Man Selling Old Coins On The Sidewalk

Old coin seller doing business in a street corner in Jakarta
Shot in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia Tetsu Ozawa

There was a man selling old coins at a street corner in Jakarta

I was heading south on Hayam Wuruk in Jakarta, a large street named after a former king. The sidewalks were of the type that dug into buildings that are often seen in the Southern countries. The sidewalk, which shades the sun, is a good place for street vendors to do business.

The place I was passing by was just such a place. A number of people were setting up shop with their wares on a shaded street. I don't know why, but the only people who had shops in the area were painters and secondhand dealers. The person in the photo was the latter, selling old coins and bills on the street.

It was interesting to see that among the bills and coins from the Dutch colonial period, there were Japanese military yen issued by the former Japanese army in the former Dutch East Indies.

Since 1800, when all of the East Indies except Portuguese East Timor became Dutch East Indies, and almost the entire territory of present-day Indonesia came under the direct rule of the Dutch government, Indonesia has consistently been a Dutch colony, although there was a period of Japanese rule from 1942 to 1945 at the end of World War II. And it was during that period that the Japanese military issued the Japanese military yen.

It is not known how that Japanese military yen went through the post-war period. But there must have been a fair amount of Japanese military yen issued. Nearly 80 years after the war, there are still enough of them on the market to line the storefronts of antique coin merchants on town corners.


Who is Hayam Wuruk?

Hayam Wuruk, also called (after 1350) Rajasanagara, Pa-ta-na-pa-na-wu, or Bhatara Prabhu, (1334–1389), was a Javanese Hindu King from the Rajasa Dynasty and the fourth monarch of the Indianised Majapahit Empire. Together with his prime minister Gajah Mada, he reigned the empire at the time of its greatest power. During his reign the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, became ingrained in the culture and worldview of the Javanese through the wayang kulit (“leather puppets”). He was preceded by Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi and succeeded by his son-in-law Wikramawardhana. Most of the accounts of his life were taken from Nagarakretagama and Pararaton.

Where is Hayam Wuruk Street?




Shooting Date

Jan 2020

Posted On

May 22, 2020


Jakarta, Indonesia


Street Photography





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