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Silver Wadōkaichin (和同開珎) coin, 8th century, Japan. Japan Currency Museum.
Wadōkaichin copper coin.
The Chinese Kāiyuán Tōngbǎo coin (開元通寶), first minted in 621 CE in Chang'an, was the model for the Japanese Wadō Kaihō.

Wadōkaichin (和同開珎?), also romanized as Wadō-kaichin or called Wadō-kaihō, is the oldest official Japanese coinage, having been minted starting in 708 AD on order of Empress Gemmei.[1][2][3]


The coins, which were round with a square hole in the center, remained in circulation until 958 AD.[4] These were the first of a variety of coins collectively called jūnizeni or kōchō jūnisen (ja:皇朝十二銭?).[5]

"Wadōkaichin" is the reading of the four characters printed on the coin, and is thought to be composed of the era name Wadō (和銅, "Japanese copper"), which could alternatively mean "happiness", and "Kaichin", thought to be related to "Currency". This coinage was inspired by the Tang coinage (唐銭) named Kaigentsūhō (Chinese: 開元通宝, Kai Yuan Tong Bao), first minted in Chang'an in 621 CE. The Wadōkaichin had the same specifications as the Chinese coin, with a diameter of 2.4 cm and a weight of 3.75 g.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac (1834), Annales des empereurs du Japon (in French), pp. 63–5 .
  2. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 271,
  3. ^ Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 140.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric (2005), "Wadō-kaihō", Japan encyclopedia, p. 1024 ; n.b., Authority File, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek .
  5. ^ Nussbaum, p. 539.
  6. ^ Japan Currency Museum (日本貨幣博物館) permanent exhibit.


External links[edit]