5 yen coin

5 Yen Coin

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5 yen coin

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The is one denomination of Japanese yen. The current design was first minted in 1959 using Japanese characters known as the "new script", and were also minted from 1949-1958 using "old-script" Japanese characters. Five-yen coins date to 1870 (when, due to the much higher value of the yen, they were minted in gold).

The front of the coin depicts a rice plant growing out of the water, with "five yen" written in kanji; the back is stamped with "Japan" and the year of issue, also in kanji, separated by sprouts of a tree. The three graphic elements of the coin represent agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the key elements of the Japanese first-sector economy. Around a hole, there is a gear that represents industry. It is the only Japanese coin in circulation to lack Arabic numerals on either face.

Cultural significance

The Japanese for "five yen," go en (五円) is a homophone with go-en (御縁), "en" being a word for fate or destiny, and "go" being a respectful prefix. As a result, five-yen coins are commonly given as donations at Shinto shrines, and is widely believed it is best to insert a single five-yen coin into a new wallet before inserting any other money.

Use in nuclear accident investigation

Following the nuclear accident at Tokai, Ibaraki in 1999, physicists Masuchika Kohno and Yoshinobu Koizumi showed how this coin could be used to estimate neutron dosage to the surrounding population, by...
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