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Archeologists In Japan Discover Samurai Jar With Over 200,000 Bronze Coins

Michael East, Red Revolution

Archeologists in Japan have uncovered a jar that is said to have belonged to a medieval samurai in the Saitama Prefecture north of Tokyo. The jar, which is considerable in size, contains around 200,000 bronze coins and marks the largest coin discovery ever in Japan.

Found in the city of Hasuda and dating back to the early 15th century and possibly buried after the second half of the century, the jar is over 24 inches in diameter and was found at just 6.5 feet below ground. It is believed the jar was the property of a medieval samurai, perhaps during the civil war period of the Muromachi shogunate.

The large samurai jar said to contain up to 260,000 coins. Photo: Saitama Cultural Deposits Research Corp.

The jar was found alongside a “mokkan” wooden tablet that was inscribed with the words “nihyaku rokuju,” experts believing this may indicate that the amount of coins actually contained inside is 260 Kan or units of 1000. This would mean there are 260,000 coins in total, all the coins featuring holes and being strung together.

Yoshiyuki Takise of the Saitama Cultural Deposits Research Corporation says that the coins found were cast in China and may have been an offering to the God of the Earth or a personal treasure hoard of a powerful samurai. The markings on the wooden tablet indicate that the number of coins found would hugely exceed all other coins that were in circulation in the local area.

Only 70 coins have so far been examined from the haul but have so far included 19 differing coins spanning China and Japan including the Eiraku Tsuho, Genpo Tsuho and Kaigen Tsuho.

The find is currently exhibited at Saitama Prefecture’s cultural treasury in Kumagaya.


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