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Japanese Culture
Japanese Coins
Japanese Coins - Coins were introduced in 1870. There were silver 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen and 1 yen, and gold 2, 5, 10 and 20 yen. Gold 1 yen were introduced in 1871, followed by copper 1 rin, ½, 1 and 2 sen in 1873.

Cupronickel 5 sen coins were introduced in 1889. In 1897, the silver 1 yen coin was demonetized and the sizes of the gold coins were reduced by 50%, with 5, 10 and 20 yen coins issued. In 1920, cupro-nickel 10 sen coins were introduced.

Production of silver coins ceased in 1938, after which a variety of base metals were used to produced 1, 5 and 10 sen coins during the Second World War. Clay 5 and 10 sen coins were produced in 1945 but not issued for circulation.

After the war, brass 50 sen, 1 and 5 yen were introduced between 1946 and 1948. In 1949, the current type of holed 5 yen was introduced, followed by bronze 10 yen (of the type still in circulation) in 1951.
Coins in denominations of less than 1 yen became invalid on December 31, 1953.

In 1955, the current type of aluminium 1 yen was introduced, along with unholed, nickel 50 yen. In 1957, silver 100 yen pieces were introduced. These were replaced in 1967 by the current, cupro-nickel type, along with the holed 50 yen coin. In 1982, the first 500 yen coins were introduced.

The date is on the reverse of all coins, and, in most cases, the name 日本国, Nihonkoku (Japan) and the value in kanji is on the obverse, except for the 5-yen where Nihonkoku is on the reverse.

500 yen coins are probably the highest valued coins to be used regularly in the world (with rates in the neighborhood of US$4.10, €3.05, and £2.10). The United States' largest-valued commonly-used coin (25¢) is worth around 26 yen; the Eurozone's largest (€2) is worth ¥279, and the United Kingdom's largest (£2) is worth ¥402 (as of March 2005). The Swiss 5-franc coin is currently (as of April 2007) worth about ¥495. No doubt because of this high face value, the 500 yen has been a favorite target for counterfeiters. It was counterfeited to such an extent that in 2000 a new series of coins was issued with various security features. In spite of these changes, however, counterfeiting continues.

On various occasions, commemorative coins are minted using gold and silver with various face values, up to 100,000 yen. Even though they can be used, they are treated as collectibles.

Instead of displaying the A.D. year of mintage like most nations' coins, yen coins instead display the year of the current emperor's reign. For example, a coin minted in 2006 would bear the date Heisei 18 (the 18th year of Emperor Akihito's reign).

Information source: “Japanese yen.” Article date: 2 Feb. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 2 Feb. 2008 <Japanese yen>.





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