Japanese military yen

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For other uses, see Yen (disambiguation).
Japanese military yen
日本軍用手票 (Chinese) (Japanese)
Occupation currency for Burma
Central bank Ministry of War of Japan
User(s) Areas occupied by Japan during World War II and post World War II
 1/100 Sen
Symbol ¥
Coins None
Banknotes 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 50 sen, ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥100
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

Japanese Military Yen (Chinese and Japanese: 日本軍用手票, also 日本軍票 in short), commonly abbreviated as JMY[citation needed], was the currency issued to the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy as a salary[citation needed]. The Imperial Japanese government first started issuing the military yen during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904.[citation needed] The military yen reached its peak during the Pacific War period, when the Japanese government excessively issued to all of its occupied territories. During the war, the military yen was also forced upon the local population as the official currency of the occupied territory. [1] Since the military yen was not backed by gold, and did not have a specific place of issuance, the military yen could not be exchanged for Japanese yen. Forcing local populations to use the military yen officially was one of the ways the Japanese government could dominate the local economies.

Features of the Japanese military yen[edit]

The initial series of the Japanese military yen were replicas of standard Japanese yen with minor modifications. Generally, thick red lines were overprinted to cancel the name "Bank of Japan" (日本銀行) and any text promising to pay the bearer in gold or silver. Large red text instead indicated that the note was military currency ("軍用手票") so as not to be confused with regular Japanese yen.

Later series were less crude, with design modifications being made on the printing plates.

In the early 1940s, the Japanese government issued specially designed military yen. These were not based on existing Japanese yen, but featured designs such as peacocks and dragons. All later series featured text on the reverse of the note:[citation needed]

此票一到即換正面所開日本通貨. 如有偽造、變造、仿造、或知情行使者均應重罰不貸.
The text mentions that "This note is exchangeable to Japanese currency upon presentation. Severe punishment would be applied to anyone who counterfeits or knowingly uses such forged notes."

Early issues did not have serial numbers, and were issued without regard for inflation. Later issues did initially feature serial numbers. Towards the end of the war, as more money was needed to pay military personnel, notes were issued without serial numbers once more.

Introduction of military yen in Hong Kong[edit]

After the Hong Kong Government surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army on 25 December 1941, the Japanese authorities decreed the military yen to be the legal tender of Hong Kong the following day. [2] The Japanese occupation also outlawed any use of Hong Kong dollar and set a deadline for exchanging dollars into yen.[citation needed]

When the military yen was first introduced on 26 December 1941, the exchange rate between the Hong Kong dollar and the military yen was 2 to 1. However, by October 1942, the rate was changed to 4 to 1.

After exchanging for dollars, the Japanese military purchased supplies and strategic goods in the neighbouring neutral Portuguese colony of Macao.[citation needed]

As Japan became more desperate in the war effort in 1944, the Japanese military authorities in Hong Kong circulated more military yen, resulting in hyperinflation.

Papua New Guinea and Philippines[edit]

Military yen after the war[edit]

After Japan announced its unconditional surrender on 15 August 1945, military yen banknotes were seized by British military authorities. However, although there was about as much as 1.9 billion yen, the Japanese military administrations intentionally destroyed 700 million worth of it.[citation needed]

On 6 September 1945, the Japanese Ministry of Finance announced that all military yen became void. Overnight the military yen literally became useless pieces of paper to the people of Hong Kong.

Recent developments[edit]

On 13 August 1993, an organization in Hong Kong seeking a refund for military yen took legal action against Japan, suing the Japanese government for the money that was lost when the military yen was declared void. A Tokyo district court ruled against the plaintiff on 17 June 1999, stating that, although it acknowledged the suffering of the Hong Kong people, the government of Japan did not have specific laws concerning military yen compensation. Japan also used the Treaty of San Francisco, of which the United Kingdom was a signatory state, as one of the reasons to deny compensation.

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]