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This article is about the coin issued for circulation from 1873 to 1892. For the leper coin minted between 1912 and 1925, see Japanese 2 sen coin (leper colony money).
2 sen
Coin from 1873
General information

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Empire of Japan





Measurements and composition

14.3 g


31.8 mm








Japanese dragon, value, year


Value, wreath, Imperial Seal

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The 2 sen coin is a coin that was issued by the Empire of Japan for circulation from 1873 (M6) to 1884 (M17), during the reign of Emperor Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito). Pieces were also struck during the year 1892 (M25), but were not put into circulation. The coin had a value equivalent to 0.02 yen before the enforcement of the Small Currency Disposition and Fractional Rounding in Payments Act on December 31, 1953, which called for the removal of all currency with a value lower than 1 yen to be removed from circulation.

The coin is composed of a bronze alloy consisting of 98 percent copper, 1 percent tin, and 1 percent zinc, and has a mass of 14.3 grams and a diameter of 31.8 millimeters. It uses coin alignment, and like most coins, it is round in shape. A depiction of a dragon, a legendary creature in Japanese mythology and folklore, is displayed in the center of the obverse, surrounded by a circular beaded border. Outside this border, around the left rim of the coin, is the state title, written from right to left as "本日大" (romanized: Dai Nippon; English: "Great Japan"). The date of minting is printed right to left along the right periphery of the coin as "年" (nen), followed by the number of years the emperor had been in reign the year the coin was produced, and ending with "治明" (Meiji). Essentially, the date "年十治明" (Meiji jū-nen), with the character "十" signifying the number "10", would indicate production during the tenth year of Emperor Meiji's reign. The coin's value is inscribed at the bottom of the coin in Latin script as "2 SEN". All three inscriptions are separated from each other by bullet points. Inscribed vertically in the middle of the coin's reverse is the value, written in Japanese characters as "二銭" (Ni sen; "two sen"). Above it, at the very top of the coin, is the Imperial Seal of Japan — which consists solely of a stylized image of a chrysanthemum. The Japanese text "圓一換枚十五" (Go-jū mai kan ichi en), which means that fifty of the coin had a value equal to one yen, is inscribed around the coin's upper rim, and is separated between the "換" (kan) and "枚" (mai) characters by the Imperial Seal. Two branches tied together with a ribbon extend along the coin's periphery from the bottom of the coin until stopping near the beginning and end of the Japanese legend at the top of the coin.

A total of approximately 275,747,662 pieces were minted over eleven years of production. The scales on the dragon for coins produced between 1873 and 1876 are described as "square", while those made from 1880 to 1892 have "V"-shaped scales. Coins of the 1877 date may be either square or V-shaped.

Gregorian date Japanese date Mintage
1873 6 (六) 3,949,758
1874 7 (七)
1875 8 (八) 22,835,255
1876 9 (九) 25,817,570
1877 (sq) 10 (十) 33,097,868
1877 (V) 43,290,398
1880 13 (三十) 33,142,307
1881 14 (四十) 38,475,569
1882 15 (五十) 43,572,187
1883 16 (六十) 19,476,164
1884 17 (七十) 12,090,586
1892 25 (五十二)
Total 275,747,662


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Japanese yen
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