10,000 yen

Our third and final PEOPLE OF MONEY post.

The biggest and *my personal favourite* bill, the 10,000 yen bill features Japan’s Voltaire/Benjamin Franklin; Yukichi Fukuzawa.

Born into a poor samurai family in 1835 he started classical training from the age of 5. This was during a time when Japan was still a closed island nation. He was among the members of the first diplomatic visit to the United States in 1859 and upon his return he decided to write the first English-Japanese dictionary.
He was a integral figure during the westernization of Japanese society. He also founded Keio University, the oldest institute of higher education in Japan.


Fukuzawa has been on the 10,000 yen note since 1984. He was the only figure to remain after the 2004 change of series.


1000 yen


The dapper chap with the fly-away hair on the 1000yen bill is Hideyo Noguchi.

Born in Fukushima he was badly burnt when he fell into a fire as a baby……………..”fell”,  as there was no doctor in his small village he was left deformed up until his elementary school classmates raised the money for him to have surgery.

He vowed to become a doctor and moved to America in 1900. He researched polio, rabies, syphilis, trachoma, yellow fever and discovered syphilis to be the cause for a progressive paralytic disease. He was sued for his use of humans in his experiments.

He was researching in modern day Ghana if yellow fever was caused by a bacteria instead of a virus when he caught, ironically, yellow fever  and died (boom-boom-tish). His last words were “I don’t understand’” .

He has been on the 1000 yen bill since 2004.