-satsu-kyoku-sei-zo, gMade by the Cabinet Printing Departmenth. The characters in the lower right and left say ju, gtenh,


Mercifully, the back is more or less self-explanatory. There is a watermark in the paper but I canft read it. The bond is 181mm by 127mm (7 1/8h by 5h).


Invasion Scrip

            When the Japanese forces took control of an area, they issued their own invasion scrip to replace the local currency. They often issued it in huge quantities, rendering it worthless almost immediately. This was not helped by the involvement of many Kempeitai (military police) officers in large-scale counterfeiting, which was relatively easy since the scrip generally did not have serial numbers, just Roman letters to indicate the area and a gblockh of notes. The top note shown here is often mistaken to be for a planned invasion of the US (e.g. Hawaii), since it is denominated in dollars. In fact, it was for use in Malaya, where the currency was also known as the dollar (note the first letter in the block ID is an gMh). I bought this one on eBay. The second two notes in rupees are from Burma. A friend brought them back from a holiday there and gave them to me years ago.



Here are the backs of the notes. Except for colour, the back of the one dollar and the back of the one rupee are the same!



Here are the front and back of peso-denominated invasion scrip used in the Philippines.


Here is a five guilder invasion scrip note for use in the occupied Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It says: gThe Japanese government will pay upon tender five guildersh.



If I find a good reference on the currency and scrip I will add it here.



Last updated: September 25, 2004. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.

Click here to go back to the Other Militaria page: Nambu World: Teri's Other Japanese Militaria Page

Click here to go back to the main page: Nambu World: Terifs WWII Japanese Handgun Website