Japanese government-issued Philippine peso

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Japanese government-issued Philippine peso
Peso (English), (Tagalog), (Spanish)
PHI-114-Japanese Government (Philippines)-500 Pesos (1944).jpg
Obverse and reverse of the 500 pesos note, 1944-1945
Central bank Japanese government
User(s) Philippines Second Philippine Republic
 1/100 Cent
Centavo or Céntimo (Spanish)
Sentimo (Tagalog)
Plural pesos
Banknotes 1₱, 5₱, 10₱, 100₱, 500₱, 1000₱
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

During World War II in the Philippines, the occupying Japanese government issued fiat currency in several denominations; this is known as the Japanese government-issued Philippine fiat peso (see also Japanese invasion money). The puppet state under José P. Laurel outlawed possession of guerrilla currency, and declared a monopoly on the issuance of money, so that anyone found to possess guerrilla notes could be arrested.

Like most Japanese colonial currency from this period, a letter code was used on many of the notes. The first or top letter “P” indicates the note was printed and issued for Philippines. The second letter or letters indicate the block (or printing batch) of the note, there are single letter blocks and double letter blocks for Philippines where this system applies. Later two letter blocks can be identified by a hyphen separating the letter "P" from the block letters. Other issues used serial numbers in an effort to prevent counterfeiting, which had become widespread. However, imperfections in this system sometimes resulted in multiple notes with the same serial number. Later in the war, ink shortages and unconventional cheap ink alternatives resulted in poor quality printing giving rise to a fairly wide variety of coloration and quality, with some notes having faint and broken details in their printing and others having thick and even blotchy printing. When these notes were demonetized, two punch holes were made through the notes to indicate they had been "cancelled" and no longer had redeemable value.

Some Filipinos called the fiat peso "Mickey Mouse money". Many survivors of the war[who?] tell stories of going to the market laden with suitcases or "bayong" (native bags made of woven coconut or buri leaf strips) overflowing with the Japanese-issued bills. According to one witness, 75 "Mickey Mouse" pesos, or about 35 U.S. dollars at that time, could buy one duck egg.[1] In 1944, a box of matches cost more than 100 Mickey Mouse pesos.[2]

These bills were often used by American psychological warfare personnel as propaganda leaflets. Japanese occupation banknotes were overprinted with the words "The Co-prosperity Sphere: What is it worth?", in an attempt to discredit the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and dropped from Allied aircraft over the occupied territories.[3]


1942 series[edit]

1942 issue of Japanese invasion money (Philippine peso)
Image Value Issue date Series
PHI-102b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1 Centavo (1942).jpg 1 Centavo 1942 First
PHI-103b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-5 Centavos (1942).jpg 5 Centavos 1942 First
PHI-104b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-10 Centavos (1942).jpg 10 Centavos 1942 First
PHI-105b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-50 Centavos (1942).jpg 50 Centavos 1942 First
PHI-106-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1 Peso (1942).jpg 1 Peso 1942 First
PHI-107A-Japanese Government (Philippines)-5 Pesos (1942).jpg 5 Pesos 1942 First
PHI-108-Japanese Government (Philippines)-10 Pesos (1942).jpg 10 Pesos 1942 First

1943–45 series[edit]

A new series of 1, 5, and 10 peso bills was issued in 1943. Hyperinflation had also forced the Japanese to issue 100, 500, and 1000 peso notes in 1944.

1943–45 issue of Japanese invasion money (Philippine peso)
Image Value Issue date Series
PHI-109-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1 Peso (1943).jpg 1 Peso 1943 Second
PHI-110-Japanese Government (Philippines)-5 Pesos (1943).jpg 5 Pesos 1943 Second
PHI-111-Japanese Government (Philippines)-10 Pesos (1943).jpg 10 Pesos 1943 Second
PHI-112-Japanese Government (Philippines)-100 Pesos (1944).jpg 100 Pesos 1944 Second
PHI-114-Japanese Government (Philippines)-500 Pesos (1944).jpg 500 Pesos 1944 Second
PHI-115-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1000 Pesos (1945).jpg 1,000 Pesos 1945 Second

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barbara A. Noe (August 7, 2005). "A Return to Wartime Philippines". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2006-11-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ Agoncillo, Teodoro A. & Guerrero, Milagros C., History of the Filipino People, 1986, R.P. Garcia Publishing Company, Quezon City, Philippines
  3. ^ Friedman, Herbert A. "WWII Allied Propaganda Banknotes". Retrieved 2010-04-17. 

External links[edit]