When the Japanese Army occupied the Philippines late in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Government immediately issued their own currency. These notes arrived with the Japanese troops and were put into circulation right away. The Japanese invaders sought to unite the Asian countries under their influence and establish a "co-prosperity sphere." Promises of national independence first attracted the local governments, but the harsh realities of Japanese occupation soon replaced initial enthusiasm with anti-Japanese sentiment.
Initially, the Japanese decreed that local currency was no longer valid. Threat of torture or death was the price paid for possession of "Emergency Currency". These emergency issues were printed by the guerilla fighters, and also local committees in the free provinces, under the authority of Philippine president Quezon from his government-in- exile. Peso notes and also fractions were printed on a variety of makeshift presses with any kind of improvised paper and inks that could be obtained. Hundreds of different varieties were printed in most of the 49 different island provinces. The resulting
banknotes were often quite crude, but nevertheless effective at boosting the moral of the Filipino people and the freedom fighters that tormented the Japanese garrisons.
These genuine notes were printed by the courageous Filipino resistance movement while their country was being overrun by the Imperial Japanese army during World War II. Early in the war, the simple possession of these notes was an act of defiance punishable by death. They are reminders of the indomitable spirit that embodied a proud people in pursuit of their freedom and independence in the face of overwhelming adversity.
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