Public Seminar – The Japan Mint and the Royal Mint: A History of Exchange

When the Meiji government came into power in 1868 it recognised the pressing need to produce a credible and reliable currency which would aid the modernisation of Japan. Thus, in 1871 it established the Japan Mint in Osaka where high-quality coins would be produced. Japan developed its mint by combining traditional Japanese techniques with knowledge acquired through exchange of technology and human resources with the UK. Upon its establishment, the Japan Mint purchased machinery from the Hong Kong Mint and hired a series of British experts including Thomas Kinder and William Gowland to oversee its operations. In addition, four of the famous Chōshū Five, who studied at University College London, would at various times become Head of the Japan Mint during its early years. This exchange with the UK played a central role in the initial development of Japan’s mint but the extent and importance of this exchange is perhaps not widely known.

The Japan Foundation, in collaboration with the Royal Mint Museum, is delighted to present this special public seminar exploring the history of exchange between Japan and the UK in the area of mint. Yoshiake Shinhara, President of the Japan Mint, will look at the UK’s contribution to the establishment of the Japan Mint and the close ties that developed between Japan and the UK in the area of mint in the late 19th century. Shinhara will be joined by Graham Dyer OBE FSA from the Royal Mint Museum who will provide a British perspective on these ties, and Dr Helen Wang (Curator of East Asian Coins, British Museum) who will delve into the British Museum’s vast collection to introduce some of the coins that were in circulation in Japan and the UK around the time of the Japan Mint’s inception.

Date: 13 June 2013 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, London

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