By 1942, the Japanese had conquered a large empire in the Pacific, stretching from the border between Russia and China in Manchuria, down all the way to Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. When Japan invaded new regions in China or South East Asia, the local populations suffered more than just an occupying force—the Japanese also imposed an invasion currency on the seized regions.
Japanese Invasion Money, interestingly referred to as JIM, came in many different forms. These paper currencies were tailored and modified for each region. The Japanese Military Yen was imposed on China; invasion dollars were put into circulation in Malaya (now Malaysia); Japanese rupees were disseminated in Burma (now Myanmar); paper cents and gulden were released by Japan into the Netherlands East Indies; Japanese versions of shillings and pounds were used in lands captured from the British Empire and Japanese Government pesos and centavos were also printed for the occupied Philippines.
During World War II, the United States was able to take advantage of Japan’s simplistic paper invasion money, especially the Japanese peso. The U.S. quickly counterfeited the invasion money, dropping in loads of banknotes that looked authentic on the front, but had propaganda and anti-Japanese messages printed on the back.
In the end, the Japanese Invasion Money was never very effective and often suffered devaluation because of over-printing. When Japan surrendered to the United States on September 2, 1945, the Japanese Invasion Money lost all of its value as a currency. Even though the money is no longer legal tender, a few of the JIM bank notes (if they are in pristine condition) are still valuable to collectors, yet most JIM’s are now completely worthless, except as personal keepsakes.
Written by C. Keith Hansley.