With the end of an era in Japan and a new one just on the horizon, there’s a number of important changes looming over Japan. Outside of the obvious move from “Heisei” to “Reiwa”, with Emperor Akihito stepping down in place of the Crown Prince Naruhito, a change of emperors has a lot of implications for the world’s oldest reigning dynasty. One such change, as revealed today, is a complete refacing of Japan’s current currency, with the 10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, 1,000 yen, and 500 yen notes and coins all receiving a pretty substantial changeup. Shared during a press conference with Finance Minister Taro Aso, the updated currency designs can be seen below:
— 朝日新聞デジタル編集部 (@asahicom) April 9, 2019
With the Reiwa Era set to begin in Japan from May 1, 2019, there will be a few years before these updated notes and coins make their way into circulation. During the conference, Taro Aso noted that the notes are expected to be released within the first fiscal quarter of 2024, so there’s still some five odd years before we’ll actually be using these updated notes. With the new notes, we’re seeing a number of new faces, starting from Shibasaburo Kitasato (1853 – 1931) on the 1,000 yen bill, a bacteriologist who played a key role in the development of medical science in Japan. The 5,000 yen bill features Tsuda University founder Umeko Tsuda, a pioneer in the education of Japanese women throughout the early 20th century. Finally, the 10,000 yen bill features Eiichi Shibusawa (1840 – 1931), a banker in which many consider the godfather of Japanese adoption of Western capitalism.
In an effort to fight against counterfeiting, the notes will feature state of the art holographic technology in addition to the changes to those featured. Each person mentioned previously will be embedded onto the bill with this holographic technology.
The last time the Japanese currency saw a change in design was 2004, with the 2024 scheduled release date being 20 years after this time. Finance Minister Taro Aso noted that, though the timing is quite close to the announcement of the new era, the change in power was not a driving force in the introduction of these new designs. With that being said, they did choose to announce the designs close to Emperor Akihito’s abdication date.