I have a question for the hive mind. I am trying to find out what 4 Yen was worth in 1876, compared to an income denominated in silver monme in the Edo period. So I am trying to figure out the Yen-monme exchange.
As I understand it, the Edo-period ryo was worth an average 60 monme through the Edo period, and double that in the final decade after Japan adjusted to global silver prices. And also as I understand it, the Yen was introduced in 1871 at a rate of 1 ryo=1 Yen (actually I have noticed that even in the Edo period, people sometimes referred to the ryo as the えん 圓).
So it would be logical to assume 1 Yen was worth around 120 silver monme.
But I also understand (admittedly from Wikipedia) that the official weight of the silver Yen was 24.26 grams, while one monme was fixed at 3.75 grams of silver. So based on this, the value of 1 Yen would be only about 6.5 monme of silver.
My understanding is that the monme was not a currency, but a weight of pure silver, so not subject to debasement. So how could the value of the ryo/Yen go from 120 to 6.5 monme in just 3 years? Does anyone have any insight into this?
Simon Partner, Duke University