The Japanese yen is the official currency of Japan and, after the US dollar and the euro, is the third most-traded currency in the world, with 23% of daily foreign exchange turnover.1) Retrieved 22 May 2015 The yen is managed by the Bank of Japan. The yen is divided in 100 sen and 1,000 ren. The yen is symbolised by ¥ and trades with the currency code JPY. Yen is pronounced “en” in Japanese and means “round”.

Japanese Yen History

Through the long history of Japanese currency, commodity money, such as arrowheads and rice, had its place, along with the introduction of coinage. The yen was introduced in 1871, closely mirroring the currency systems in the West. The Meiji Restoration, which brought imperial rule back to Japan, moving out of a feudal society into a market economy, was responsible for the development of the more modern Japanese currency system. The New Currency Act of 1871 created a gold standard alongside Western societies. The National Bank Act of 1872 created a banking system, which allowed for the introduction of banknotes alongside coins. In 1882, the Bank of Japan centralised the banking system. Until World War II, old currency was still acceptable as was the new yen. Up through the 1980s, the yen did not rise in value as hoped. The yen’s weakness to the US dollar allowed favourable trade surpluses throughout the decade. The value of yen sank to a low of ¥134 to US$1 in 2002. After the 2008 financial crisis, yen picked up relative to other currencies.

Japanese Yen Bills and Coins

Yen coins were introduced in 1870 and have been made of gold, silver, copper and other metals over the years. Coins are issued in ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100 and ¥500 denominations. The ¥1 coin is aluminum, can float in water, and has the year of production and a “1” on the front side, and a symbol of a young tree on the reverse.2) Retrieved 26 May 2015 Other coins feature flowers, rice and temples.

Yen bills are issued in ¥1,000; ¥2,000; ¥5,000; and ¥10,000 denominations. Banknotes feature sophisticated security features like microprinting, latent images, luminescent ink and holograms.

There is roughly US$1 trillion worth of yen in circulation.3) Retrieved 26 May 2015

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