Author Topic: 5 Yen  (Read 115 times)

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Offline gpimper

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5 Yen
« on: January 06, 2020, 06:42:02 PM »
Ri Ben Guo (Japan) or Ping cheng ba nian (Chinese translation; the Wife is good :-)  1996 5 Yen (the 8th year of the Emperor's reign).  Judging by the date I probably picked this up during my 2002 deployment to Okinawa.  3.75 g and 20mm.  Neat little coin.
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Figleaf

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Re: 5 Yen
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2020, 09:02:00 PM »
The top three characters are 日本国, Nihon koku - state of Japan. The bottom characters are 平成八年, Heisei hachi nen - Year 8 of the Heisei era (1996). On the other side is the denomination, 五円 go en - five yen. In other words, if you know the characters for the numbers, you can find the value and the regnal year. Add the character for yen and and you have a complete denomination.

This design was introduced in 1949 (Showa 24). That explains the symbolism: rice, water and cog wheel, for agriculture, fisheries and industry. Services are missing. Note also how, if the hole had been square, the metal and shape would have been like a cash coin. There was no need for a hole, punching it in increases the number of possible errors and holes make the designer's job more difficult, so the best explanation for the hole is tradition. The designer did an excellent job by using the hole as centrepiece for the cog wheel, letting the hole touch the water and folding the rice stalk around it. This simplicity, elegance and the reference to cash coins makes this coin a worthy representative of Japanese culture.

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

Offline gpimper

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Re: 5 Yen
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2020, 12:02:55 AM »
Peter, I have to agree.  At first look it seems simplistic but once you get into the details it's really a very interesting coin!  Very much Japan :-)  I've spent at least three years there.  Great place.
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Figleaf

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Re: 5 Yen
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2020, 06:02:35 AM »
Very much agreed, Greg. Once you take the time to look what's on the coin, even a common coin, there's much to see and think about. I forgot one symbol above: the two text separators. They are seedlings, the first two leaves coming out of the ground. Taken together with the economic symbolism on the other side, they refer to Japan's reconstruction after the second world war. The country's post-war constitution put heavy restrictions on re-arming, while facilitating economic development. The seedlings stand for Japan rising again, but as an economic power.

There is an interesting parallel on the German 50 pfennig issued after the second world war. It shows a woman planting a seedling. In this case also, the symbolism refers to a new beginning.

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