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Japan P-26 (漢字 serial block numbers; ND 1889) (1)

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10 Sep 2019
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On the 1889 banknote version, the kanji appears to be 兊換 and would later appear as a recognizable 兌換 in similar titles on other banknotes using a different face-type. According to sources, the kanji translates as convertible or exchangeable but when referenced using an English to Japanese approach, the search yielded 転換 and 交換 respectively. How is either 兊換 or 兌換 used? Did 兊 somehow evolve into 兌? Would one form be obsolete? Does it make a difference? Is the difference based on usage popularity? Also observed was a similar word 引換 in a text explaining the assurance of exchange from paper to gold or cash coin.

As a simple hobby collecting banknotes (in this case Japanese notes), it is my hope to correctly identify the kanji used on the banknotes and reverify or add to information printed in English version references--some of which are lacking in details that add to Japan history and evolution of language. In order to achieve my goal, I decided that I needed to correctly identify the kanji being used in its modern type form as a baseline and then obtain the corresponding hiragana pronunciation to the kanji as a word in order to better appreciate the translation. Please refer to attached images as reference to my inquiry.


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Both kanji on the old banknotes are forms of 換 (dakan)
You can see the variations in the same kanji on this page

One is just a more stylized version of 兌, which is the standard way of writing. The stylized typefaces often attempt to evoke a classic tone, or a kind of writing that carries the weight of authority.
Nippon Ginkō Dakanken

Nippon Ginkō Dakan Ginken
Thanks for the insight. Definitely a real boost in my endeavor at better understanding the Japanese intent and truly something worth knowing since stroke patterns are very important at recognizing each kanji. By far, your explanation is as expected professional and insightful.
QUESTION 2. (Concerning title of 1889 banknote)

On the 1889 an observation was made on the kanji 銀 which appears twice within the title. Is the difference between both characters of the same kanji attributable to one being a variant of the other? Or would the difference be attributable to style of calligraphy and an accepted practice? Two examples are provided for the same title with different classical writing styles illustrating two forms of 銀 appearing in the same context. Which ever the case, to what purpose did it serve if not for aesthetic impact or difference in pronunciation reading? Was it commonplace during this time period up to the 1940s to employ the use of different glyphs for the same kanji character or is the practiced used when using classical writing styles? Would the calligraphy convention for expressing same kanji in different form be based on its different meaning/word construct as 銀 is combined to form 銀行 (ginkō) to denote 'bank' as in financial institution whereas the second is 銀 (gin) to denote 'silver' in terms of monetary form?

I suspect this question calligraphy in nature rather than in properly identifying and translating the kanji. If this be the case, your assistance to redirect my inquiry a reputable source would be most appreciated.

Attached are images to be used as reference along with the information you kindly provided which assisted at correcting aspects of the prior slide. (After enlarging the furigana, I found to my embarrassment, that I had misspelled Nippon).


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There is no difference in how the variations are pronounced, and no difference in meaning. The site below says it is a stylistic difference given by the designer who made the typeface for the notes, Takada Tadachika. Takada was a scholar of kanji, and edited what became the standard reference for calligraphic typefaces.
The site you kindly provided is somewhat equivalent to the proverbial "giving a kid the keys to a candy store." If you don't hear from me, its because I am exploring the information provided at the site. Thank you for allowing me to explore and continue learning on my own....Wow, who would have known and I am glad to have asked. And more so, I am fortunate to encounter someone willingly to help....thank you.
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