Dajokan-satsu (Dajokan Bills) (太政官札)
Dajokan bills are paper currency issued by the Meiji government from May 1868 until June 1868. These bills were issued in the total amount of 48 million ryo (old Japanese currency). They were also known as Kinsatsu bills (gold bills).
Dajokan bills were issued based on the proposal of Hachiro MITSUOKA (also known as Kimimasa YURI), who was a Sanyo (government consultant) and accountant, in order to compensate for the lack of funds caused by the Boshin War (civil war) and to support the Meiji government in implementing its policy of promoting new industries. The total amount of Dajokan bills produced at the time was 48,973,973 ryo 1 bu 3 shu ("bu" and "shu" are units of currency), of which 973,973 ryo 1 bu 3 shu was incinerated before they were issued to the public.
The amount of bills actually issued was 48 million ryo, and the types of bills issued and the respective amounts were as follows:
The government decree issued on May 11, 1868 promised that Dajokan bills would be redeemed for hard currency within 13 years after their issuance. However, since the Japanese people were not used to paper currency at the time and the new Meiji government had not yet gained public trust, the circulation of these bills was seriously restricted, and 100 ryo of Dajokan bills was often exchanged for 40 ryo of hard currency. To overcome these difficulties, the government forbade gaining profits from the difference in value between the bills and hard currency and ordered that payments of taxes and tributes be made in Dajokan bills and that domains redeem these bills for hard currency. Despite these government efforts, it was difficult to increase the circulation of Dajokan bills.
On July 7, 1869 (old lunar calendar), the government announced that the total amount of Dajokan bills issued would not exceed 32.5 million ryo and that the money printing machine would be subsequently incinerated. The government also shortened the redemption period to 5 years and promised that Dajokan bills left unredeemed after the redemption period would be redeemed with 6% annual interest.
In order to fulfill this promise, the government issued decrees in September 1872 and in March and July 1873, thereby implementing its policy of redeeming Dajokan bills for government bonds (inscribed four types of bonds with a face value of 1,000 yen, 500 yen, 100 yen and 50 yen and three types of coupon bonds with a face value of 500 yen, 100 yen and 50 yen). However, the amount of Dajokan bills that were redeemed for government bonds was limited and most of the bills were redeemed for newly issued bank notes.
Collection and redemption
The amount of Dajokan bills collected and redeemed was as follows (unit: yen):
Total amount of Dajokan bills issued: 48,000,000
Bills collected and redeemed
Amount of bills redeemed for new bank notes: 45,661,595
Amount of bills redeemed for government bonds: 2,052,745
Amount of bills confiscated or lost: 285,659
To summarize how the bills were circulated during this period, circulation was restricted at the beginning of the period due to the fact that the Japanese people were not familiar with, and did not have trust in Dajokan bills. Although circulation increased in the middle of the period due to an increase in the credit of Dajokan bills, circulation decreased once again at the end of the period as a result of the frequent appearance of counterfeit bills, which were difficult to distinguish from genuine bills.
The amount of bills circulated by the end of 1877 was as follows (unit: yen):