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500 Yen 1969, Japan

in Krause book Number: 95b
Years of issue: 01.11.1969
Edition:
Signatures: no signature
Serie: Serie C (1963 - 1969)
Specimen of: 01.11.1969
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 160 x 72
Printer: National Printing Bureau, Tokyo

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

500 Yen 1969

Description

Watermark:

500 Yen 1969

Sakura and wavy lines.

Avers:

500 Yen 1969

500 Yen 1969

The engraving on banknote is made after this photo of Iwakura Tomomi (岩倉具視). The photo was taken from "Illustrated London News Magazine", issued in 1872.

Iwakura Tomomi (岩倉 具視, October 26, 1825 – July 20, 1883) was a Japanese statesman during the Bakumatsu and Meiji period.

Iwakura was born in Kyoto as the second son of a low-ranking courtier and nobleman Horikawa Yasuchika (堀川 康親). In 1836 he was adopted by another nobleman, Iwakura Tomoyasu (岩倉 具康), from whom he received his family name. He was trained by the kampaku Takatsukasa Masamichi and wrote the opinion for the imperial Court reformation. In 1854 he became a chamberlain to Emperor Kōmei.

As with most other courtiers in Kyoto, Iwakura opposed the Tokugawa shogunate's plans to end Japan's national isolation policy and to open Japan to foreign countries. When Hotta Masayoshi, a Rōjū of the Tokugawa government came to Kyoto to obtain imperial permission to sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (United States-Japan) in 1858, Iwakura gathered courtiers who opposed the treaty and attempted to hinder negotiations between the Shōgun and the Court.

After Tairō Ii Naosuke was assassinated in 1860, Iwakura supported the Kobugattai Movement, an alliance of the Court and the Shogunate. The central policy of this alliance was the marriage of the Shōgun Tokugawa Iemochi and Princess Kazu-no-Miya Chikako, the younger sister of the Emperor Kōmei. Samurai and nobles who supported the more radical Sonnō jōi policy saw Iwakura as a supporter of the Shogunate, and put pressure on the Court to expel him. As a result, Iwakura left the Court in 1862 and moved to Iwakura, north of Kyoto.

In Iwakura he wrote many opinions and sent them to the Court or his political companions in Satsuma Domain. In 1866 when Shōgun Iemochi died, Iwakura attempted to have the Court seize political initiative. He tried to gather daimyō under the name of the Court but failed. When the Emperor Kōmei died the next year, there was a rumor Iwakura had plotted to murder the emperor with poison, but he escaped arrest.

With Ōkubo Toshimichi and Saigō Takamori, on January 3, 1868, he engineered the seizure of the Kyoto Imperial Palace by forces loyal to Satsuma and Chōshū, thus initiating the Meiji Restoration. He commissioned Imperial banners with the sun and moon on a red field, which helped ensure that the encounters of the Meiji Restoration were generally bloodless affairs.

After the establishment of the Meiji government, Iwakura played an important role due to the influence and trust he had with Emperor Meiji. He was largely responsible for the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath of 1868, and the subject abolition of the han system.

Soon after his appointment as Minister of the Right in 1871, he led the two-year around-the-world journey known as the Iwakura mission, visiting the United States and several countries in Europe with the purpose of renegotiating the unequal treaties and gathering information to help effect the modernization of Japan. A celebration was held in Manchester and Liverpool in 1997 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Iwakura Mission. On his return to Japan in 1873, he was just in time to prevent an invasion of Korea (Seikanron). Realizing that Japan was not in any position to challenge the western powers in its present state, he advocated strengthening the imperial institution, which he felt could be accomplished through a written constitution and a limited form of parliamentary democracy. He ordered Inoue Kowashi to begin work on a constitution in 1881, and ordered Itō Hirobumi to Europe to study various European systems.

Although in poor health by early 1883, Iwakura went to Kyoto in May to direct efforts to restore and preserve the imperial palace and the buildings of the old city, many of which had been falling into disrepair since the transfer of the capital to Tokyo. Soon however, he became seriously ill and was confined to his bed. The Meiji Emperor sent his personal physician, Erwin Bälz, to examine Iwakura; Baelz diagnosed advanced throat cancer. The emperor personally visited his old friend on July 19, and was moved to tears at his condition. Iwakura died the following day, and was given a state funeral, the first ever given by the imperial government.

500 Yen 1969

At the bottom are the flowers of Sakura and the red seal of Bank of Japan.

In Japan, cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware. The association of the cherry blossom with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality; for this reason, cherry blossoms are richly symbolic, and have been utilized often in Japanese art, manga, anime, and film, as well as at musical performances for ambient effect. There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled "Sakura", and several pop songs. The flower is also represented on all manner of consumer goods in Japan, including kimono, stationery, and dishware.

The Sakurakai or Cherry Blossom Society was the name chosen by young officers within the Imperial Japanese Army in September 1930 for their secret society established with the goal of reorganizing the state along totalitarian militaristic lines, via a military coup d'état if necessary.

During World War II, the cherry blossom was used to motivate the Japanese people, to stoke nationalism and militarism among the populace. Even prior to the war, they were used in propaganda to inspire "Japanese spirit," as in the "Song of Young Japan," exulting in "warriors" who were "ready like the myriad cherry blossoms to scatter". In 1932, Akiko Yosano's poetry urged Japanese soldiers to endure sufferings in China and compared the dead soldiers to cherry blossoms. Arguments that the plans for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, involving all Japanese ships, would expose Japan to serious danger if they failed, were countered with the plea that the Navy be permitted to "bloom as flowers of death". The last message of the forces on Peleliu was "Sakura, Sakura" - cherry blossoms. Japanese pilots would paint them on the sides of their planes before embarking on a suicide mission, or even take branches of the trees with them on their missions. A cherry blossom painted on the side of the bomber symbolized the intensity and ephemerality of life; in this way, the aesthetic association was altered such that falling cherry petals came to represent the sacrifice of youth in suicide missions to honor the emperor. The first kamikaze unit had a subunit called Yamazakura or wild cherry blossom. The government even encouraged the people to believe that the souls of downed warriors were reincarnated in the blossoms.

In its colonial enterprises, imperial Japan often planted cherry trees as a means of "claiming occupied territory as Japanese space".

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corners. In words centered.

Revers:

500 Yen 1969

500 Yen 1969

The view at Mt. Fuji. Made from the Mt. Ono (大野山, Onoyama) - one of the best of Mt. Fuji view spots in Kanto area.

Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan), located on Honshu Island, is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m. (12,389 ft.). An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707-1708, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometers (60 mi.) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.

500 Yen 1969

Mount Fuji is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" (三霊山? Sanreizan) along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is also a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and one of Japan's Historic Sites. It was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on June 22, 2013. Per UNESCO, Mount Fuji has "inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries". UNESCO recognizes 25 sites of cultural interest within the Mt. Fuji locality. These 25 locations include the mountain itself, Fujisan.

500 Yen 1969

In Shinto mythology, Kuninotokotachi (国之常立神?, Kuninotokotachi-no-Kami, in Kojiki)(国常立尊, Kuninotokotachi-no-Mikoto, in Nihon Shoki) is one of the two gods born from "something like a reed that arose from the soil" when the earth was chaotic. In the Nihon Shoki, he is the first of the first three divinities born after heaven and earth were born out of chaos, and is born from something looking like a reed-shoot growing between heaven and earth. He is known by mythology to reside on top of Mount Fuji (富士山).

Kuninotokotachi is described as a hitorigami and genderless in Kojiki, while as a male god in Nihon Shoki.

Yoshida Kanetomo, the founder of the Yoshida Shintō sect, identified Kuninotokotachi with Amenominakanushi and regarded him as the primordial god of the Universe.

At the bottom is the red seal of Bank of Japan.

Denominations in numerals are right of center and in lower left corner, in words at the bottom.

Comments:

Withdrawn from circulation at 1 of April 1994.