Sep 11 – 16, 2022
University of Warsaw
Europe/Warsaw timezone

Rethinking the Definition of Bita, a Subcategory of Bronze Coinage in 16th-century Japan

Sep 16, 2022, 11:25 AM
Auditorium Maximum - Hall D

Auditorium Maximum - Hall D


Hisashi Takagi (Osaka University Of Economics)


Bita is a subcategory of bronze coin in circulation between th16th ane d 17th century in Japan.
Conventional discourse has described the historical significance of bita negatively, since bita originated from low quality domestically produced coins or deteriorated imported coins and people tended to avoid using it.
However, recent studies have come to describe bita positively and interpret it as a symbol of the early modernisation of the monetary history in Japan, since bita is the origin of Kan’ei-tsuho, namely, the standard bronze coin issued by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Tokugawa Shogunate set the value level of both Kan’ei-tsuho and the bita, and assigned the production of the latter to private merchants. This suggests that bita is on a continuum with Kan’ei-tsuho both as regards their value and production system.
The devaluation of bita started after the introduction of Kan’ei-tsuho in the 1630s and the suspension of the usability of bita in the 1670s.

Primary author

Hisashi Takagi (Osaka University Of Economics)

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