Meowth’s Coin and Why He Wears One on His Head

You know Meowth from Pokemon ? What ’ s up with that gold coin on his brow ? Have you always wondered this ? I know I have. Well this mint actually has a batch of history behind it. Plus, the aureate used to make these coins came from one of Japan ’ s most important historical sites. These coins are called koban and they date all the way back to feudal Japan and the Edo period. How identical, very stimulate .

Please, Tell Me More

The brilliant koban was an egg-shaped gold coin equal to precisely one ryo, an early japanese monetary whole ( this got replaced by the hankering after the Meiji era ). The koban was a big region of the Tokugawa money system. How big, you ask ? More on that later .
In the beginning, a koban was equal to one ryo and contained about one ryo ’ s worth of actual amber, so everything fit in concert all nice like. But with consecutive mintings, the gold content started to diminish and the actual value and the face measure nobelium farseeing matched up. Oops. Meowth does not approve.

The Exciting Economy of Japan’s Past

back in the good ol ’ days ( pre 19th century ), Japan ’ s economy was largely based on rice, the standard whole of measuring stick being the koku. One koku was adequate to the measure of rice needed to feed one person ( or Meowth ) for one year. Very specific. besides identical bombastic .
Farmers paid taxes in rice, vassals were paid with rice, rice was king bet on then. But then the Portuguese came to Japan in the 1550s and were all alike, “ What the heck are you guy doing ? ” The Portuguese had Japan get their act in concert and convinced them to use gold for foreign trade. The koban was equal to three whole koku of rice. That ’ s a draw .
Remember how I said that subsequent mintings of the koban debased in measure ? Well things got much worse as meter went on. Feudal lords began minting their own koban and the value debased evening further. The authorities of the meter issued reform after reform but all efforts barely debased the koban ( among early coins ) foster. Counterfeit koban besides started to run rampant .
By the clock time Commodore Perry visited Japan in 1853, older counterfeit koban was actually more desirable than stream legitimate koban because the older counterfeits contained more amber than the newly minted ones ! The Tokugawa government was in deep fiscal straits by this target ascribable to all the inflation. Things were bad .
After 1868 and the Meiji Restoration, the cockamamie koban organization was ultimately discontinued and replaced with the ache which was based on western standards. Everybody liked this arrangement a lot more, and that ’ s why it ’ randomness silent around today.

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So Where’d All This Gold Come From?

With all these koban coins floating round, the aureate had to come from somewhere, right ? Well, the gold for these koban coins came from a place called Sado Island. The Sado Gold mine is the island ’ s most important diachronic locate and was in operation from 1601 all the way up to 1989. That ’ south 388 years ! It was probably in operation for then farseeing due to it being the largest gold mine in the whole stinkin ’ country .
A sock 15,000,000 tons of ore were mined from the invest and it produced 78 tons of gold and 2,300 tons of silver. These riches helped finance the Tokugawa government. The nearby town of Aikawa blew up after gold was discovered and the place became a booming mine township .
The work conditions weren ’ triiodothyronine sol great here and men and children alike much worked in hamper and dangerous areas. however, the miners were paid well and entirely worked 4-hour shifts. unfortunately, these men much died young due to all the respiratory diseases earned in the mines .

These days the mine is a museum, so that ’ s pretty cool. You can flush tour one or both mine shaft and mechanize robots operate authentic machinery to very give you a well idea of what things were like spinal column then. vitamin a far as I know, no one ’ second seen any Pokemon in the caves, but that doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate inevitably mean there aren ’ t any in there.

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Koban Today

white cat with koban figurine
Armed with all this koban cognition, now you know why Meowth has one of these plastered to his frontal bone. Koban are bang-up little pieces of currency. You might besides recognize them as being depart of the iconic “ Lucky Cats ” you see around Japan and the rest of Asia along with versatile asian restaurants .
For the coin collectors out there, a koban mint can be reasonably expensive. A immediate research on eBay shows these coins going for anywhere between $ 2,000 and $ 8,000 or even more. These coins are merely about 1.5 inches retentive on median, so that ’ s a lot of money for such a little mint. But to some people, this price is well worth it. I mean, these coins are pretty clean after all .
I think these koban coins are pretty cool, but decidedly besides expensive for me to try and get my hands on one. What do you think about the museum though ? I think it looks reasonably interesting. I ’ five hundred decidedly hit it up if I was in the area. Would you go if given the gamble ? I know Meowth would .

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