Japan 1668 1 Mon Kanei Tsuho Square Hole Copper Cash Coin with Bun Mint Mark for Edo (Tokyo)
List Price: $29.95 - Savings: $10.00
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Revisit the era of samurai, daimyo and shoguns in
fedual Japan with this 340-year-old square hole coin!
about holding history in your hands - literally! This 1668-Bun 1 Mon
Square Hole Kanei Tsuho coin is 340 years old! It was cast in solid
copper nearly three and a half centuries ago in what is now modern
Tokyo, then called Edo (Yedo or Yeddo). These coins were issued by the
most powerful warlord in the land, the de facto ruler of Japan, the
Tokugawa Shogun Ietsuna, the fourth of this dynasty. Think of all the
hands this coin has passed through and how much history it has
Click here for a Dragon Square
Hole Pure Silver Proof from Canada!
Travel back in time to storied feudal Japan - to
the land of samurai,
daimyo (warlords) and shoguns! This much-mythologized period has been
widely celebrated in the popular media and arts. From NBC's Heroes
to the novel
to the Tom Cruise big-screen epic The
feudal Japan has captured our collective imagination for decades. The
original kanei tsuho coins were made at the
Edo mint, which was most likely inside Edo Castle proper, the main
stronghold of the shogunate in Tokyo.
was the main unit of currency in Japan until 1870, when it was
replaced by the yen
It resembles and was derived from the Chinese wen
or cash coin. The coins have a square hole in the middle, which allowed
them to be produced using less metal than a solid coin, but which more
importantly allowed them to be strung together on a piece of string,
for easy transport and payment.
The "bun" mint mark is the kanji
character on the reverse of the coin
(文). It indicates that this coin was cast in Edo (modern-day Tokyo).
The coins are sometimes called bunsen
because of the "bun" character.
The term "bun" is the second syllable of the Japanese word kanbun
(Japanese: 寛文). The Kanbun era is the name for the Japanese era
spanning the years 1661 to 1673, during which the coins were made.
Kanei Tsuho coins are named after the era in which they were
introduced. Kanei (often written "Kan'ei" (Japanese: 寛永)) is the name
of the Japanese era spanning the years 1624 through 1643. Thus the term
literally means "money of the Kan'ei era". Even though the
Kan'ei era ended in 1643, the term for the 1 Mon coins remained in use
for over two hundred years!
Despite their high grade and attractive appearance, these coins are not
reproductions. Each coin is guaranteed to be an original, solid copper
1668-Bun Square Hole 1 Mon, cast in Edo (Tokyo) and grading a very nice
very fine. A little bit of verdigris is typical on these coins, but
they are much nicer than usually found (when they can be found at all!).
For a more detailed exploration of the Tokugawa Shogunate, as
as the city of Edo and the culture of the Floating World, please see
the article further down in this presentation.
The Franco-Japanese Coin Program
artistic coin program commemorates the 150th anniversary of the
establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Japan with
three different designs, each available on a silver 1.5 euro and a gold
10 euro proof. The obverse of each coin depicts a different aspect of
art or commerce:
1) Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People
a French painting of the ideal of democracy, the form of government
both France and Japan enjoy.
2) A Japanese woodblock print depicting
a second Japanese
art form, the theater, features kabuki
actor Ichikawa Ebizo IV by the
mysterious artist Sharaku.
3) A kanei tsuho
square hole Japanese coin, representing commerce, exactingly reproduced
on a modern French coin. This coin also pays tribute to the
centuries-old numismatic tradition of Japan.
The reverse, common to all coins in this program, is an ingenious
amalgam of key icons of each country - a
kimono and the Rising Sun for Japan, and the Eiffel Tower for France.
Click here for all coins in the
Franco-Japanese Relations Program!
The characters kanei and tsuho mark this
square hole cash coin as a one mon copper coin from 1668.
The Bun mint mark
indicates that this kanei tsuho was struck in Edo (Tokyo), at the mint
of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
||5 g +/-
the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the Floating World
(Japanese: 江戸; formerly spelled Yedo or Yeddo) is the former name of
the Japanese capital
Tokyo, and was the seat of power for the Tokugawa Shogunate. Edo
started in the middle ages as an obscure fishing village, but the
building of a feudal castle in 1457 increased its status. When the
Tokugawa Shogunate came to power, with Edo as its de facto capital, its
prestige increased significantly. By 1721 the feudal town had
sprawling metropolis with over 1,000,000 residents, making it the
largest city in the world at the time!
Edo was repeatedly devastated by fires, with the Great Fire of Meireki
in 1657, in which an estimated 100,000 people died, the most
disastrous. During the Tokugawa period there were about one
hundred fires, typically started by accident and often quickly
escalating to giant proportions, spreading through neighborhoods of
wooden houses heated by charcoal fires.
The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled
Japan from 1600 to 1868, a time known as the Edo period. During this
era the effective power rested with the shogun in Edo, not the emperor
in Kyoto, even though the former ostensibly owed his position to the
latter. The shogun controlled foreign policy, the military and feudal
patronage. The role of the emperor was ceremonial, similar to the
position of the Japanese monarchy after the Second World War.
During the Edo period the city became the site of a vibrant urban
centered on notions of ukiyo
or the "Floating World" (Japanese: 浮世 and 憂世). "The Floating World" is
a term used to describe
many aspects of life, including, but not limited to, the
pleasure-seeking lifestyle and culture of the Edo Period.
view of the Floating World is centered on Yoshiwara, the licensed
red-light district of Edo. The area's brothels,
teahouses and kabuki theaters were frequented by Japan's growing middle
class. The Floating World culture also was prevalent in Japan's other
major cities of the time, Kyoto and Osaka. The famous Japanese
prints known as ukiyo-e
or "pictures of the Floating World", depict
scenes from the Floating World: geisha, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers,
samurai, chonin (or merchants) and prostitutes.
The Opening of Japan
On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy
sailed into Tokyo Bay with his four-ship squadron, in what has famously
become known as the Opening of Japan. Previously, the Japanese
shogunate had practiced a 200-year policy of isolation, in which only a
handful of foreigners were tolerated. Perry’s negotiations
culminated with the Convention of Kanagawa (the
in March, 1854, which granted limited rights. A much more extensive
trade agreement, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (the
Treaty”), was concluded by the first American Consul General
Japan, Townsend Harris, on July 29, 1858. (A Japanese woodblock print
of Commodore Perry in naval dress uniform, c. 1854, can be seen at
France quickly followed suit, signing the Franco-Japanese Treaty of
Peace, Friendship and Commerce on October 9 of the same year. Both
countries quickly benefited. France became a model for Japanese
modernization, while Japanese art and culture quickly permeated France.
Naturalistically stylized Japanese forms such as etchings, watercolors
and ceramics strongly influenced the French art world, inspiring the
Impressionist movement. One hundred fifty years later, this mutually
advantageous exchange continues.
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