Coins Of The Sickly Emperor #2: 50 Sen (Imperial Japan, 1922)-Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This silver coin is an Imperial Japanese 50 Sen, dated 1922. The 50 Sen coin represented the 5th denomination denomination, of the Taishō-era Yen. The coin is a reeded-edged design made of Silver (.720 fineness) and weighs 4.95 g. Its dimensions are 23.50 mm (0.925 in) wide, and 1.04 mm (0.041 in). Making is slightly smaller and thinner than a US Quarter.


The Taishō-era 50 Sen entered circulation on the 11th year of Emperor Taishō's rule (1922). And was last issued on his 15th year (1926). The design of the Taishō-era 50 Sen was closely copied by it's successor the Shōwa era 50 Sen (1928-1938). Brass versions of the 50 Sen were issued until in 1948. In 1953, the Sen denomination was abolished, due to inflation.

Observe

The obverse’s center features coin's 50 Sen value, expressed in Japanese kanji (五 十錢). The kanji is arranged vertically and read top-down. At the top of the kanji is chrysanthemum, the symbol of the Japanese Emperor and the Imperial Family. At the bottom is the paulownia crest, the symbol of the Japanese Prime Minister.


This center design acts as a partition, for a pair of stylized Suzaku (Vermilion Birds). They originate from the Chinese Zhūquè (朱雀) and share similarities to the phoenix. Vermilion Birds are described as pheasant-like, with red bodies and five-colored plumage. Which are sometimes depicted as perpetually covered in flames.


The Golden Pheasant, also known as the Chinese Pheasant, and Rainbow Pheasant. Is believed to be a possible inspiration of both the mythological Chinese Zhūquè and Greek Phoenix. With similar birds being described by Herodotus ( 484-425 BCE), as being a rarity in Egypt. Being highly revered in sun temples and brought by traders from Arabia.


The interior of the coin's rim is lined by squared serrations, this feature is present on both side.

Reverse

The reverse's center features a shining sacred mirror flanked by a pair of cherry blossoms. The upper text reads “Great Japan” (本 日 大), below reads “Year 11 of Taishō” (年一 十 正 大). All is divided by a inner rim shaped like a chrysanthemum.


Notably each coin is read clockwise, from right to left. Individuals unfamiliar with this system, may accidentally translate the issue year backwards. The issue year being the 3rd and 4th symbol on the lower text. Another area of concern is properly identifying the issue period.


The 1st and 2nd symbol represents the period of Imperial rule, such as the Taishō era (正 大). Due to similarities in design to the later Shōwa era (和 昭) coins. Both imperial series can easily by misidentified for each other.


The Sickly Emperor

Despite the Emperor's enthusiasm for attending diplomatic discussions, ship commissioning and military academy graduation ceremonies. The Emperor's declining health limited his ability to attend such events. In early December 1926, he contracted pneumonia. Which progressed to a heart attack, on 25 December 1926. He was succeed by his son Hirohito (1901-1989), Emperor Shōwa. Who served as Japan's longest-lived and longest-reigned Emperor (1926-1989).ocracy", in Japan.


Despite the Emperor's enthusiasm for attending diplomatic discussions, ship commissions and military academy graduations. The Emperor's declining health limited his ability to attend such events. In early December 1926, he contracted pneumonia. Which progressed to a heart attack, on 25 December 1926. He was succeed by his son Hirohito (1901-1989), Emperor Shōwa. Who served as Japan's longest-lived and longest-reigned Emperor (1926-1989).


Additional Notes

  • The standard US Quarter is 24.26 mm (0.955 in) wide and 1.75 mm (0.069 in).



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