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Notes Of The Fisherman's Patron: 5 Silver Momme (Meiji Japan, 1869)-Reference

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

This note is a Japanese hansatsu, issued by currently unknown authority. Hansatsu were the privately issued currency of Japan's Edo (1600-1868) and early Meiji (1868-1912) eras. They were used to exchange for valuable goods such as gold, silver, and rice. This note was valued for 5 sliver momme or 18.75 grams of silver . The upper observe depicts Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. The note's dimensions are: 165 × 44 mm or 6.50 x 1.73 in. (Complete translation will be to added, when reliable resources become available)


The observe top features Ebisu, the patron god is fisherman. He is said to be first child of Izanagi and Izanami the mythical creators of Japan. As a member of the shichifukujin (gods of fortune), Ebisu's image is said to prosperity and wealth to businesses.

The middle section features 2 set of text, read downward. The first set feature the Kanji "銀 五 ト 分", roughly translated as "Five Bu of silver". While "Bu" is traditionally a unit length, it's used to represent Momme, within this context. The second set feature the conditions of the transaction. It's Kanji reads "諸 物 品 代 銀 預", roughly translated as "Silver deposits for various goods". Therefore the agreed upon transaction is one of silver for goods.

The final section features some additional Kanji, it reads "農 商 切 手". It translates to "Agricultural and commercial stamp", thus endorsing the before mention transaction.


The reverse top features a large stylized water drop, representing the god Ebisu. Directly below is the text "巳己治明", translated as "Meiji (year of) Yin Earth Snake". Which translates to 1968, in the Standard/Gregorian calendar.

The before mentioned is in the traditional Chinese calendar. Which was introduced to Japan via Korea, in the mid-sixth century. Slowly being replaced by the Gregorian calendar, during the Meiji-era. This particular hansatsu features streaks of ink, signifying it has been redeemed.

(The remaining handwritten text below is currently untranslated)

The Gods of Fortune

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