JAPAN, 20 yen, (1930)


JAPAN, 20 yen, no date (1930), Face: Danzan shrine L, Fujiwara Kamatari R, Back: shrine, block 12, P41a, VG

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The 20 yen was an uncommon denomination in the pre-World War II period.

Japan’s national paper money was part of its surge into the European style of government in the 1870s.

Aside from China, other governments started using circulating “banknotes” starting in the 17th century AD. The practice became general in the 19th century. In the 20th century value of paper money in circulation far surpassed the value of coinage. In the 21st century paper money is fading and credit transactions are growing.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.