Paper Money

Japan to release new note series starting in 2024

The Finance Ministry of Japan said April 19 that it will be issuing new bank notes for the first time since 2004. The 10,000-yen note, 5,000-yen note and 1,000-yen note are slated to make their debut in 2024 at the earliest. 

Finance Minister Taro Aso said at the news conference announcing the issue, which will be referred to as “Series F,” that the reason for the five-year gap before issue is that the time is needed to create sufficient added security. Japan has updated its designs about every 20 years. The 2004 issue was announced about two years in advance.

The planned 2024 issues bear a resemblance to the present issue in terms of a style that identifies them as from Japan, but with entirely different face and back themes. The 10,000-yen note will feature Eiichi Shibusawa (1840 to 1931), a leading businessman during the Meiji and Taisho eras (1860 to 1926), who helped run over 500 banks and commercial enterprises during his lifetime. He is known as “the father of Japanese capitalism.” The Marunouchi Building, in front of Tokyo Station, will be on the back.

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The 5,000-yen note will depicts Umeko Tsuda (1864 to 1929), Tsuda University’s founder and a pioneer of women’s education. She will replace another prominent woman, writer Ichiyo Higuchi. Wisteria flowers will adorn the back.

Shibasaburo Kitasato (1853 to 1931), a globally renowned bacteriologist, will be on the new 1,000-yen note. He is known as the father of modern medicine in Japan and is recognized for the discovery the bacterium responsible for bubonic plague. The back will show a work of Japanese art Kanagawa Oki Namiura (Under the Wave off Kanagawa). It is one of a series of woodblock prints “Fugaku Sanjurokkei” (36 views of Mount Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai.

It was decided not to redo the 2,000-yen note because it is so little used.

All notes currently in circulation will remain legal tender.

The proposed 10,000-yen note (worth about $90) has already stirred controversy, with South Korean media criticizing the use of Shibusawa’s portrait. He is associated with Japan’s imperialist plunder of Korea after was annexed in 1910. One newspaper described him as having wrongfully taken advantage of Korea’s economy through one of his banks. 

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