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Old Japanese money

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Japanese coins

There are 6 types of coins currently minted in Japan. The 500 yen coin, the 100 yen coin, the 50 yen coin, the 10 yen coin, the 5 yen coin, and the 1 yen coin.

The name 'Yen' actually means 'round object' and the modern version of the monetary system was part of the Meiji government national reforms.

In this very interesting blog from Japanese teacher Noriko Yokozuka tells the amusing tale of how she became interested in old Japanese money and coins.

Please watch the video because you can see the visual images expressed in the blog and also listen to Japanese being read fluently.

Old Japanese money




 古銭集めが趣味、ではないのですが、古いお金を持っています。 明治10年の2銭。それも、たった1枚だけです。 祖父からもらったものです。祖父は、祖父の伯父からもらったそうです。 もしかして価値のあるお金かと思い、「明治10年 2」で検索してみました。


 そういえば子どものころ、ギザギザの10円玉は価値があるという話が学校で流行って、集めようと思ったことがあります。ギザギザの10円玉とは、10円玉のがあり、ギザギザしている10円玉のことです。「10円 ギザギザ」で検索してみたところ、「ギザ十」と呼ばれているそうです。特別な呼び方があるのなら、少しは価値があるのかなと思いましたが、やはりそれも、特に希少性があるわけではないようです。



To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.


 古銭(こせん)集(あつ)めが趣味(しゅみ)、ではないのですが、古(ふる)いお金(かね)を持(も)っています。 明治(めいじ)10年(ねん)の2銭(せん)。それも、たった1枚(まい)だけです。 祖父(そふ)からもらったものです。祖父は、祖父の伯父(おじ)からもらったそうです。 もしかして価値(かち)のあるお金かと思(おも)い、「明治10年 2」で検索(けんさく)してみました。


 そういえば子(こ)どものころ、ギザギザの10円玉(えんだま)は価値があるという話(はなし)が学校(がっこう)で流行(はや)って、集(あつ)めようと思(おも)ったことがあります。ギザギザの10円玉とは、10円玉の縁(ふち)溝(みぞ)があり、ギザギザしている10円玉のことです。「10円 ギザギザ」で検索してみたところ、「ギザ十(じゅう)」と呼(よ)ばれているそうです。特別な呼び方(かた)があるのなら、少(すこ)しは価値があるのかなと思いましたが、やはりそれも、特(とく)に希少性があるわけではないようです。


Old Japanese money

Collecting old coins is not a hobby of mine, but I do have some old money. I have a 2 sen coin from the tenth year of the Meiji era. And even then, its only one of them. I received it from my grandfather. My grandfather received it from his uncle. I thought that could have some value. I tried to look it up, “a 2 sen coin from Meiji 10”.

To begin with, I had never been interested in coins until now, and when I searched about it on the Internet, I didn't get it. But I did come to understand one thing out after looking at several sites, and that was that the coin was not particularly rare.

Now that I think about it, there was a story that was popular in my school when I was a child, which was that 'Giza-giza 10 yens' were valuable and I remember thinking about collecting them. 'Giza-giza 10 yens' are 10 yen coins which have grooves around the edges making them 'giza-giza' or jagged edged. When I looked up 'Giza-giza 10 yens' I found out that they are known as 'Giza-giza Juu'. If it has a special nick-name, then it must be worth something, I thought. But these were also not particularly rare.

Nowadays, you don't see the clearly jagged edge coins anymore, only really seldom do you come across one. When I see one next, I am not going to use it at that time but will save it. Then after I get older, I would like to give it to someone, I thought feelingly to myself.

古銭(こせん) an old coin

明治(めいじ) 1868年~1912年の時代(じだい)。 The Meiji era

銭(せん) お金の単位(たんい)。円の100分の1。A subunit of the yen (1 hundredth of a yen)

検索(けんさく) a search

そもそも in the first place; to begin with.

ピンとくる to get (a joke or explanation); to strike home; to click; to know intuitively

希少性(きしょうせい) scarcity; rarity

ギザギザ notches; mill

縁(ふち) an edge

溝(みぞ) a ditch; a groove

めっきり remarkably

しみじみ feelingly


Konnichi-wa, everybody. I am originally from Ringo-no-ri in Aomori prefecture, but I am now living in Kakaa-tenka in Gunma prefecture. I've lived in several other of Japan's prefectures as well, including Niigata (which has gorgeous sunsets), Tochigi (where the Nikko Toshogu shrine is located), and Gifu (land of the famous Shirakawa-go area of historic rafter roofed houses).

I myself am studying Chinese, so I can really relate to the difficulty of learning a foreign language. But still, if we can get past that step and feel the excitement of having just a single word understood, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from communication is, no pun intended, beyond words. I'd like to invite everyone who visits our online Japanese school with the thought "I want to speak Japanese!" to join my classes. Until the day when you can say confidently, "I did it, I learned how to speak Japanese!", I promise to do my best to help you in your Japanese language studies.

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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021