5 yen coin

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Five yen
Japan
Value5 Japanese yen
Mass3.75 g
Diameter22 mm
Center hole diameter5 mm
Compositionc. 65% Cu
c. 35% Zn
Years of minting1870–present
Catalog numberKM 72, 72a, 96.1 and 96.2
Obverse
5 Yen Rückseite.jpg
DesignRice, water and gear
Design date1959
Reverse
5 Yen Vorderseite.jpg
DesignTree sprouts
Design date1959

The 5 yen coin (五円硬貨, Go-en kōka) is one denomination of Japanese yen. The current design was first minted in 1959 using Japanese characters known as the "new script", and were also minted from 1948 to 1958 using "old-script" Japanese characters. Five-yen coins date to 1870 (when, due to the much higher value of the yen, they were minted in gold). The modern-day coin was first produced in 1948 with a differently styled inscription. This was changed in 1959 and the design has remained unchanged since.

The obverse of the coin depicts a rice plant growing out of the water, with "five yen" written in kanji; the reverse is stamped with "Japan" and the year of issue, also in kanji, separated by sprouts of a tree. The three graphic elements of the coin represent agriculture and fisheries, the key elements of the Japanese first-sector economy. Around the central hole, there is a gear that represents industry. It is the only Japanese coin in circulation to lack Hindu-Arabic numerals on either side.

History[edit]

Gold five yen (1870-1930)[edit]

Five yen coins were first struck in gold for the Japanese government in 1870 at the San Francisco Mint.[1] At the time a new mint was being established at Osaka, which did not receive the gold bullion needed for coinage until 1871.[2] The yen was officially adopted by the Meiji government in an act signed on June 27, 1871.[3] It remains unknown if any 1871 five yen coins were actually struck that year as official records have coinage beginning in 1872.[4][5] The first and second five yen coin designs feature a dragon figure on the obverse surrounded by legends, while the reverse features the emblem of the Imperial family.[a] Each coin was struck in .900 fine gold with a weight of 8.3g, and a width of initially 23.8mm.[6] The diameter was later reduced to 21.8mm when the second design was introduced in 1872.[7] Five yen coins continued to be struck uninterrupted until 1879, when for an unknown reason none were recorded as minted. Coinage resumed in 1880 and remained unchanged until 1897 when Japan officially went from a silver standard to a gold standard.[8] During this time the gold five yen coin was given a third and final new design. The diameter was reduced from 21.8mm down to 16.9mm, and the weight was changed from 8.3 to 4.2 grams. Redemption of old silver coins for new gold coins at par began on October 1, 1897 and lasted until its closure on July 31, 1898.[9][10] Five yen coins minted during the Taishō era were impacted by World War I, and a gold embargo that was imposed in 1917 by the United States. Even though the embargo was later lifted in June 1919, the Japanese government continued it by importing gold heavily which re-enforced the gold reserve of the Bank of Japan. Government officials at the time had the opinion that no inflation could take place so long as the percentage of gold cover had not been lowered.[11] This embargo was not absolute as it was recorded that some gold coins were paid out between 1920 and 1928 in very small amounts.[12] The gold embargo was later lifted in January 1930, only for it to be re-imposed on December 31, 1931.[12][13] Five yen coins were last minted during this brief time to act as a reserve for gold certificates. None of these coins were in general use afterwards as the medium of commerce consisted of nonconvertible 5 yen banknotes.[14]

Modern five yen (1948-)[edit]

Almost 20 years would pass before the Japanese government authorized the production of a new five yen coin. These new coins were first struck in 1948 and are made of a brass alloy consisting of 60 to 70% copper, and 30 to 40% zinc.[15][16] Using this type of alloy combination is now a remnant from when World War II era weapons were scrapped to produce the coins.[17] These coins feature a pigeon within a circle on one side and were only minted for two years. Two different varieties were made in 1949 which included the old pigeon type coins, and new coins featuring a hole in the center. These first holed five yen coins use an old style Japanese script known as Kaisho.[15] The Japanese government added the hole in the center of the coin to save material costs.[18] The overall design of the coin featuring rice, water and a gear on the obverse, and tree sprouts on the reverse has not changed since this time. The final design which is minted today uses a modern style script which was first added in 1959.[15]

Five yen coins made headlines in 1999 in regards to the nuclear accident at Tokai, Ibaraki. Physicists Masuchika Kohno and Yoshinobu Koizumi showed how the coin could be used to estimate neutron dosage to the surrounding population, by measuring its zinc isotope ratios. They concluded that the coin could offer information about the total neutron effect during the accident. The coins could also give insight about shielding modern Japanese houses as the coins were recovered from indoors.[19]

Very few five yen coins were minted between 2009 and 2013 making them premium coins for collectors as coins for the latter four years are confined to mint sets. This was due to an increase in the usage of electronic currency which inhibited demand for new coins.[20][21] Mintage figures recovered in 2014 and coins continue to be produced for circulation up to the present day.

Cultural significance[edit]

The Japanese for "five yen," go en (五円) is a homophone with go-en (御縁), "en" being a word for causal connection or relationship, and "go" being a respectful prefix.[22] As a result, five-yen coins are commonly given as donations at Shinto shrines with the intention of establishing a good connection with the deity of the shrine.[23] Several different interpretations of this "luck" exist depending on how many five yen coins are offered.[23] While it is generally said that offering "lucky" 5 yen coins as tribute is good, there are others who disagree. Those who hold this position state that "perforated coins" such as "5 yen" and "50 yen" are unlucky due to their central holes.[23] Shrines in general depend on offerings in either case to fund maintenance, repairs, and operations for the deity or deities enshrined.[24] There are also other forms of offerings welcomed at shrines depending on the place and customs allowed. According to a priest at Chichibu Shrine, harvested rice was historically given as Shinto deities do not like cash itself as tribute.[24] Five yen coins are also sometimes given as gifts of "good fortune" during the Japanese New Year.[25] These gifts are traditionally given to children in decorated envelopes called "Otoshidama" (年玉), with the total amount of money included depending on age.[25]

Composition[edit]

Years Material
1870–1930 90% gold, 10% copper
1948–present 65% copper, 35% zinc

Circulation figures[edit]

Meiji[edit]

5 yen coin from 1870 (year 3)
Design 1 - (1870–1871)
5 yen coin from 1872 (year 5)
Design 2 - (1872–1897)
5 yen coin from 1897 (year 30)
Design 3 - (1897–1930[b])

The following are circulation figures for the coins that were minted between the 3rd, and the 45th and last year of Meiji's reign. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 明治 (Meiji). One yen trade dollars and/or patterns are not included here.

  • Inscriptions on Japanese coins from this period are read clockwise from right to left:

"Year" ← "Number representing year of reign" ← "Emperor's name" (Ex: 年 ← 五十三 ← 治明)

Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage
03 3rd 1870 273,536[6]
04 4th 1871 00 Unknown[6]
05 5th 1872 1,057,628[7]
06 6th 1873 3,148,925[7]
07 7th 1874 728,082[7]
08 8th 1875 181,728[7]
09 9th 1876 146,226[7]
10th 1877 136,271[7]
11th 一十 1878 101,198[7]
13th 三十 1880 78,704[7]
14th 四十 1881 149,249[7]
15th 五十 1882 113,015[7]
16th 六十 1883 108,746[7]
17th 七十 1884 113,768[7]
18th 八十 1885 200,607[7]
19th 九十 1886 179,849[7]
20th 十二 1887 179,303[7]
21st 一十二 1888 165,794[7]
22nd 二十二 1889 353,914[7]
23rd 三十二 1890 238,076[7]
24th 四十二 1891 216,089[7]
25th 五十二 1892 263,103[7]
26th 六十二 1893 260,424[7]
27th 七十二 1894 314,337[7]
28th 八十二 1895 320,090[7]
29th 九十二 1896 224,325[7]
30th 十三 1897 (Type 1) 107,352[7]
30th 十三 1897 (Type 2)[c] 111,776[26]
31st 一十三 1898 55,888[26]
36th 六十三 1903 21,956[26]
44th 四十四 1911 59,880[26]
45th 五十四 1912 59,880[26]

Taishō[edit]

The following are circulation figures for the coins that were minted during the 2nd and 13th year of Taishō's reign. Coins from this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 大正 (Taishō).

  • Inscriptions on Japanese coins from this period are read clockwise from right to left:
"Year" ← "Number representing year of reign" ← "Emperor's name" (Ex: 年 ← 三十 ← 正大)
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage
2nd 1913 89,820[27]
13th 三十 1924 76,037[27]

Shōwa[edit]

5 yen coin from 1948 (year 23)
Design 1 - (1948–1949)
5 yen coin from 1949 (year 24)
Design 2 - (1949–1958)
5 yen coin from 1959 (year 34)
Design 3 - (1959–present)
Closeup of the "Old script" design
(Pre-1959)

The following are circulation dates which cover Emperor Hirohito's reign. The dates below correspond with the 23rd to the 64th year (last) of his reign. All five yen coins that were made before 1959 use kyūjitai, or old script Japanese. In 1949 only, two different styles of writing were used before a more modern one was established in 1950. This second style of writing was used until 1958 when the current script of Japanese took its place in the following year. Coins for this period will all begin with the Japanese symbol 昭和 (Shōwa).

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperor's name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 昭和 → 四十八 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage[28][29][d]
05 5th 1930 (Gold) 852,563[e]
23rd 二十三 1948 74,520,000
24th 二十四 1949 (Type 1) 179,692,000
24th 二十四 1949 (Type 2)[f] 111,896,000
25th 二十五 1950 181,824,000
26th 二十六 1951 197,980,000
27th 二十七 1952 55,000,000
28th 二十八 1953 45,000,000
32nd 三十二 1957 10,000,000
33rd 三十三 1958 (Old script) 50,000,000
34th 三十四 1959 (New script) 33,000,000
35th 三十五 1960 34,800,000
36th 三十六 1961 61,000,000
37th 三十七 1962 126,700,000
38th 三十八 1963 171,800,000
39th 三十九 1964 379,700,000
40th 四十 1965 384,200,000
41st 四十一 1966 163,100,000
42nd 四十二 1967 26,000,000
43rd 四十三 1968 114,000,000
44th 四十四 1969 240,000,000
45th 四十五 1970 340,000,000
46th 四十六 1971 362,050,000
47th 四十七 1972 562,950,000
48th 四十八 1973 745,000,000
49th 四十九 1974 950,000,000
50th 五十 1975 970,000,000
51st 五十一 1976 200,000,000
52nd 五十二 1977 340,000,000
53rd 五十三 1978 318,000,000
54th 五十四 1979 317,000,000
55th 五十五 1980 385,000,000
56th 五十六 1981 95,000,000
57th 五十七 1982 455,000,000
58th 五十八 1983 410,000,000
59th 五十九 1984 202,850,000
60th 六十 1985 153,150,000
61st 六十一 1986 113,960,000
62nd 六十二 1987 631,775,000
63rd 六十三 1988 396,120,000
64th 六十四 1989 67,332,000

Heisei[edit]

Heisei 5 yen coin from 2006 (year 18)

The following are circulation dates during the reign of Emperor Akihito (Heisei), who reigned from 1989 until his abdication in April 2019. The first year of his reign is marked with a 元 symbol on the coin as a one-year type. Coins for this period all begin with the kanji characters 平成 (Heisei). Five-yen coins dated between 2010 and 2013 were only released in mint sets.

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 平成 → 二十六 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage [28][d]
1st 1989 960,660,000
2nd 1990 520,953,000
3rd 1991 517,120,000
4th 1992 301,130,000
5th 1993 413,240,000
6th 1994 197,767,000
7th 1995 351,874,000
8th 1996 207,213,000
9th 1997 239,086,000
10th 1998 172,612,000
11th 十一 1999 60,120,000
12th 十二 2000 9,030,000
13th 十三 2001 78,025,000
14th 十四 2002 143,662,000
15th 十五 2003 102,406,000
16th 十六 2004 70,903,000
17th 十七 2005 16,029,000
18th 十八 2006 9,594,000
19th 十九 2007 9,904,000
20th 二十 2008 9,811,000
21st 二十一 2009 4,003,000
22nd 二十二 2010 510,000[g]
23rd 二十三 2011 456,000[g]
24th 二十四 2012 659,000[g]
25th 二十五 2013 554,000[g]
26th 二十六 2014 87,538,000
27th 二十七 2015 105,004,000
28th 二十八 2016 35,064,000
29th 二十九 2017 33,927,000
30th 三十 2018 17,960,000
31st 三十一 2019 16,946,000

Reiwa[edit]

The following are circulation dates in the reign of the current Emperor. Naruhito's accession to the Crysanthemum Throne took place on May 1, 2019 and he was formally enthroned on October 22, 2019. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 令和 (Reiwa). The inaugural year coin (2019) was marked 元 (first) and debuted during the summer of that year.[30]

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 令和 → 二 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage[28][d]
1st 2019 20,574,000
2nd 2020 29,528,000
3rd 2021 10,133,000
4th 2022 TBD

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In numismatic terminology, a "legend" is a formal inscription found around the margin of a coin.
  2. ^ The third and final gold coin design was also used during Taishō, and Shōwa's reign.
  3. ^ Two coin designs were made in 1897, the second type is smaller as the weight was changed from 8.3 to 4.2 grams
  4. ^ a b c Mintages on the Japan Mint website are in thousands
  5. ^ These coins were not in general use.[14]
  6. ^ Two coin designs were made in 1949, the second type resembles the current one in use today.
  7. ^ a b c d Not circulated.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edouard Frossard (1878). The Coin Collector's Journal. Vol. 3. Scott and Company. p. 40.
  2. ^ Annual Report of the Director of the United States Mint. United States Mint. 1895. p. 368.
  3. ^ A. Piatt Andrew, Quarterly Journal of Economics, "The End of the Mexican Dollar", 18:3:321–356, 1904, p. 345
  4. ^ United States House of Representatives (1876). Commercial Relations. House Documents. Vol. 15, Volume 284. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1092.
  5. ^ Edouard Frossard (1878). The Coin Collector's Journal. Vol. 3. Scott and Company. p. 40. and possibly some were struck in 1871, meiji 4, but we have not been able to find any bearing this date.
  6. ^ a b c "Japan 5 Yen Y# 11". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Japan 5 Yen Y# 11a". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  8. ^ New Coinage law of Japan. Sound Currency. Sound Currency Committee of the Reform Club. 1899. p. 28 & 29.
  9. ^ The Gold Standard in Japan. Sound Currency. Sound Currency Committee of the Reform Club. 1899. p. 29.
  10. ^ Statistics Department (1966). Supplement to Hundred-year Statistics of the Japanese Economy. Bank of Japan. p. 93.
  11. ^ Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law. Vol. 299. Columbia University Press. 1928. p. 101. But when America lifted her gold embargo in June, 1919, Japan soon began to import gold heavily. And this naturally reenforced the gold reserve of the Bank of Japan. It had been the opinion of government officials that no inflation could take place so long as the percentage of gold cover had not been lowered.
  12. ^ a b Bank of Japan Notes. Trade Information Bulletin. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1929. p. 20.
  13. ^ Currency. Commercial Travelers' Guide to the Far East. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1932. p. 231.
  14. ^ a b M. Epstein (1932). The Statesman's Year-Book. Springer. p. 1074. ISBN 9780230270619.
  15. ^ a b c "Current Coins list". Ministry of Finance (Japan). Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  16. ^ Annual Report of the Director of the Mint. Department of the Treasury. 1949. p. 82.
  17. ^ Currency of Japan -Guidance for Collection-. Japan Coin and Merchants Cooperative. 2010. pp. 184–186.
  18. ^ Yoichi Hirakawa (2013). 500 Common Senses That No One Can Ask Anymore. Kosaido Bunko. p. 194. ISBN 978-4331653395.
  19. ^ Kohno, Masuchika; Koizumi, Yoshinobu (2000). "Tokaimura accident: Neutron dose estimates from 5-yen coins". Nature. 406 (6797): 693. doi:10.1038/35021138. PMID 10963586. S2CID 4424321.
  20. ^ "プレミア硬貨の価値!種類・査定額・オススメの買取業者をご紹介". Kosenkaitori (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  21. ^ "【あなたも持ってる?】令和でさらに高騰しそうなプレミア硬貨!". dogatch.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "You may find mei mystifying". The Japan Times. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  23. ^ a b c "五円玉の魅力!お賽銭に5円玉が必要な18の理由". Osaisen (in Japanese). Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  24. ^ a b "お賽銭が銀行手数料で消えていく 大量硬貨の取り扱いと神社の悲鳴〈AERA〉". Yahoo News (in Japanese). Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  25. ^ a b Gill, Robin D. (2004). Topsy-turvy 1585: A Translation and Explication of Luis Frois S.J.'s Tratado (treatise) Listing 611 Ways Europeans & Japanese are Contrary. Paraverse Press. p. 676. ISBN 9780974261812.
  26. ^ a b c d e "Japan 5 Yen Y# 32". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Japan 5 Yen Y# 39". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d "年銘別貨幣製造枚数" (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan Mint. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  29. ^ "Japan 5 Yen Y# 51". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  30. ^ "Reiwa coins to debut summer 2019".

External links[edit]