The Ministry of Finance of Japan has launched new Proof and colour collector coins marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Japan’s national railway network. Founded in 1872, the entity was referred to as the Japanese Government Railways and was directly operated by the Japanese Ministry of Railways until 1949. The same year, The Japanese National Railways was founded and assumed the operations of Japan’s national railway network until 1987. Today, the Japan Railways Group, a privately-owned and operated corporation which evolved from the formerly government-owned Japanese National Railways, operates a large proportion of intercity rail services, including the Shinkansen high-speed rail lines and commuter rail service.
The history of the first railway company was given Imperial ascent and contributed to the desire to break down the geographical barriers that existed in the feudal communities, which also hindered the centralisation of Imperial and government authority. Despite the fact the early shareholders of the railway were members of the nobility who held the major portion of the railway’s capital, the government enacted the Railway Nationalisation Act in 1906, and by 1920, the Ministry of Railways was established.
The coins are produced by the Japan Mint at their facilities in Osaka and on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. The obverse side includes a colour depiction of a portion of the Nishiki-e, a vintage woodblock print of the Takanawa Railway, which is owned by the Minato City Local History Museum and created by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Utagawa Toshinobu. The text above the primary design denotes the issuing authority as the Bank of Japan, and below is the denomination 千円 (“one thousand yen”). The design on the reverse side is based on the restored Old Shimbashi Station, which retains the appearance of the station building at the time of the railway’s opening. Above the primary design is the commemorative text 鉄 道 開 業 150 年 (“150th Anniversary of Railways in Japan”) with the denomination of 1000 YEN shown in English along with the Imperial date of year 4 of the era of Reiwa — the regnal name of HIM Emperor Naruhito.
|31.1 g||40 mm||Proof with applied colour||
Each silver Proof and colour coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity in Japanese and English text. Interested collectors in Japan may apply to purchase the coin from the 4th October, with dispatch commencing in February 2023. For additional details, please click here.