JAPAN 5 sen M-4 (1871 AD)


JAPAN, 5 sen, M-4 (1871 AD), Reverse: 53 rays, 65 beads, Edge: plain, silver, 0.0321 ozT, Y6.2, tiny cud on obverse, XF

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The Japanese government decided to modernize when the captain of an American ship demanded entry and the Japanese realized they couldn’t stop him. They fought a brief war of unification and proceeded to adopt all of the “hard” elements of western technology including coinage.

In 1852-53 the appearance of the American Commodore Perry in Japan demonstrated the inability of the shogun government to control his activities. Japanese decided they had to do something about this or it would be like China with their opium problem and foreigners doing whatever they wanted. They proceeded to have a palace coup and a short civil war that put a westernizing faction in power. Those people proceeded to a program of forced industrialization and western style administrative reform that built the Japan that beat Russia in 1905 lost World War II and is the number 3 or 4 richest country in the world today.

The big player in East Asia is China of course. Then there is Japan and Korea throw in Mongolia. South of China and east of India but not including for the most part the islands to the east is what we call Southeast Asia. From Burma to Malaya there have been a series of local kingdoms for about 2000 years. Russia with its Asian Siberia doesn’t count. We consider it part of Europe.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here generally the round flat shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern” though varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies and then they switched over to “modern coins” then they went toward paper money now we’re all going toward digital a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins to which the KM numbers refer.