Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Early on the morning of 9 December 1941 (7 December east of the international date line) the Japanese moved on northern Malaya. landing naval forces near Kota Bharu. The British thought that their positions were secure but found themselves being driven south toward Singapore. After two months the Japanese had pushed the British into an untenable position; General Percival surrendered to General Yarnashita in Singapore on 15 February 1942.

The Japanese held Malaya and Singapore through the remainder of the war. Japan initially intended to annex Malaya directly into the empire as a colony. The island of Sumatra, part of the military administration of Malaya. was to be included. In late 1943 Sumatra was transferred to the military administration of the Netherlands East Indies and the Japanese began to talk of autonomy for Malaya. No date was set for this event and no separate administration was established in Malaya before the end of the war. After the Japanese surrender. Malaya was returned to British control and gained independence in 1957.

Malayan dollars (JIM) were carried into Malaya and North Borneo in December 1941 and remained in use through the end of the war, although the issue changed somewhat during this time. The high denominations issued initially have engraved faces: some of these pieces are also serially numbered.

After the Japanese established themselves in Malaya. new notes were issued, reportedly lithographed there but more likely in the Netherlands East Indies. Under the Southern Development Bank. notes up to $1000 were issued and lower valued notes declined in quality. When the Malayan JIM first became available in the United States. enterprising individuals advertised them as Japanese invasion money prepared for use in the United States. The only basis for this was the fact that the notes are denominated in dollars. From time to time elements of this story still surface.

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