ONE HEART, ONE SPIRIT, TO INSPIRE
When one of my friends told me that she prepared many Japanese coins of ¥5 (五円) to give her friends in her country as present after finishing her study, I wondered and was like asking why. Reading my mind, she then said that ¥5 has some particulars which are none of the other Japanese coins have. She mentioned two things. First is that the coin got the hole in the middle that we can put a chain through it and use it as key holder.
The second one is that it is the only coin which has no numerical symbol marked on, but the Kanji letter(五円)。That’s true since the other coins have the numeric symbols on the coin to indicate the value of the currency that gives so much help to foreigners when they need it to purchase something. Here, I remember when we ( group of foreign students), just arrived in Japan and tried our luck in survival by doing shopping in a convenient store. One of us had been our savior at that time for showing us the value of the coin and kindly explaining the meaning of the Kanji letters on it. The two reasons have changed my attitude toward the coin.
It changes even better when one day I came across an article in The Japan Times, mentioning that the ¥5(五円)represents good intention of creating good relationships among human being. It is due to the word “go en” can also be written by another Kanji letter as ご縁(ごえん). ごmeans showing respect to the opponent’s possession, and the Kanji of 縁(えん) has the meaning of destiny,family ties,fate,relationship,affinity,chance(to meet someone and start a relationship), and many others. All of which imply positive spirits.
That’s why, it is common among the Japanese people to send ¥5 into the charity box in shrines or throw it into the holy pond to pledge for a good fate and fortune in their life. It is also part of the Japanese culture that people put ¥5 in a special purse as a gift to express their hope of starting a good relationship among themselves. It happens in Japan that marriage people are said to be 縁があった(s/he got in relationship or in good fate), and those who are not married are said to be 縁がなかった which means the opposite.
However, I believe, no body would never like the using of the word えん(縁) in the following proverb :
The end of money is the end of love.