You may have looked at the faces printed on Japanese yen currency and assumed they were monarchs or politicians, but the truth is that Japan hasn't featured a member of the Imperial Family on banknotes since 1969. Rather, the portraits are often of writers, educators and doctors – pioneers of Japanese arts and sciences.
Japan changes its banknotes roughly every two decades, so while the current banknotes were only introduced in 2004, they will soon be replaced by new ones in 2024. Here's the background on the famous faces printed on current Japanese banknotes, along with the ones that will replace them in four years' time.
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