500 Yen

Started by gpimper, December 12, 2019, 05:42:12 PM

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Ri Ben Guo (Japan).  500 Yen is the largest coin domination as far as I know.  The wife rocks "Heisei Shier Nian" (I think that means Emperor Akihito but don't quote me on that :-)  Copper/Zinc/Nickel mix, 26.5 mm and 7.0 g.  I think 2000 so I probably pocketed it my last deployment to Japan.  Pretty coin!
The Chief...aka Greg


 :applause: for your wife. Japanese characters are different from Chinese characters - unless they are not (kanji) :) but when they are the same, they are pronounced differently. Above is the official country name, 日 本 国, Ni hon Tsu kuni, literally state of Japan. Below the blooming Paulownia plant is the denomination, 500 yen (五 百 円). Note that the character for yen is used on Chinese coins for yuan. Chinese, Japanese and Koreans use the same characters for numbers, so it pays to be able to recognise them.

The 5 characters on the other side, are the era name Heisei (平 成) and the regnal year (十 ニ  年). The name of the emperor may not be used, but Heisei indeed stands for emperor Akihito. Regnal year 1 of Heisei was 1989, so regnal year 12 is 2000 AD.

The 500 yen coin of 7.2 grams succeeds a banknote. An important factor in its introduction in 1982 was the wish of the Japanese national railroad company (JNR) for this denomination to facilitate the sale of train tickets in machines. Japan is in love with vending machines and both they and JNR are models of efficiency, as long as you can read Japanese. Woe on those who can't. :'(

As the highest denomination, the 500 yen suffers from imitations. The best replacement turned out to be the official Korean 500 won piece, worth a whole lot less. Though Japan has organised crime rings, the Yakuza, Koreans were blamed for importing large amounts of 500 won coins of 7.7 grams. A change of shading of the numerals in 1982 did not help, so the metal was changed from copper-nickel to nickel-brass (copper and nickel with aluminium added), lowering the weight to 7.0 grams. The implied change in magnetic signature and weight were apparently enough to keep Korean coins out of Japanese vending machines. However, note that you can find the common name for Japan, Nippon, (Ni hon, 日本) in latin micro characters on the figures of the denomination. On the 5, they are inside the upper and lower part of the lower, bent line, where it meets the vertical line. On the zeroes, they are down below, left and right of the lowest horizontal line of the shading.

The Heisei era ended in 2019 as emperor Akihito abdicated. New coins have the era name Reiwa (令 和), but are otherwise the same.

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