Chiho Kahei (Local Currency) (地方貨幣)

Chiho Kahei was a currency issued principally to be used within a territory and was issued by various domains in the Edo period, and particularly, gold and silver coins issued by various daimyo to be used within their territories from the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) to the early Edo period were also called Ryogoku Kahei.

Since the monetary system of the Keicho era, which was started by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA in the Edo period, was aimed at create a national monetary system, any local currencies should not exist. However, Ieyasu used Ryogoku Kahei issued by Shingen TAKEDA as the basis of 'ryo,' the monetary system of koban (former Japanese oval gold coin) in the early period of Edo period, and for this reason, he permitted issue of Koshukin, a successor of the local currency established by Shingen TAKEDA, with the condition that the currency was only to be used within the Kai Province.

Minting of Kanei Tuho coins and Tessen coins was done in Zeniza (organization in charge of minting coins during the Edo period) of various regions such as Kameido in Edo and Shichijo in Kyoto, and many of such coins were Kochusen, coins permitted by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), which were supposed to be used throughout the country, and therefore, these coins were usually not treated as a local currency.

When the Tenmei Famine occurred in 1784, the Sendai Domain used this Famine as an opportunity and petitioned the bakufu to grant a permission to mint the Sendai Domain's own currency in order to save people in the domain's territory, and the domain received the permission to mint their own currency called Sendai Tsuho. In addition, another example was Hakodate Tsuho, and the minting of this coin was approved when the port of Hakodate was about to open to the United States based on the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan agreed in November in 1856.

Furthermore, at the end of the Edo period, in 1862, the Satsuma Domain petitioned the bakufu for the issuance of Ryukyu Tsuho Hyaku (hundred) Mon coins with an issue limit of 3 years in order to save Ryukyu and this petition was granted, but this petition was carefully prepared by the Satsuma Domain to secretly cover up minting of Tenpo Tsuho secretly to recover the Domain's weak finance. Most local currencies were issued between the Bunkyu era and the end of the Edo period, and its reasons were that the bakufu shifted governmental duties such as the naval defense to various domains, various domains faced with financial difficulties due to expenses for measures for riots, there was shortage of coins in provinces, metal currencies were issued due to the weakening of trustworthiness of Hansatsu (paper currency issued in various domains), various domains established an independent political system because the bakufu became less influential, and Imperial proclamation of minting of coin was issued.

The Tohoku region suffered from cold-weather damage by the cold-weather and famine repeatedly, but on the other hand, there were many mines in the region and metal resources were abundant, so at the end of the Edo period, the Morioka Domain and the Kubota Domain secretly minted many coins of silver, copper, and lead without a permission from the bakufu because the bakufu no longer had enough power to control these activities.

In addition, various domains that had financial difficulties aggressively minted coins such as two-bu kin gold coin, one-bu gin silver coin, one-shu gin gold coin, and the currency called Tenpo Tuho secretly. In particular, the amount of secretly minted Tenpo Tsuho was so abundant that its amount came to occupy one-third to one-fourth of the total amount of Tenpo Tsuho circulated at that time. As these were nominal money of which the breadth of profit gained by minting was big, minting without official permission was accelerated, and those minted coins included many inferior quality coins such as silver coins with gold plating, silver coins which contained much ink and lead, and so on. Furthermore, regarding Kanei Tsuho, iron Tessen coins which were imitations of regular Kanei Tsuho coins and copper coins containing much lead were made for a long time, and these coins are called Bouchusen. There are not many historical materials left with records on local currencies and Bochusen because they were minted secretly.

There are also some doubtful Ryogoku Kahei that are thought to have been created by someone in later generations, and such currencies are also listed on "Kingin Zuroku" (A Record of Gold and Silver in Picture), which was published in 1810. Some of such coins are used as a gift or for personal enjoyment and there are some coins that experts differ in their opinions.

Sendai Kozuchigin and Aizu Ginban are elaborate in their designs as a currency, and as there is no consistency in weight and nominal value with those of a general currency these coins are thought to have been used as Shukuchusen (coins to celebrate) rather than for circulation.

Furthermore, currencies such as Isawa Kaichin, Kaetsuno Tuyo, Ashu Tuho, and Tosa Kanken stayed in the trial phase of currency minting, and there are few actual coins left without any evidence of actual use.
The Tosa Domain minted Tenho Tuho secretly without permission on a large scale, and the trial minting should be regarded as camouflage of their secret minting

Reginal currencies that are thought to have been widely circulated are just Sendai Tuho, Hakodate Tuho, Akita Tubasen, Akita Namisen, and Ryukyu Tuho. Paper currencies used in various domains and Hatamoto-satsu (paper currency used by direct retainers of the Shogunate) are also regarded as local currencies. These currencies were widely circulated, and in particular, Ginsatsu took an initiative for silver transaction by weight by acting as a substitute of silver coins whose value was determined by weight such as Chogin, which were decreased in circulation in the later Edo period.

Major Chiho Kahei (Local Currencies) Minted during the Edo Period

[Original Japanese]