From their castle town of Edo modern (Tokyo), the Tokugawa ruled Japan as Shoguns until 1867. The Tokugawa period saw the flowering of urban culture and a monetized commodity economy. The Samurai stood at the top of a legally established four-class system. From illiterate warriors they were transformed into military bureaucrats who served both the Shogunal and Daimyo governments.
During the Meiji period, corresponding to the reign (1868-1912) of Emperor Meiji, centralized bureaucracy replaced the balance of power between the Tokugawa and the autonomous domains. A conscript army replaced the military authority of the samurai.
These interesting rectangular coins were used during the time of Japan’s Shogun rulers. Each coin is marked with an inscription bearing its’ value in either gold or silver.