Who are the people on the 1,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen bills?
(With the exception of Hideyo Noguchi, all names are listed family name first, given name second.)
Bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) is the man on the 1,000 yen bill. Through his research he successfully cultured a pure sample of Treponema pallidum, the bacterium which causes syphilis. He died in Accra in Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) of yellow fever while researching the disease. From 1984-2004, author Natsume Sōseki appeared on the 1,000 yen bill.
AuthorHiguchi Ichiyō (1872-1896) is shown on the 5,000 yen bill. Some of Higuchi’s most famous works are Ōtsugomori (The Last Day of the Year), Nigorie (Muddy Bay), Jūsan’ya (The Thirteenth Night), and Takekurabe (the English translations are known as Growing Up and Child’s Play). Higuchi died of tuberculosis at the young age of 24. Higuchi is the third woman to have her portrait on a Japanese banknote. Prior to Higuchi, politician and educator Nitobe Inazō appeared on the 5,000 yen bill from 1984-2004.
A portrait of Fukuzawa Yukichi (1834-1901) is printed on the 10,000 yen bill. Fukuzawa was a thinker and an educator who played a leading role in introducing Western culture and customs to Japan during the Meiji Restoration. He published a widely-read work, Seiyō jijō (Things Western), which explained Western politics, manners, economics, institutions, and civilization. Unlike the 1,000 and 5,000 yen bills, Fukuzawa’s portrait was not replaced with that of a different person in 2004. However, the image of a bird on the reverse side of the bill changed from a green pheasant to a phoenix.