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5 yen
Coin from 2006
General information

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Empire of Japan
Flag of Japan Japan



Measurements and composition
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  • round (1870-1949)
  • round with circular hole (1949-present)

medallic (1949-present)

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The 5 yen coin was first issued by Japan in 1870. Afterward, new issues were made in 1897, 1948, 1949, and 1989. It is currently in circulation within Japan.[2]

The Japanese for "five yen" go en (五円; previously 圓五) is a homophone with go-en (御縁), "en" being a word for causal connection or relationship, and "go" being a respectful prefix. As a result, the coin has somewhat of a cultural significance in Japan.[7]


First coin[]


Coin from 1870.

In 1870, the first 5 yen coin was introduced. It was composed of .900 fine gold, weighed 8.33 grams, and measured 23.84 millimeters in diameter. Depicted on the obverse was the sun surrounded by a wreath and crossed banners, as well as the Imperial Seal of Japan and the Paulownia Crest. Displayed on the reverse was a Japanese dragon encircled by the coin's value (as 圓五), year of minting (in Meiji), and the name of the issuing authority (本日大). It was used until 1897 before being demonetized.[3]

Second coin[]


1897 coin

From 1897 to 1924, a new 5 yen coin was issued. Like its predecessor, the coin was composed of .900 fine gold, though it was reduced to weighing 4.17 grams and measuring 16.96 millimeters in diameter. On the coin's obverse was the sun, surrounded by the coin's year of minting (in Meiji), value, and issuing authority. The value was also inscribed on the reverse, which was surrounded by a wreath and the Imperial Seal of Japan.[4]

Third coin[]


1948 brass coin

In 1948, several years after the demonetization of the second 5 yen coin, a new issue was introduced. It was composed of brass, weighed 4 grams, and measured 21.5 millimeters in diameter. Displayed on the obverse was a pigeon enclosed within a circle. At the top was the state title (日本國) and at the bottom was the year of minting (in Shōwa). Depicted on the reverse was the National Diet Building (also enclosed) and the value (as 五円) surrounded by a floral pattern. Though this coin was only issued for about two years, a total of 254,212,000 were produced.[1][5]

Current coin[]

Old and new script 5 yen

Coins using the old (left) and new (right) scripts.

In 1949, the fourth, and current, 5 yen coin was introduced. It is composed of brass, weighs 3.75 grams, and measures 22 millimeters in diameter and 1.51 millimeters in thickness. In the center is a hole measuring 5 millimeters in diameter. From 1949 to 1959, the coins bore "old-script" legends, while those from 1959 to the present are inscribed using the "new-script". Depicted on the obverse are the state title (日本国) and the year of minting (Shōwa until 1989; currently Heisei), separated by tree shoots. Displayed on the reverse is a rice plant growing out of water and a gear around the coin's hole. Each of these depictions represent the key elements of the Japanese first-sector economy: the plant represents agriculture, the water represents forestry and fisheries, and the gear represents industry. Underneath the hole is the coin's value (inscribed as 五円). From 1949 to 2010, a total of 14,765,003,200 of these coins were minted.[6][7]

Pattern coins[]

In 1870, a gold 5 yen pattern coin was minted by the Japan Mint. Another followed in 1874, though the design was changed. Depicted on the obverse was a Japanese dragon encircled by the state title of Japan, value, and year of minting (in Meiji). Displayed on the reverse was the sun surrounded by a wreath with the Imperial Seal of Japan above. Below was the value, inscribed as "FIVE YEN".[2]

In 1951, an aluminum pattern of the current 5 yen coin was produced, followed by an alternate brass coin in 1958.[2]


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Japanese yen
Banknotes 5s10s50s¥1¥5¥10¥50¥100¥500¥1000¥2000¥5000¥10,000
Coins 1r5r1s2 s5s10s20 s50s¥1¥2¥5¥10¥20¥50¥100¥500¥1000¥100,000
Miscellaneous Bank of JapanJapan MintNational Printing Bureau