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Japanese Invasion Money Part 2: Malaya

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Japanese Invasion Money Part 2: Malaya

On April 21, 2016, Posted by , In Japanese Invasion Money (JIM), With Comments Off on Japanese Invasion Money Part 2: Malaya


Malaya fell to the Japanese in December, 1941. The Japanese issued JIM for Malaya was printed in denominations of cents and dollars. Because of the cents and dollar denominations, these notes were once advertised as money the Japanese printed in preparation for invasion of the United States, but this was not true.

The series designation letter is “M” and the block letters are black unless otherwise noted. There are also types with serial numbers. There are varieties both with and without a quatrefoil watermark as explained under Quatrefoil Watermark in part 1 of this series.  Most of these notes are lithographed but some of the higher denominations have engraved faces.

The Fractional Notes

  • The $1¢, 5¢ and 10¢ notes have “THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT” with the denomination spelled out at the center, and in numeral form in all four corners on the face

  • This is repeated on the revers; the denomination is in numeral form in all four corners, and in the center in an ornate design.

  • These notes have no watermark.

  • The  inscription in Japanese script that reads “Government of Great Imperial Japan” and the round seal with Japanese script that reads “Minister of Finance.” are also present on these notes (see Inscription and Seal in  part 1).

  • The 50¢ notes have the addition of “PROMISES TO PAY THE BEARER ON DEMAND” and a fan palm on the right added to the face.

Varieties for the MalayaFractionalJIMTypesTablefractional (cents) Malaya JIM notes:

(for an explanation of block & fractional block letters read Part 1 )

Japanese Issued Fractional JIM notes for Malaya

The Dollar Denominated Notes

There are 5 denominations of dollar notes: $1, $5, $10, $100 (there are two types of $100 notes ) and $1000.

  • Most of these are engraved faces.

  • The faces have “JAPANESE GOVERNMENT” and “PROMISES TO PAY THE BEARER ON DEMAND” (except for the second issue of the $100 note.)

  • The denomination is spelled out in the center obverse designs and in numerical form in the four corners.

  • The reverse of the $1 and $5 notes have the denomination in numerical form both in the center in an ornate design, and then repeated in all four corners.

  • The reverse of the $10, $100 and $1000 notes each have vignettes along with the repeated denomination in numerals.

These notes ($10, $100 & $1000) are quite complex, especially when it comes to the types of $10 and $100 notes. The $100 note, in particular, was issued twice with two completely different obverse and reverse designs, and across the $10 and $100 notes there were a mix of Block letters, water marks, serial numbers, paper types, and other design elements (you can see these two different types in the photos below). In All there are 17 different types of genuine (not counting counterfeit) dollar denominated Malayan JIM notes.

Authentic $1 notes have engraved faces with a blue-gray coloring with a pink and green-gray tinting to them . The obverse design has a breadfruit tree on the left and a coconut palm on the right of the face. They are 140mm x 68 mm in size.

The face of the $5 notes are engraved, and have a maroon color with orange and pint tints. The reverse has a purple brown color. The notes are 151 mm x 71 mm in size. The obverse design has a coconut palm at left and a pawpaw on the right. There aren’t any known counterfeit, fantasy or replicas for this denomination.

Authentic $10 notes are engraved and are a dark blue with yellow and violet tint. The design shows  bananas, breadfruit and coconuts pictured in the center of the face. The reverse is light blue and features a somewhat crude vignette of a view form the sea shore, looking out towards the sea past three coconut palms, with a ship on the horizon with smoke coming out of its smoke stacks(the detail of the smoke is important for identifying the counterfeit notes, explained further down). Genuine notes are 162 mm x 78 mm in size.

It is important to recognize and understand the characteristics of the genuine $1 and $10 notes, as many replicas and a counterfeit are known to exist. The counterfeits and replicas are discussed in more detail below. So while you are building your collection make sure the note you purchase is a genuine note, unless, of course, you are attempting to add a replica, fantasy, or counterfeit to your collection.

There are two types of $100 notes. Both types are engraved. The first type has an obverse design with a hut under palms in the center. The obverse is brown with gray and purple tint. The reverse vignette features a  man with buffalo in the river and is brown. This type is 162 mm x 78 mm in size. Of this type of the $100 note there are 4 different types, all with differing combinations of numbers, letters, and features like silk threads and watermarks (see type chart below).

The second $100 dollar note type can quickly be differentiated from the first type by the obverse design which is completely different from the first type, with a rubber plantation on the right side of the design. The colors on the front design are brown and gray-green. The block letters are in red. and both lack a watermark and have silk threads in the paper. The reverse colors are green and features a vignette with native houses and seashore. Of this type 2 there are actually 2 different sub types with the same design but different in their obverse plate size and style with witch they were printed.

On Type 2, sub type 1, both plates were engraved and the obverse plate measures between 154 mm and 156 mm.  The obverse has an ascending underprint string in dark green of the number 100 separated by dots. This string begins in the lower left of the obverse design and sweeps up ward to the right. The leading digits is “0”.  The reverse vignette is know for having very fine detail.

Type 2, sub type 2 the obverse plate is between 158 mm and 159 mm. The underprinted string on this sub type is pale and more gray and the leading digit is a 1. Also the reverse vignette is a crude print (I believe this is in contrast to it being engraved).

Below are close up examples of the two sub types of $100 Notes


The final dollar denominated Malayan note is the $1000. The obverse is a pate green green, with the block letters in red with splayed sides. The design has two buffalo pulling a cart. The reverse is green and bears the same reverse vignette of the Type 1 $100 dollar note of a  man with buffalo in the river.

Some of the types known (designated below) were printed on horizontal or diagonal quadrille paper.

Varieties for the Dollar Denominated Malaya JIM notes varieties are:


Japanese Issued Dollar Denominated JIM notes for Malaya


You might find it interesting that both the U.S. and Britain, counterfeited JIM notes for several reasons. If you are collecting types you might be interested in adding these to your collection. You can read more about the counterfeits here.

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