The yen is the legal tender in Japan, and after the euro and the US dollar it is the most valued currency in the market.
Origins and history
The word “yen” means “circle” or “round object”. This currency was officially adopted by the Meiji government with the “New Currency Act” of 1871 in the hope of stabilising the monetary situation of the country at the time.
The yen replaced the monetary system of the Tokugawa era, a complex system based on the mon, a copper-based coin. After the devaluation of silver in 1873, the yen lost value compared to the US and Canadian dollars, which had adopted the gold standard. Subsequently, in the year 1897 the yen was scarcely worth 50 US cents. That year, Japan adopted the gold standard and that became the value of the yen. The sen and the rin, also in circulation until then, were removed in 1953.
Current yen coins and banknotes
Currently, there are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins in circulation since 2009.
Concerning banknotes, the current series was issued in 2004 with 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen notes in circulation.
Interesting facts of the Japanese yen
- The 1 yen coin weighs one gram.
- The image on the reverse side of the 5,000 yen banknote is the painting “The Kakitsubata Flowers”, by Ōgata Kōrin.
- Higher denominations of yen are counted in multiples of 10.000, whereas in most Western countries they are counted by thousands.