Frequently Asked Questions on the Issuance of the New Banknote
Frequently Asked Questions
on the Issuance of the New Banknote.
This page includes information on the issuance of the new banknotes and their features. You can easily read these contents in the Q&A style.
New banknote issuance (design change)
QWhat is a “design change”?
AChanging the pattern and design of a banknote is called a “design change.” Since the first banknotes were issued in 1885 by the Bank of Japan, 53 different types of banknotes have been issued.
QWhy is a design change needed?
ADesign change aims to add new anti-counterfeiting technologies, thereby preventing counterfeiting and renewing the design completely.
QHow often is the banknote design changed?
AThe intervals vary, but recently, banknote design is being changed about every 20 years.
QHow is the banknote design decided?
AIn principle, the Minister of Finance is tasked with deciding the banknote design including the portrait according to the Bank of Japan Act, after discussions with the members of the Ministry of Finance (which oversees currency administration), Bank of Japan (the nation’s banknote issuer), and National Printing Bureau (the nation’s banknote manufacturer).
QHow are portraits for banknotes chosen?
AThere is no fixed process for choosing portraits for banknotes, but generally, they are selected for the following reasons:

・The person is someone who the Japanese can feel proud of, and who is generally well known, such as someone who is depicted in school textbooks.
・To assist with anti-counterfeit measures, highly detailed photos or drawings of the person are available for use.
On this basis, the portraits used on current banknotes have been chosen from among famous cultural figures from the Meiji era and after.
The reason for using portraits in the design of banknotes is because the human eye has the ability to catch the slightest difference in a face or facial expression.
QWill the currently used banknotes become invalid?
AThere is no plan to invalidate the currently used banknotes after the new series of notes will be released. Banknotes are legally granted unlimited mandatory circulating power. Unless special legal measures are taken, those notes will not lose this circulating power. There are currently 18 banknotes that are still legal but no longer issued. For details, please check the banknotes issued in the past(
Banknote design
QWhich side is the front of a banknote?
AFor all banknotes issued to date, the front is the side with the main pattern and the opposite side is the back. The two sides of a banknote are defined when the Minister of Finance issues a public notice in the Official Gazette regarding the specification of Bank of Japan notes issued under the Bank of Japan Act. The side identified as the front in this public notice is officially the front of the banknote. Current banknotes (10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 1,000 yen) feature a portrait on the front. With the 2,000 yen note, the side showing Shurei Gate is the front.
Incidentally, the side of coins that features the year is referred to as back.
QHow do visually impaired individuals distinguish banknote denominations?
AIn designing the banknotes, various perspectives, including the convenient use for visually impaired individuals, are considered, and effective technologies and innovative design are adopted to improve the discriminability of banknote denominations.
Specifically, the following measures are adopted to enhance the distinguishability of banknote denominations:
①Intaglio tactile marks with high distinguishability are placed on different parts of each denomination.
②Enlarged numerals of the face value and adoption of white denomination numbers
③Utilizing colors that follow the current banknote’s primary color while further enhancing the discriminability of banknote denomination
④Differentiating watermark positions and silhouette designs among banknote denominations
⑤Implementing hologram positions and shapes in varied combinations among banknote denominations 
QWhose seals are printed on both sides of banknotes?
AThe seal on the front is that of the Governor of the Bank of Japan, and “Governor’s Seal” is written in the classical Tensho style. The seal on the back is that of the Director-General of the Bank of Japan’s Currency Issue Department, and “Director-General of the Issuing Department” is also written in the Tensho style.