Hoei Tsuho (currency of Hoei) (Hoei is the name of era in Edo period) (宝永通宝)

Hoei tsuho is a kind of coin minted in Edo period, which was issued in 1708. The name of the coin is "Kanei tsuho"(coin of kanei) (kanei is the name of era in Edo period), on which characters of "permanent use" and hallmark of "chin"(珍) between the characters were inscribed at the back.. However, it was actually quite different from its distribution.


The minting period was less than 1 year. There were different types in the style of character "寳"(kan), one of which the second stroke of top part of "寳", the last character of 寳永通寳, was long and the other one which had a short stroke, and they were called by "deep top" and "shallow top" respectively, and the weight was 2.5 monme (9.37 grams) (monme is the unit of weight) and 2.3 monme (8.62 grams) respectively, which means "shallow top" was lighter. It is said that the reason was that minting coins was not profitable, and thereby minting amount was decreased midway. In "deep top", there was a replacement called "chokuei" where longitudinal stroke of "永"was perpendicular. The one in the picture is the typical type of "deep top".

Kanei-tsuho also had two types of proof coin, Nijihoei (two characters hoei) and Nijieiju (two characters eiju) on which two characters were inscribed.

Brief history

The production of gold and silver that was in its prime during Keicho era started to deteriorate after Kanei era. In place of it, it was the production of bronze at Ashiodozan Copper Mine and Besshidozan Copper Mine that was in its prime in Genroku era. Whereas outflow of koban (former Japanese oval gold coin) and chogin (collective term of silver coin) from the country as trade settlement did not stop, thereby absolute amont of currency was extremely in short supply. For this reason, Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogunate) took a policy of seclusion, and ordered to prohibit export of gold and silver several times with no effect. Then, bakufu collected bronze produced at copper mines across the nation at Osaka Cupellating Place and controled it with strict care. They decided to export copper instead of gold and silver.

At the beginning, bakufu expected that production of copper increased gradually, but its peak was in Genroku era. Therefore, the copper for export was in short supply, and lowering of karat of gold and silver coin caused by reminting from keichokoban-keichochogin to genrokukoban-genrokuchogin and hoeikoban-hoeichogin as well as short supply of currency as a result of economic development caused appreciation of currency where 1 ryo(unit of currency) fluctuated around 3,700 mon (unit of currency) from the end of genroku era to the beginning of hoei era. Under this condition, minting of jumonsen (coin issued in 1708) was suggested to compensate for the shortage of bronze and control of currency. The financial crisis of bakufu caused by natural disasters occurred one after another in this period such as Genroku Earthquake and Tokai, Nankai, Tonankai Consolidated Type Earthquake as well as damage by great eruption (of Mt.Fuji) in Hoei era was one of the reasons for minting ozeni (type of coin), or kaneitsukan, to make profit from zeniza.

Chuhichi NAGASAKIYA, the head of itowappunakama (thread tally union) in Kyoto requested minting of the coin to bakufu with his members of the union, and he was assigned to mint ozeni.

In November 1707, Nakane Settsunokami (governor of Settsu Province) told in Nishimachi bugyo (magistrate) that minting ozeni was assigned to Kyo zeniza, and he started to mint jumonsen (type of coin) at Shichijo-dori Street in Kyoto from February in 1708.
On this occasion, following bakufu order was issued."Ozeni must be used by mixing based on 1 ryo = 3.9 0r 4 kanmon (1,000 kanmon=10,000 yen) without even a slight difference
In ginza, about 10 % of minted amount of kaneitsukan was presented as tax to bakufu generally,
Oboegaki(memorandum) for Kyoto government says that it was regulated that in minting ozeni, 100,000 kanmon was produced a year, of which 50,000 kanmon was taxed. However, solely 47,750 kanmon was taxed, and remaining 250 kanmon was stopped to be distributed before arrival, which means that it was not taxed.

This kaneitsukan was a copper coin whose weighted value was 2.5 monme, that was 2 pieces and a half of kaneitsukan, and it was inconvenient for calculation of money, which means that it had a bad reputation where money changer complained. The reason is that, at that time, Zenisashi was called as Shohaku method (currency exchange rate in Edo period) where 96 pieces of ichimonsen (one-mon coin) (mon is a monetary unit of old times) was 100 mon. Therefore, if this zenisashi was silver 1 monme, 10 pieces of jumonsen must be converted to silver 1 monme 041666 where it was complicated to calculate when the price by silver was paid by sen (unit of currency).

Bakufu ordered to distribute without distruption only with no effect, and minting currency stopped on New Years Day of 1709 with the end of distribution as well. Zeniza in Kyoto Shichijo was unable to request return of 47,750 kanmon that they had already paid, causing damage on large scale.

Exchange of ozeni in the city was postponed, and Kinsei-Kenbunshu (record of life in modern time) says that 1piece of ozeni was exchanged to sen-nanamon in 1723. Even Shigehide OGIHARA, kanjobugyo (commissioner of finance), who believed in coin said that "ozeni was not good."

[Original Japanese]