Japanese government-issued Philippine peso

During World War II in the Philippines, the occupying Japanese government issued fiat currency in several denominations; this is known as Japanese government-issued Philippine fiat peso (see also Japanese invasion money).[1] The Second Philippine Republic under President José P. Laurel outlawed possession of guerrilla currency, and declared a monopoly on the issuance of money, so that anyone found to possess guerrilla notes could be arrested or even executed.[2]

Japanese government-issued Philippine peso
Peso (in English) and (in Spanish), Piso (in Filipino)
Obverse and reverse of the 500 pesos note, 1944-1945
Centavo or Céntimo (Spanish)
Sentimo (Filipino)
Banknotes₱1, ₱5, ₱10, ₱100, ₱500, ₱1000
User(s) Second Philippine Republic
Central bankJapanese government
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

Some Filipinos called the fiat peso "Mickey Mouse money". Many survivors of the war tell stories of going to the market laden with suitcases or "bayóng" (native bags made of woven coconut or buri leaf strips) overflowing with the Japanese-issued bills. According to one witness, 75 "Mickey Mouse" pesos, or about 35 U.S. dollars at that time, could buy one duck egg.[3] In 1944, a box of matches cost more than 100 Mickey Mouse pesos.[4]

These bills were often used by American psychological warfare personnel as propaganda leaflets. Japanese occupation banknotes were overprinted with the words "The Co-prosperity Sphere: What is it worth?", in an attempt to discredit the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and dropped from Allied aircraft over the occupied territories.[5]


1942 series

1942 issue of the Japanese government-issued Philippine peso
Image Value Issue date Series
1 centavo 1942 First
5 centavos 1942 First
10 centavos 1942 First
50 centavos 1942 First
1 peso 1942 First
5 pesos 1942 First
10 pesos 1942 First

1943–45 series

A new series of notes in denominations of 1, 5 and 10 pesos were issued in 1943. Hyperinflation had also forced the Japanese to issue notes for 100, 500 and 1000 pesos in 1944.

1943–45 issue of the Japanese government-issued Philippine peso
Image Value Issue date Series
1 peso 1943 Second
5 pesos 1943 Second
10 pesos 1943 Second
100 pesos 1944 Second
500 pesos 1944 Second
1,000 pesos 1945 Second

See also


  1. Potet, Jean-Paul G. (25 June 2016). Numbers and Units in Old Tagalog. Lulu.com. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-326-61380-8.
  2. United States. Army Service Forces (1944). Civil Affairs Handbook: Philippine Islands. Headquarters, Army Service Forces. pp. 31–33.
  3. Barbara A. Noe (August 7, 2005). "A Return to Wartime Philippines". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
  4. Agoncillo, Teodoro A. & Guerrero, Milagros C., History of the Filipino People, 1986, R.P. Garcia Publishing Company, Quezon City, Philippines
  5. Friedman, Herbert A. "WWII Allied Propaganda Banknotes". Retrieved 2010-04-17.
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