The Father of the Modern Japanese Mint: Kinsuke Endo

Continuing our five-part series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the 'Choshu Five' in the UK, we take a look at Kinsuke Endo who came to be known as 'The Father of the Modern Japanese Mint'.

Kinsuke Endo was chosen by the Choshu domain to be smuggled out of Japan in an attempt to gain better knowledge of western nations. It was hoped at the time that this would strengthen the domain in its struggle to overthrow the shogunate. The Choshu Five arrive in England in 1863 and Endo spent 3 years studying there before returning to Japan in 1866.

After the Meiji Restoration and the establishment of the new Meiji government, in 1881 Endo became the head of the new National Mint in Osaka. He served in the role for 11 years where he worked to establish a unified national currency. However, he is perhaps more often remembered for his wish that the grounds of the Mint should be open for all the people of Osaka in spring, so that people can enjoy the sakura trees planted there when they come into bloom.

Kinsuke Endo

Japan Mint and the UK

Seminar on Japan mint & Royal mint in London

The Japan Foundation London, in collaboration with the Royal Mint Museum, will host a free public seminar exploring the history of exchange between Japan and the UK in the area of mint.

Yoshiake Shinhara, President of the Japan Mint, will look at the UK's contribution to the establishment of the Japan Mint and the close ties that developed between Japan and the UK in the area of mint in the late 19th century. Shinhara will be joined by Graham Dyer OBE FSA from the Royal Mint Museum who will provide a British perspective on these ties, and Dr Helen Wang (Curator of East Asian Coins, British Museum) who will delve into the British Museum's vast collection to introduce some of the coins that were in circulation in Japan and the UK around the time of the Japan Mint's inception. This event is free to attend but booking is essential.

Details of the seminar are as follows:

13 June 2013 from 6.30pm
The Japan Foundation, London

The International Coin Design Competition (ICDC) 2013

The entry period for this year's International Coin Design Compeition by the Japan Mint opened on 1 June and the student competition will open on 15 June. This annual compeition is held with the objective of encouraging creativity and enhancing the artistry of coin designs. It is open to people of all ages and nationalities. For more details please visit the Japan Mint website.

Last year's winning entries can be viewed here.