Oita: Current ‘Face’ on ¥10,000 Banknote to Remain ‘Forever’ at Station

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A mosaic artwork is displayed at JR Nakatsu Station in Oita Prefecture on March 17.

NAKATSU, Oita — A giant mosaic artwork depicting the current ¥10,000 banknote has been unveiled at JR Nakatsu Station in Oita Prefecture ahead of the banknote’s design change.

Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), the man depicted on the current ¥10,000 banknote, was an educator who founded Keio University and spent his youth in Nakatsu.

A local nonprofit organization commissioned a company to create the artwork depicting Fukuzawa, a familiar face on the banknote for about 40 years, in order to pass on his achievements to future generations. The artwork, which measures approximately 2.1 meters by 4.5 meters, uses 94,128 1-centimeter square tiles. A bronze plaque with a historical timeline of Fukuzawa, the background of the artwork’s donation and a banner with text from his book “Gakumon no Susume” (An Encouragement of Learning), are placed near the artwork.

In July this year, the portrait on the ¥10,000 banknote will be replaced by that of Eiichi Shibusawa, a businessman who lived during the same period as Fukuzawa.

“Even though the face [on the banknote] is being replaced, we shall make efforts to prevent visitors to Nakatsu from forgetting Fukuzawa,” Hiroshi Naka, head of the NPO and president of the Nakatsu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at a ceremony to unveil the artwork on March 17.