Japanese Invasion Money Of Malaya.(1942-1945)

The Japanese Imperial forces landed at Kota Bahru, Kelantan, on the east coast of Malaya, on 8 December 1941. A mere two months later, General Yamashita's army had chased the British forces into Singapore island. On 15 February 1942, General Percival surrendered the island to the Japanese, and 130,000 British, Indian and Australian troops found themselves unwilling 'guests' of the Japanese army.
The Japanese Southern Money Operations swung into action and the Japanese Southern Development Bank issued replacement currencies at par-one Straits dollar. Notes were printed for denominations of 1 cent upwards and no coins were ever issued.
MA $10.00 With Serial Numbers.
Initially, the $1, $5 and $10 notes issued had engraved faces, were serially numbered in addition to having control letters (such as MA, MB, etc.) and incorporated safety features, like a kiri flower watermark and flower watermark and security threads. However, spiralling inflation, which came as the Allied troops elsewhere inched towards victory, led to serial numbers being dropped in October 1942, leaving only the control letters. Then higher denominations, like $100 and $1,000, were churned out while lower value notes declined in quality until they were finally printed on plain paper. There were two different types on $100 notes. The fist featured a native hut on the second issue (made in 1945), showed natives tapping rubber trees. This latter- issue $100 note no longer included the statement 'Promise to pay the bearer on demand'!
By 1944, inflation was at such a rate that the 1-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, 50-cent, $1 and $5 notes were no longer considered to be of sufficient value to justify printing. After the end of Word War II, the Japanese occupation money became valueless.
Banana money and the Japanese Occupation: The $10 note, decorate with the design of a banana plant, gave rise to the name 'banana' money.

Source:Stories Of Singapore's Money.Doreen Soh. 


  1. Hi Dickson,
    What's junk today, can be gold tomorrow.
    Still remember our parents used to tell us how lorry loads of these banknotes or in Cantonese 'kung-chew-chee' were being burnt after the WWII.
    Worst of all, was our experience when we saw people carrying boxes of these banknotes in mint condition to be sold to an antique, stamps & coins dealer, many years ago.
    We asked him why buy all these banknotes and he replied he bought them with the hope of finding some with serial numbers.
    And he actually showed us these mint banknotes with serial numbers could be found quite easily among thousands of the unserialed ones.
    Nowadays even the unserialed ones sell so well.
    And so were the China stamps, so cheap many didn't bother to take second look at them, where British stamps were then the favourite around the world.
    And many others like the contracts and agreements with high valued revenue and postal stamps, etc.
    All these were being offered by the dealers to us at ridiculously low prices relative to current market values, yet we didn't fully grab the opportunities, except for some coins and other collectibles.
    Hard lesson learned...never to follow blindly like a red hot runaway train engine, haha.
    Thanks a lot for this beautiful article, Dickson :)

  2. Hi Mr Dickson,
    Keistimewaan ahli2 Numismatik ialah mereka bukan sahaja dapat menulis tapi juga dapat"menyentuh sejarah!"..Dengan "kekuatan" ahli2 numis juga telah berjaya mengembalikan semula nilai wang JIM ini dan harganya terus meningkat dari setahun ke setahun..macam kereta Honda..haha
    Terima kasih banyak2 Mr Dickson...

  3. Hi Mr Dickson,
    This "banana money" is so famous that even a noncollector know this banknote exist. I said this because some of my peers do not know that we once had a RM20 banknotes.

    Apart from coins as my main collection, I still keep few of serial numbered JIM notes.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Dear whycollect,
    I used to have adhoc customers after viewed my collection,told me they had boxes of this JIM notes ,but no more now!I used to answered jokingly:"Good news for us,my collection now can fetch better price!"

  5. Depankanta,
    Itulah keunikan dan keistimewaan hobi numismatik!

  6. mnfaj,
    Almost daily,I use to have visitors in my Dickson Niew Collection Corner mistaken the 1998 RM50.00,our first polymer banknotes to be our new released RM50.00 banknotes!
    Bro! We are not doing good enough to promote numismatic hobby!A lot out there still do not understand what is numismatic,they called us the money collectors and money traders!
    And they always "Tersasul" when they pronounce "Numismatic"!

  7. Hi Dickson,
    I agree with you. Educating our fellow collectors on a right path to just not mere collecting, but studying, knowing and appreciating our collections is a tough work. This need to be done gradually and I can see even there is not many, but there are always new collector who are willing to venture into the "numismatic" part of collecting coin and banknotes. The best part of this hobby I must say.

    One factor that made majority of people out there calling us "money collectors" or "money traders" is probably because we collectors are too busy only on activities relating buying-and-selling (money traders?) and showing off collection without any new information or things to be thought of (money collectors?). Numismatic community should press more focus on educational activities - such as competition, seminar or whatever related to our hobbies.

    If MNS want to do any educational activities in the future, please let me know. I want to be the first volunteer! :D

  8. Hi Dickson,
    Yes, we certainly agree with you.
    Owning them ourselves, of course is satisfying.
    But equally satisfying is seeing our fellow collectors also owning them.
    Even more satisfying is seeing all of us treasuring and enjoying all these beautiful collectibles which many are our own heritage, just like the joy of getting together for a happy tea session.
    Always hold firm to the belief that, all collectors have a duty to preserve these rich heritage items.
    Once gone they cannot be replaced again.
    Happy collecting to all :)

  9. Hi mnfaj,
    Wait for no one!Start from our own self!
    I am always ready,like you,to do for free on numismatic educational activities!Any school want to start a numismatic club or society,may contact me anytime!
    Daily,I am doing it at my Dickson Niew Collection Corner.

  10. Hi whycollect,
    Totally agreed with you!
    Be it coins,banknotes or tea,you must enjoy and appreciate your hobby in a very natural way!

  11. View Japanese Invasion Money from The Malaysiana Collection here:

  12. Hi All, I am actually wondering how much all these notes can be sold at ? I happen to stumble upon my relatives old stash and found a bunch of very old notes. I have notes from WW2 and most of them are Japan Invasion Money. Hope any of you can help with the pricing as I am hoping to sell them away.

    I can be contacted at