Banzai for the 10,000 yen bill
Posted by ampontan on Monday, December 1, 2008
IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO today, at 9:00 a.m., that the Bank of Japan issued the first 10,000-yen note, still the highest denomination of Japanese currency in circulation. The BOJ started shipping all those bills to its branches at the start of work that day.
It must have been a big deal to get your hands on one. The average starting salary for a new college graduate in those days was 12,000 yen a month.
The first bill bore the likeness of Shotoku Taishi, and the watermark was a view of the Horyu-ji Buddhist temple in Nara. They were 84 millimeters wide (3.3 inches) and 174 millimeters long (6.85 inches). Twenty-six years later, in 1984, the likeness of Fukuzawa Yukichi replaced that of Shotoku Taishi, and the size was reduced to 76 millimeters wide by 160 millimeters long.
Downsizing the money was a step I was all in favor of. That was my first year in Japan, and the older version of the bill didn’t fit completely in my American wallet. The top edges stuck out of the side, and the bills got wrinkled in my back pocket. It looked sloppy every time I pulled the wallet out.
The new, reduced size solved that problem. Now I only wish I had a few more of the bills to stick in there every month, wrinkled or not. Too thick is a better problem than too wide!
Afterwords: If I remember correctly, they also started phasing out the 500-yen bill and minting more 500-yen coins the same year.
And if you’re a foreigner who can remember the old 10,000-yen notes and the 500-yen bill, maybe that’s another one for the Too Long in Japan category.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm and is filed under Business, finance and the economy, Social trends. Tagged: Japan, Nara. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.