A Money Makeover

Author:Melinda Weir
Position:MELINDA WEIR is on the staff of Finance & Development.

Japan spruces up its currency with holograms,trailblazers,and iconic art

56 FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT | September 2019
PICK UP A 1,000 yen bill in a few years a nd you’ll
likely encounter a 3D holographic image of a
groundbreaking microbiologist on one side and one
of the world’s most recognizable ukiyo- e woodblock
prints on the other. On the 5,000 and 10,000 yen
bills, you’ll nd 3D images of a women’s educa-
tion pioneer and the man known as the father of
Japanese capitalism.
e Japanese government recently announced
a complete makeover for much of its currency. In
April 2019 the nance ministry re vealed redesigns
of the three most commonly used ba nknotes (the
1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen bills) along with 500
yen coins, marry ing cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting
tech with world-renowned art work and honoring
pioneers in science, business, and education.
e banknotes, which a re redesigned every 20
years, will go i nto circulation in 2024, while the
new coins will debut earlier.
Trio of leaders
e new banknotes honor a trio of 19th and
20th century lea ders in the development of early
modern Japan.
Eiichi Shibusawa (1840–1931), the “father of
Japanese capitalism,” will be featured on the
10,000 yen note, the most widely circulated
banknote in Japan. Shibusawa was a busi-
ness leader and entrepreneur who founded the
country’s rst bank, a long with approximately
500 other business and economic organi za-
tions, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange
and a number of businesses stil l in existence.
He was also a champion of civil society,
believing that public interest shou ld come
before prots, and was involved in the found-
ing of hundreds of organiz ations promoting
social welfare, education, and international
exchange. He once observed t hat an economy
has no national borders.
Umeko Tsuda (1864–1929), a pioneer in wom-
en’s education, will be featured on the 5,000
yen note. As a young child in 1871, Tsuda was
one of the rst female students sent overseas to
study on a government diplomatic program, just
two decades af ter Japan’s 200-year-plus period
of isolation ended. She returned to Japan and
fought for women’s higher education, eventually
founding one of the country’s rst women’s
colleges in 1900 (now Tsuda University).
Shibasaburo K itasato (1853–1931), a physi-
cian and bacteriologist, wi ll be the face of the
1,000 yen note. Kitasato discovered a method
Umeko Tsuda, founder of one of Japan’s first women’s colleges, will be featured on the new 5,000 yen note.
A Money Makeover
Japan spruces up its currency with holograms,
trailblazers, and iconic art
Melinda Weir

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