Malaya consists of the island of Singapore and a set of states located on the Malay Peninsula that were under the British rule from the late 18th century until the mid-20th century. As the largest producer of tin and rubber in the world, the nation was among the most thriving protectorates of the British Empire.  

Former British Empire | Source: Wikimedia

Japan’s Invasion in Malaya 

During the Second World War, Malaya was invaded by the Japanese troops in December 1941, putting Malaya and Singapore under Japanese rule from 1942 until 1945. The Japanese forces led by Lieutenant Tomoyuki Yamashita launched an assault starting at Kota Bharu and advancing to the eastern portion and crossing the Thailand-Malayan border to the western part of the country.   

Japanese Imperial Army Invaded Malaya | Source: National Geographic

Japanese Banknotes in Malaya 

After the surrender of Britain, the Japanese government introduced banknotes for use throughout the nation. Just like preceding currencies such as the Straits dollar, Malayan dollar, and the British North Borneo dollar. The Japanese banknotes were in “dollars” and “cents” as well. A common design element of the cents paper bills are guilloch patterns, the issuing government, and the denomination. It is on the obverse and in numerals on the reverse. Meanwhile, dollar banknotes feature trees and fruits. 

Malaya 100 Dollars Banknote | 1944 ND | Source: Banknote World

This banknote series is also known as “JIM” or Japanese Invasion Money. It replaced the Malayan banknotes at the same rate. These banknotes bear English and Japanese text and the imprint of the Greater Japan Imperial Government on their obverse. Some also know them as “banana banknotes”. That is because of the banana stalk shown on the obverse of the 10-dollar paper bill. 

Malaya 10 Dollars Banknote | 1942 | Source: Banknote World Educational

At the conclusion of the war, Malaya and Singapore fell back to the British Military Administration. The remaining Japanese occupation banknotes have “MALAYAN VJ WAR SOUVENIR” written over previous designs Grim Memories of 1941-1945.  

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