Japan Hoei Tsuho 10 mon, 1708

Started by Finn235, August 25, 2017, 07:49:44 PM

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Wanted to share a favorite from my Japanese type set:

"Hoei Tsuho" 10 mon, 1708

Ho-ei-tsu-ho (Hoei Circulation Money)

Hei-kyu-sei-yo (For the everlasting use of the world / long-circulating currency) countermark Chin (Precious)

Japan was one of the last Asian countries to hold out against the colonizing trade pressures from the West. Christian missionaries were sent in to spread Western values and turn the peasantry against their feudal lords. Sensing the threat, the Shogunate declared Sakoku, or closed borders, in 1638. All western religions were outlawed, and all non-Japanese were forcibly expelled; foreign trade was prohibited, as was emigration.

By about 1700, the copper mines started to become exhausted under the pressure of producing bronze Mon coins to fuel the economy. Japan could not import copper, so a new solution was needed. In 1708, emperor Higashiyama commissioned a huge bronze coin to be worth 10 smaller Mon, while containing only about 3 mon worth of copper. The coins were marked as "precious" meaning they were to circulate alongside silver coins. These coins were too large to be wieldy for daily commerce, and their relatively low face value was not popular either. After briefly attempting to force the populace to adopt these coins, the towel was thrown in, and the coins were recalled.

In 1768 under continued pressure, the 4 mon coin was introduced, to much more widespread acceptance. The 1 mon were made until 1869, being continually debased with iron until they were switched to 100% iron, and bronze reserved for the 4 mon and massive 100 mon coins.


This is one of my favourite coins, because of the "eternal use" legend. TFP.

Quote from: Finn235 on August 25, 2017, 07:49:44 PM
Japan was one of the last Asian countries to hold out against the colonizing trade pressures from the West. (...) all non-Japanese were forcibly expelled; foreign trade was prohibited

As the French like to put it: yes, but no. There were two important exceptions to the "no foreigners" policy: Chinese and Dutch. Granted, they got a sort of a Club Med fenced in trading post only and could only travel outside escorted by official spies, but they were tolerated and could trade. I guess they weren't interested in colonising, but they were sure interested in making money by trading.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Thank you. It's ironic how the "eternal" Tokugawa types were some of the lonest lived.

And yes, you are correct about the trading post at Dejima, although from my understanding it had negligible impact on the Tokugawa economy as a whole. Speaking of, I have also wondered how well Japan's economy would have fared in the 19th century if they hadn't spent the first half of the 17th century exporting copper as quickly as they could via export coinage.