Shiba Inu Design Banknotes!! A New Face for Japanese Yen?

WeXpats
2022/09/21

If only! These adorable, but sadly not real, Shiba Inu banknotes were designed by illustrator PonkichiM who is fond of Shiba Inu (柴犬). PonkichiM’s illustrations of various banknotes designs became a huge hit on Twitter with over 70 thousand likes. 

「柴犬が好きだから、頑張って柴犬の お札を描いて作りました。」
I like Shiba Inu[s], so I did my best to draw Shiba Inu bills. 

tweeted PonkichiM in this post tagged #多分私しかやってない (tabun watashi shika yattenai - I’m probably the only one doing this).

500 Yen Bill with Shiba Inu Puppies

A 500 yen banknote starring a shiba puppy pile

There are actually no 500 yen banknotes in Japan; 500 yen come in coins, and they are the largest and highest monetary value coin in Japan. In 2021, new 500 yen coins were released to curb counterfeiting. 

800 Yen Bill with a Pair of Shiba Inus and Mount Fuji

A pair of Shiba Inus enjoying the view of Mount Fuji. Their relationship is unknown but seems to be that of mom and pup. By the way, 800 yen banknotes don’t exist in Japan. 

1000 Yen Bill with Shiba Inu and Ezo Momonga

There is actually a deeper meaning behind the Ezo Momonga (Siberian Flying Squirrel in English) at the bottom left corner of the bill as explained by PonkichiM. 

The flying squirrel in the lower left corner … is the Ezo Momonga (エゾモモンガ) that lives in Hokkaido. It is said that the Ainu people worshipped the Ezo Momonga as a God that protects children, so I included it in the design to express an image of [banknotes] flying gently from person to person as they shop in their daily lives. 

In addition to the already super adorable Shiba, playful details such as Shiba Inu pawprints can be found on each banknote. In addition, the usual “Bank of Japan Notes (日本銀行券)” printed on bills are replaced with “Japan Shiba Bank (日本柴銀行)” instead! 

Another clever and playful hidden detail is the watermark on the banknote where PonkichiM drew a Pomeranian! Not a Shiba! When asked if there’s any special meaning behind this, PonkichiM answered that there’s no special meaning and it was added just to see if anyone would notice. When people did and commented, it added to the fun. 

2000 Yen Cat Bill by Popular Demand

A cat-lover fan of PonkichiM’s Shiba Inu Bills was inspired to make a cat version of the banknotes. The key points of the cat bill is the “Japan Cat Bank (日本猫銀行)” print on the top of the bill, and the watermark featuring a wide-eyed standing cat

Get These Adorable Merch and Support the Designer!

PonkichiM’s designs received such a great response that there are goods now! There are keychains, blankets, coin purses, IC card cases, handkerchiefs, T-shirts, and more. Interested? You can get them at Furbaby, including merch with the cat yen bill design. 

Follow PonkichiM’s Twitter account for other beautiful and adorable illustrations. One of PonkichiM’s longest running illustration series is “Vegetable Fairies ( おやさい妖精 o-yasai yousei)”. We recommend checking them out!  Here's a preview below. 

Photos provided courtesy of PonkichiM (Twitter). 

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