World War II JIM - Malaya Japanese Propaganda Note

Some people call it a "note", perhaps in reference to the short form for the term "banknote". If it is, then it is technically incorrect.

Before we get into the technical details, let's go back 70 years, Malaya was then under Japanese occupation since late 1941 / early 1942. By 1944/45 the tide was turning against the Japanese and toward the end of the war, sometime between 1944 and 1945, the Royal Air Force (British) started airdropping these pieces of paper as part of the psychological warfare initiative.

Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet Replica - Obverse
Fig 1 : Suspicious looking propaganda leaflet (Obverse)

Printed in Calcutta, this is a propaganda leaflet; a quick check with the reference books published by authors KN Boon, Steven Tan and Wong Hon Sum reveal that this piece was referred to as "propaganda issue". The photos in all three of the books appear to come from the same source. The leaflets in all three photos have a distinct smudge of red in on the left side on the obverse; the red dash just below the letter "E" of the "TEN DOLLARS" is a the dead give away. All three photos are with block letters "MN", same color as the rest of the print.

Schwan and Boling on the other hand, call it a "propaganda leaflet" which in my opinion is perhaps the most accurate description. A quick check on the photo in that book "World War II Remembered" did not show any "red dash" below the "E" and that piece is with block letters "MN".  Until proven otherwise, it would be safe to assume that the leaflets should all be with "MN"block, after all why would the British want to print the same leaflet with different block letters, right? Incidentally, there is no known record of how many of these were printed. 

Now given that it is a leaflet, it is neither a legal tender nor a counterfeit, as such they do not have any security features, making them very easy to replicate. Now here's the story - one of the local collector had asked me to take a look at once such piece recently. Have a look at this :

Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet Replica - Reverse
Fig 2 : Suspicious looking propaganda leaflet (Reverse)

From the onset, it looks pretty "normal". Paper looks aged and worn, the text are at the right places and all. But just to be sure, I immediately got in touch with a friend of mine in the US and obtained a high resolution scan of the known genuine to do a comparison, and here's the result : 

Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet Replica Counterfiet
Fig.3 Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet - Comparison (Obverse)
Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet Replica Counterfeit
Fig4. Malaya JIM Propaganda Leaflet - Comparison (Reverse)

From the first photo, I think it is pretty obvious that the diagonal stripe location is off. In addition, the specimen in question has block letters "MP" in black whereas the known genuine piece is with block "MN" in deep blue. 

On the reverse, the text are also faded and there are some signs of touch ups in red being done. The text appears to be smudged in many places and they lacked detail. Note the different red color tone between the two pieces.  

The reality is that this piece is quite highly sought after by collectors in recent years, local catalogs put its price at several thousand Ringgit or more than US$1000 for pieces with EF condition and above. At such prices, you can be pretty sure that replicas will start to appear. Now whether this is a recent replica or an older one, it wouldn't be easy to tell. 

As my friend Dickson Niew often say - "Caveat Emptor" or "Let the buyer beware!", especially when in comes to numismatics! 

Happy Collecting !  

P.S. A very special thanks to the collector from the north of the Peninsular who was very kind in sharing this with me and subsequently grant me the permission to publish this. An extra special thanks to JB from the US of A for the high resolution scan of the JIM propaganda note leaflet. 

P.P.S For those of you who are interested to read and learn more here are some references :


1. Boon K.N., Malaysia, Brunei & Singapore Banknotes & Coins, 7th Edition (2014)
2. Tan, Steven, Standard Catalogue Of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei Coin & Paper Money, 20th Ed.
3. Wong, Hon Sum, The Japanese Occupation of Malaya (Singapore) and its currency, Singapore, 1997
4. Schwan F.,  Boling J.E., World War II Remembered : History in your hands - a numismatic study, Krause Publications 1995. 


  1. For the side-by-side comparison to be useful, the IMAGE sizes have to match (not the paper sizes). So the scans of the suspect pieces have to be shrunk a bit, letting the right and left edges of the frame on the face appear directly above/below each other, and the right/left edges of the text align on the back. Then the apparent differences in locations of printed elements may not be as apparent. I agree that the MP piece is a replica - all original pieces are MN and the block is in the main plate of the printing - propaganda leaflet printers would not bother to run the pieces through the presses twice to get black blocks.