Japanese brass mon sen, 1636-1859Image["Japanese mon sen, 1636-1859"]
Image["Japanese mon sen, 1636-1859"]
Japanese brass mon sen, 1636-1859
This brass mon sen is from Japan, and is an example of the very common Kan-ei Tsu-ho type of Japanese coinage. From the 13th to the 16th centuries, much of Japan's currency was either minted privately or imported from China. In 1636 the Shogunate Government of Japan began to replace these Chinese coins by issuing the Kan-ei Tsu-ho coinage. The inscription on these coins, Kan-ei Tsu-ho, translates as 'Current Treasure of Kan-ei'. The term 'Kan-ei' refers to a period of rule, the Kan-ei era of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Kan-ei era lasted from 1603 to 1644, but the term continued to be used on coins of this type right up until the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867. Thus coins of this type remained in production and in circulation for a very long period, and were also produced with enormous uniformity. Thus, dating and ascertaining a mint for Kan-ei Tsu-ho coins often depends on identifying small variations in the style of the inscription, and can be extremely difficult.