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1 Yen 1946, Japan

in Krause book Number: 85a
Years of issue: 19.03.1946
Signatures: no signature
Serie: Serie A (1946 - 1948)
Specimen of: 1946
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 124 x 68
Printer: National Printing Bureau, Tokyo

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** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

1 Yen 1946






1 Yen 1946

Ninomiya Sontoku (二宮 尊徳, September 4, 1787 – November 17, 1856), born Ninomiya Kinjirō (二宮 金次郎), was a prominent XIX-century Japanese agricultural leader, philosopher, moralist and economist.

Ninomiya Sontoku was born to a poor peasant family with a name of Kinjiro in Kayama (栢山) Ashigarakami-gun Sagami province. His father died when he was 14 and his mother died two years later. He was then placed in his uncle's household. While working in his uncle's land, Sontoku studied on his own. He later obtained abandoned land on his own and transformed it into agricultural land, eventually restoring his household on his own at the age of 20 and achieved considerable wealth as a landlord while in his 20s. He was then recruited to run his small feudal district which was facing considerable financial difficulty. He achieved this by reviving local economy, particularly through agricultural development. The daimyo, hearing of his achievement, eventually recruited Sontoku to run Odawara Domain then Sagami Province. It is said that during his administration a famine struck Odawara and Sontoku proposed opening up the public granaries to feed the starving populace. He was opposed by his fellow bureaucrats who reminded him that permission first had to be granted by the Shogun for commoners to have access to the rice stores. In that case, Sontoku replied, no one, including the bureaucrats, could eat the public rice before getting the Shogun's approval. They quickly changed their minds and decided that since it was an emergency, the people should be fed immediately. He was eventually entrusted with one of Shogunate's estate, which was great honour for someone of his low origin. His philosophy and methodology became a standard format in feudal land, developmental and economic management. The name "Sontoku" was given to him for his accomplishments. After his death, the emperor awarded him with Jyu Yoni, Lower Fourth Honour under the ritsuryō rank system.

Though he did not leave written philosophical work, his ideas were later transcribed by his disciples, namely Tomita Takayoshi, Fukuzumi Masae and Saitō Takayuki. Ninomiya combined three strands of traditional teachings Buddhism, Shintōism and Confucianism and transformed them into practical ethical principles which matured out of his experiences. He saw agriculture as the highest form of humanity because it was the cultivation of resources given by the Kami.

Ninomiya Sontoku emphasized the importance of compound interest which was not well understood among samurai and peasants. He calculated the maturity of each interest rate for 100 years to show its significance by using the Japanese abacus or soroban. In terms of agriculture, he viewed agricultural village life as communal, where surpluses from one year were invested to develop further land or saved for worse years, and shared by members of the community. He was aware that developed land had a lower tax base than established agricultural land and he was adept at financial management which he applied to his estate. He also encouraged immigrants from other estates and rewarded them if they successfully established an agricultural household. He also started his own financial institutions called gojoukou (五常講 ごじょうこう), which appear to be a forerunner of credit union. Each member of the village union could borrow funds interest free for 100 days, while the entire membership shared the cost in case of default. Combination of land development, immigration and communal finance all managed under diligent utilisation of abacus was a success and became the standard methodology of economic development in feudal Japan.

It is not uncommon to see statues of Ninomiya in or in front of Japanese schools, especially elementary schools. Typically these statues show him as a boy reading a book while walking and carrying firewood on his back. These statues are depicting popular stories that said Ninomiya was reading and studying during every moment he could.

There is a reference to him in the novel Obasan by Joy Kogawa. Father tells the story of Ninomiya Sontoku to his children often, telling how "Up early to the mountains for wood before the rooster calls 'ko-ke-kok-ko!' He studies and works every and every day to feed his baby brother and his mother. That is how he becomes the great teacher, Ninomiya Sontaku of Odawara, Japan." (Kogawa 63).


On top is the Imperial seal.

The Imperial Seal of Japan, also called the Chrysanthemum Seal (菊紋? kikumon), Chrysanthemum Flower Seal (菊花紋, 菊花紋章 kikukamon, kikukamonshō) or Imperial chrysanthemum emblem (菊の御紋? kikunogomon), is one of the national seals and a crest (mon) used by the Emperor of Japan and members of the Imperial Family. It is a contrast to the Paulownia Seal used by the Japanese government.

During the Meiji period, no one was permitted to use the Imperial Seal except the Emperor of Japan, who used a 16 petal chrysanthemum with sixteen tips of another row of petals showing behind the first row. Therefore, each member of the Imperial family used a slightly modified version of the seal. Shinto shrines either displayed the imperial seal or incorporated elements of the seal into their own emblems.

Earlier in Japanese history, when Emperor Go-Daigo, who tried to break the power of the shogunate in 1333, was exiled, he adopted the seventeen-petal chrysanthemum to differentiate himself from the Northern Court's Emperor Kōgon, who kept the imperial 16-petal mon.

The symbol is a yellow or orange chrysanthemum with black or red outlines and background. A central disc is surrounded by a front set of 16 petals. A rear set of 16 petals are half staggered in relation to the front set and are visible at the edges of the flower. An example of the chrysanthemum being used is in the badge for the Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Other members of the Imperial Family use a version with 14 single petals, while a form with 16 single petals is used for Diet members' pins, orders, passports, and other items that carry or represent the authority of the Emperor. The Imperial Seal is also used on the standards of the Imperial Family.

The red seal of the Bank of Japan is left of center, at the bottom.

Below is a Cockerel (rooster), sitting on the ears of wheat and corn. Wheat and corn, probably, symbolize the peasant roots of Ninomiya Kinjirō.

In Japan, the cock is a sacred animal.

According to Japanese mythology, the world turned dark when the sun god, Amaterasu Omikami, hid in a cave. Amenouzume no Mikoto performed a dance to lure her out. Another god, Amenotajikara no Mikoto opened the door to the cave as his son, Amenohiwashi no Mikoto, played a stringed instrument called the gen.

Since a rooster was perched on the instrument when light returned to the world, it was regarded as an auspicious omen. Since then, a rooster has been enshrined throughout Japan as the god who will improve and enhance one’s fortune and prosperity, and also came to be worshipped in Asakusa.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners, in words centered.


1 Yen 1946

sun symbol

On top is the sun symbol.

The Sun symbol is one of the twelve symbols of power. In most cultures this is the main symbol of creative energy. The sun is often perceived as the supreme deity itself or as the embodiment of its all-pervasive power. Despite the geocentric picture of the universe that dominated ancient astronomy, some of the earliest paintings of the universe showed the Sun as the symbolic center or heart of the Cosmos.

In the Japanese, the Sun is the goddess of women and serpents Amaterasu, "the one who owns the great Sun", born from the left eye of Izanagi and from whom it is believed that the mikado is the rising Sun, which is the symbol of Japan. The Japanese myth offers a somewhat farcical treatment of this theme: the goddess of the sun Amaterasu hid in a cave, and it took a trick to entice her from there (read the obverse).

Guilloche rosette with acanthus leaves.


Withdrawn from circulation at 01.10.1958.