Love Story on a Coin, 11/11/2012

In Japan, a Russian gold coin found in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on which the names of a Japanese woman and Russian man were carved could be a memento of a romance between a Russian prisoner of war and a Japanese nurse. The 10 Rouble coin, minted in 1899, was found in a well on the premises of Matsuyama Castle where a hospital taking in prisoners from the Russia-Japanese War (1904-1905).

On the coin were the names Naka Takeba and Mikhail Kostenko in Japanese "katakana" characters, as well as the Russian alphabet equivalent of M. Kostenko. According to the city's education board, there was an article in an old local newspaper suggesting the two were in love but were torn apart in the end. In the Kainan Shimbun newspaper, now the Ehime Shimbun, issued in 1904, there was a report about a female nurse named Naka Takeba working at the Imperial Japanese Army hospital on the castle premises where the Russian prisoners were institutionalized  The city reported earlier that the Japanese name found on the coin was Ka Tachibana but it later corrected the name to Naka Takeba.

The couple might have expressed their feelings by engraving their names on the coin as society back then would not allow a romance beyond national borders. This show how a coin can tell a love story between two people with a different language and both of their country are in war. Back then, their love story maybe will not be accepted by anyone. Nowadays, reading how they carving the gold coin with their name already show how romantic their love journey has been.



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