Paper Money

Transition to new notes ongoing for Bank of Japan

The Bank of Japan is printing new notes, while at the same time stopping production of several denominations of the current generation of notes.

Image courtesy of the Ministry of Finance.

As the Bank of Japan starts printing the redesigned bank notes it announced in 2019, The Jiji Press reports that the bank has finished printing the current 10,000-yen note with a portrait of well-known educator Yukichi Fukuzawa, as well as the 5,000- and 1,000-yen bills, with portraits of Meiji era (1868 to 1912) writer Ichiyo Higuchi and bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi.

The Japan Times also reports that mass production of newly designed notes of all three values has started, and they are scheduled to begin circulating in the first half of Japan’s 2024 fiscal year, which starts in April.

The new ¥10,000 bill has a portrait of Eiichi Shibusawa (1840 to 1931), who is known as the “father of Japanese capitalism.” The Shibusawa Company was one Japan’s biggest financial cartels, and was instrumental in establishing close relations between government and business. It was the first Japanese company to be incorporated. Britannica says that the company was involved in almost everything connected to industrial development — railways, steamship companies, fisheries, printing companies, steel plants, gas and electric industries, and oil and mining.

The new ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 bills have portraits of Umeko Tsuda, who contributed to promoting education for women, and Shibasaburo Kitasato, known as the “father of modern medicine in Japan.”

Umeko Tsuda (1864 to 1929) was educated in the United Sates at Georgetown Collegiate School and then at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia. It was during this time that she concluded that the opportunity to study abroad should be open to other Japanese women. Upon her return to Japan she wrote and publicly spoke about the status of women.

In 1894, Shibasaburo Kitasato (1853 to 1931) was one of the two discoverers of the agent that caused bubonic plague. He also helped develop a means of preventing tetanus and diphtheria through the use of serum therapy.

The intent of the bank note redesign is to prevent counterfeiting.

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