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Japanese Coins Throughout History

Japanese Coins Throughout History / Honkan Room 14   August 2, 2016 (Tue) - September 25, 2016 (Sun)

  
Tensho Hishi (With lozenge-shaped mark) Oban, Azuchi-Momoyama period, dated 1588 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)

Early examples of Japanese coins include bronze "Fuhonsen" and unmarked silver "Mumon Ginsen". Both of these types of coins were minted in the 7th century during the Asuka period. During the following 250 years, twelve types of bronze coins of the imperial court ("Kocho Junisen") were issued in Japan. Among these, "Wado Kaichin" were minted in the 8th century during the Nara period. In the late 10th century, during the Heian period, coin minting was suspended and imported Chinese bronze coins alone were circulated during the following Kamakura (1192–1333) and Muromachi (1392–1573) periods.

In the 16th century, during a time of civil war, gold and silver coins were minted within the domains of various feudal lords for commercial transactions as well as to reward distinguished services in battle. A prime example are the coins minted by the order of the powerful warlord Takeda Shingen (1521–73). Those coins, called "Koshukin", became the foundation of the monetary system in the following Edo period (1603–1868). Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98), a renowned warlord who unified Japan, ordered the first large-sized gold coins called "Tensho Oban" to be minted. From the Edo period onwards, the government of the shogun unified the monetary system while banning the use of imported coins, which led to the establishment of a uniquely Japanese monetary system.

This exhibition traces the history of coins from Japan's ancient to early modern times with authentic examples of coins that many Japanese have seen in textbooks and historical dramas.

 

 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Tensho Hishi (With lozenge-shaped mark) Oban, Gold coin, Azuchi-Momoyama period, dated 1588 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)
Wado Kaichin, Bronze coin, Nara period, 8th century (Imperial Household Ministry)
Hirumokin (In shape of hirumo plant), Gold coin, Muromachi period, 16th century (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)
Tensho Naga (Long) Oban, Gold coin, Azuchi-Momoyama period, ca. 1595-1600 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)
Tenpo Oban, Gold coin, Edo period, 1838-41 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)
Keicho Koban, Gold coin, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, dated 1601? - 95 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)
Genroku Koban, Gold coin, Edo period, 1695-1710 (Gift of Mr. Okawa Isao)