Last week I mentioned that new designs for the Japanese currency had been announced to start circulating by 2024. However, at that time, I skipped showing you guys what the currency would look like. I, instead, focused on who is currently represented on the bills, since most of my readers are probably unfamiliar with the look of Japanese money. You can read that first post here. Without, further ado:
Next Generation Designs
Per last time, I will describe the significance of each historical figure in ascending order.
On the obverse side of the new 1000 yen note is Shibasaburou Kitasato. Kitasato was a physician and bacteriologist, best known as the co-discoverer in finding the infectuous agent of the bubonic plague in 1894. More impressively, his accomplishments neither began nor ended there. He is also credited for working on antitoxins to combat anthrax and diphtheria, and is also recognized along with his student Kiyoshi Shiga for isolating and describing the organism that causes dysentery, and founding the Institue for the Study of Infectious Diseases with assistance from Yukichi Fukuzawa(currently featured on the 10000 yen note). Kitasato was later nominated for the First Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his colleague, Emil Von Behring, in 1901. However, unlike Von Behring, Kitasato was failed to be awarded for his contribution in the discovery of the diphtheria antitoxin serum. In anycase, Kitasato went on to become the first dean of medicine at Keio University and the first president of the Japan Medical Association.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Hokusai's famed "Great Wave off Kanagawa". The original image was created as a woodblock print, first in a series that viewed Mt. Fuji from 36 angles.
The front of the new 5000 yen notes features one of the most inspirational historical figures I've had the pleasure of sharing with you all so far, Umeko Tsuda. Umeko was born into a devoted christian family that, unlike most, thought highly of the education of women. That being the case, her father sent her to live abroad in America at the age of 6, living as a student until 18. During her time abroad, Umeko excelled at math, science, music and language; especially English, French and Latin. However, upon her return to Japan, she'd nearly forgotten her native tongue, which would go on to hinder her re-adjustment to Japanese society temporarily. That aside, the pressure to conform to the lower status women had in patriarichal society also didn't sit well with her coming from the more progressive United States. Umeko would eventually leave Japan again to pursue higher education in Biology and Education in the United States. It was during this time that she became driven to try and provide the same educational opportunities to other Japanese women by fundraising scholarships. After returning to Japan for a second time, Tsuda would become one of the highest paid (female) educators of her era. She would go on to publish several dissertations and make a number of speeches for the improvement of women's status in society. With the aid of Princess Oyama Sutematsu, Umeko would found the Women's Institute for English Studies, later renamed Tsuda College; still recognized as one of Japan's most prestigous institutes for the higher education of women.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Japanese Wisteria. They typically bloom around mid Spring, carry a strong fragrance similar to grapes, and an grow up to 30ft long.
The new face of the 10,000 yen note is known as Eiichi Shibusawa. He is is commonly referred to as the "father of modern Japanese capitalism". After the Meiji Restoration, Shibusawa served as a pivotal character in reforming economic policy. This is in part due to his exposure with Europe's industrial and economic development as a member of Tokugawa Akitake's delegation to the Paris World Exhibition in 1867. After returning from his travels, Shibusawa realized the importance of these elements among western cultures and societies, taking it upon himself to introduce such practices to Japan. He is credited with founding hundreds of corporations and government entities still in service today. These include the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and "The First National Bank", now known as Mizuho Bank; first of its kind to function via joint stock ownership and the power to issue its own notes in Japan. Though Shibusawa, founded countless numbers of companies, he refused to be the primary stakeholder in any of them. He was an advocate for the harmony of good ethics and business. This virtuous thinking would later develop into the spearheading of projects that would ultimately better society, involving himself in over 600 projects related to the higher education of women and social welfare.
The reverse of the bill shows a depiction of Tokyo Station, specifically the Marunouchi side. It is one of the largest and most heavily trafficked stations in the country. It is visited by over 900K commuters daily, ranking it number 4 in the nation.
There is a lot to unpack here, but through my research I can honestly say I've learned a lot. I've never been this curious about the presidents on American money, so its quite interesting to see individuals from other parts of society recognized on currency. Out of the 6 individuals I introduced over these last 2 post, who interested you the most? Did you learn anything new? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,