Japan to redesign banknotes in 2024

Japan will introduce new 10,000 yen, 5,000 yen and 1,000 yen bills in 2024 with cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting protections in the first design overhaul since 2004, the government said Tuesday.
The banknotes will feature, respectively, industrialist Eiichi Shibusawa (1840-1931), educator Umeko Tsuda (1864-1929) and physician and bacteriologist Shibasaburo Kitasato (1853-1931), Finance Minister Taro Aso said in a news conference.
The reverse sides of the new bills will show, in turn, the red-brick Tokyo Station building, which was originally built in 1914, wisteria flowers, and "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" from the "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" series by famed ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and one of Japan's best-known woodprints.
Both the 10,000 yen and 5,000 yen bills will incorporate a hologram, the former showing a three-dimensional portrait of Shibusawa and the latter of Tsuda, as part of the ministry's efforts to strengthen the notes' security.
The Arabic numerals denoting the value of the bills will be larger than the Chinese characters that show the amount, unlike the current notes, to make them more instantly recognizable.
The announcement of the new banknotes comes as Japan prepares to usher in the new Reiwa era when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the throne on May 1 following his father Emperor Akihito's abdication the previous day.
"We will revamp the designs to ensure counterfeit prevention," Aso said, adding new materials will also be used for the 500 yen coin.
The minister said the three people appearing on the new banknotes were picked because they are well known in the country through history textbooks.
"I believe they are suitable for Bank of Japan notes under the new era name for their endeavors in overcoming various challenges that we continue to face today, including fostering new industries, women's empowerment and technological advancement," Aso said.
The new bills will be put in circulation in the first half of fiscal 2024 and the 500 yen coin in the first half of fiscal 2021.
Shibusawa is widely known as the "father of Japanese capitalism." He founded the first modern bank in Japan, named The First National Bank, which is currently Mizuho Bank.
Ken Shibusawa, a descendant of Eiichi and chairman of Tokyo-based Commons Asset Management Inc., told Kyodo News he is pleased to see Shibusawa "become widely known at home and abroad" through the new bill.
Tsuda is remembered as a Christian and pioneer in education for women in the country. She established what is now Tsuda University in Tokyo.
Kitasato helped discover a method to prevent tetanus and diphtheria and, in the same year as Alexandre Yersin of France, discovered the infectious agent responsible for the bubonic plague.
The current banknotes feature educator Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) on the 10,000 yen bill, Meiji-era novelist Ichiyo Higuchi (1872-1896) on the 5,000 yen bill and microbiologist Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) on the 1,000 yen bill.

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