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  • On July 3rd, 2024, Japan got an overhaul of its currency, with new designs rolling out for each of its major banknotes, replacing designs that were in circulation for 20 years.

  • The new bills are redesigned with many new features and reflect a 21st century sensibility to cold hard cash.

  • If you're unfamiliar with the Japanese Yen, there are 3 main denominations, 1000, 5000 and 10000 Yen.

  • These values are unchanged from the previous series of notes.

  • The 1000 Yen note is blue and features Shibasaburo Kitasato on the front.

  • He invented tetanus serum therapy and founded the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Kitasato Institute, contributing to many advances in modern medicine.

  • The back depicts the Ukiyo-e artwork, Under the Great Wave Off Kanagawa, one of the most famous works by artist Hokusai.

  • These designs replace the old 1000 note which featured Hideo Noguchi, a medical pioneer himself.

  • The 5000 Yen note is purple and features Umeko Tsuda, who devoted her life to the higher education of modern women and founded Joshi Egaku Juku, which is now named Tsuda University in her honor.

  • The back features Japanese wisteria flowers called Fuji, which have been cherished since ancient times.

  • Fuji have been documented in the two oldest surviving Japanese books, Kojiki and the Manyoshu.

  • These designs replace the old 5000 note, which featured Ichio Higuchi, a poet who lived in the late 19th century.

  • The 10,000 Yen note is brown and features Eiichi Shibusawa, who was involved in the establishment of around 500 businesses during his lifetime and is often called the father of the modern Japanese economy.

  • The back depicts Tokyo Station as it looked when it first opened in 1914.

  • The building is commonly known as the Red Brick Station and Tokyo Station itself underwent renovations for its 100th anniversary to recapture the style of the original building.

  • These designs replace the old 10,000 note which featured Yukichi Fukuzawa, an envoy who traveled extensively around the world after Japan reopened itself in 1853.

  • These notes employ a number of anti-counterfeiting technologies, 3D holograms are used for the first time, while the designs feature extensive micro-printing.

  • The portraits are off-center and are combined with a high-definition watermark.

  • The famous faces were chosen not only for their contributions to Japanese society but also because these people have been photographed often, with each portrait based on a composite of photos of each person during his or her lifetime.

  • This makes counterfeiting much more difficult, as the faces seen on the notes don't actually exist.

  • The new notes also make changes to assist the visually impaired.

  • The notes feature Arabic and Japanese numbers in a much larger size than the older designs, on the front and on the back.

  • Each note also contains tactile marks that feel different with each denomination.

  • The sizes of the notes are also varied, with the 1,000 yen being the smallest, 5,000 slightly bigger and 10,000 the biggest.

  • The outgoing designs were released in 2004, those replaced other designs that were first issued in 1984.

  • Both of these series look very similar and now look very out of date next to the new 2024 series.

  • If you still have the old designs, don't worry, that money is still legal tender and will always be accepted.

  • So will there be another new design, 20 years down the road, in 2044?

  • Maybe, but for the time being, I wouldn't put all of my money on it.

On July 3rd, 2024, Japan got an overhaul of its currency, with new designs rolling out for each of its major banknotes, replacing designs that were in circulation for 20 years.

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