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Hansatsu (clan note) for 1 momme of silver


Height: 174.000 mm
Width: 45.000 mm

CM 1981-1-22-42

Coins and Medals

    Hansatsu (clan note) for 1 momme of silver

    From southern Japan
    Edo period, AD 1777

    Note issued by the Amagasaki clan

    Paper money was first issued in Japan in the early seventeenth century, when serious shortages of coins hampered day-to-day financial transactions. Only the Tokugawa Shogunate, the central government of Japan, had the right to make coins. The daimyō were prohibited from issuing coins and so instead they issued paper money. These notes were called hansatsu, or 'clan notes', and had a restricted circulation within the local clan territory.

    The earliest hansatsu was issued by the Fukui clan in 1661. Other clan rulers soon realized the advantages of issuing and controlling their own paper money. In addition to relieving the shortage of coins, hansatsu also generated financial income; they helped the feudal clan rulers to balance their finances, create a monopoly system, and provide relief funds for impoverished samurai and commoners. Some clan territories had well-developed commodity economies, and would make vast profits by paying for goods in notes, and re-selling the goods for coins.

    Most early issues were made by the feudal clans, but later issues were also made by towns, temples and court nobles. Like this note for 1 momme of silver, most hansatsu had values in terms of the gold, silver and copper coins of the Tokugawa Shogunate, but a few were denominated in rice, wine or oil.


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