Japanese occupation money

Japanese occupation currency for south-east Asia.

What is it?

Known as invasion or occupation money, these notes and coins were introduced by the Japanese as a method of social, economic, and political control over the various territories they occupied in south-east Asia. Rather than introduce the Yen, the Japanese sought to replace existing currencies such as the guilder in the Netherlands East Indies, dollars in the Philippines, and pounds, shillings, and pence in former British and Australian territories.

Activities for research and classroom discussion

  1. What words and symbols can you see on the note? Why might these have been chosen?
  1. The Japanese invasion currency note below has been signed by numerous Australian servicemen. Why might they have done so? How might Australian servicemen have felt about the introduction of Japanese occupation money?

Japanese Java “5 roepiah” note.

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