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.
I like Shiba Inu[s], so I did my best to draw Shiba Inu bills.
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.
柴犬紙幣の左下に飛んでいるモモンガは北海道に生息する「エゾモモンガ」です。— ぽん吉🌱おやさい妖精さん (@PonkichiM) February 7, 2021
日常の お買い物で人から人へと優しく飛び交うイメージとしてデザインに入れさせていただきました。 pic.twitter.com/U6ba48xzsD
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.
猫紙幣もあればというコメントも多かったので、（瞬く）さんに紙幣絵の柴犬部分を猫に描いていただいた紙幣もありますので ご紹介。amazonで（猫紙幣）で検索するとグッズも沢山ありますのでぜひ🐈✨https://t.co/RAAa3uTBPa— ぽん吉🌱おやさい妖精さん (@PonkichiM) August 27, 2022
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.
レンコン狐のレンコンちゃん。— ぽん吉🌱おやさい妖精さん (@PonkichiM) June 28, 2020
おやさい妖精さんは調理の際に食材からポンって抜け出すから安心だよ。その食材は旨味が増して とっても美味しくなるよ🌱 pic.twitter.com/SqohWOvwh2
Photos provided courtesy of PonkichiM (Twitter).