Japanese Empire, Dai Nippon Teikoku Kokuritsu Ginko, (Imperial Japanese National Bank) 1 Yen 1877

1 Yen 1877 ©Bundesbank
For a brief period from 1872 onwards, several central banks enjoyed the authority to issue paper money, of which the banknote shown here, issued by the Imperial National Bank, is also an example. This step led to an inflationary increase in the amount of money in circulation, which is why these banks’ issuing rights were withdrawn in 1878, with the Bank of Japan (Nippon Ginko) becoming the sole national central bank in 1882.

The front side of this banknote bears the Japanese Emperor’s coat of arms and an imperial seal. The reverse side shows the Japanese God of Fortune, Ebisu, who was said to bring good luck to fishermen and prosperity to men of commerce. This ties in with the image of sailors gazing out to sea on the front of the banknote. This motif of success and prosperity being dispensed by Japan’s Shinto Gods of Fortune was subsequently used by the Bank of Japan in the design of one of its first ever banknotes.

[Data record Id. 57315]