Anti-counterfeiting measures for Japanese Banknotes

Anti-counterfeiting measures that can be confirmed by touch

Intaglio printing

Notes are printed with ink that rises higher than the ink on older notes, giving them a textured feeling when touched.

Tactile marks

In place of watermarking, tactile marks by intaglio printing with a textured feeling are employed to help the visually handicapped distinguish different notes with their fingers. Identifying marks are shaped differently for each type of note in order to make it easier to differentiate between the different notes.

Anti-counterfeiting measures that can be confirmed with watermarks


Watermarking is a technique to prevent counterfeiting by producing variations in the thickness of the paper. The watermark has sharp and spatial gradation in its image. There are watermarks of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Ichiyo Higuchi, Hideyo Noguchi, and the Shurei Gate in Okinawa; the same portraits and landscape as the ones found on the front of the notes.


Watermarks in bar patterns are embedded in the paper. When seen against the light, the Series-E 10,000 yen note has 3 bars, the Series-E 5,000 yen note has 2 bars, and the Series-E 1,000 yen note has 1 bar.

Anti-counterfeiting measures that can be confirmed by tilting


When seen from different angles, the characters for the denomination “10000”, a design of “日” from “日本銀行” meaning the Bank of Japan, and the image of a cherry tree appear.

Latent images

When tilting a note, the denomination “10000”, “5000” and “2000” appears on the front side, and “NIPPON” appears on the reverse side.

Pearl patterns as latent images

When the note is tilted, depending on the angle, the characters “千円” or the denomination “1000” produced by pearl printing appear as latent images in the bar on the bottom left of the note.

Pearl ink

Not visible from the front, but when tilting a note, a pink pattern emerges at the center of either end of the note.

Color shifting inks

When tilting a note, the characters for “2000” change color from blue green to purple.

Anti-counterfeiting measures that can be confirmed with tools


“NIPPONGINKO” is printed in microscript that cannot be easily reproduced on color copy machines. The letters can be discerned when magnified using a tool such as a loupe (magnifying glass).

Luminescent ink

When ultraviolet light is shone on a note, the seal of the Governor of the Bank of Japan on the front side, and part of the background pattern on either side, become luminous.


Various anti-counterfeit measures are used on banknotes, including technologies that make it easy to identify counterfeit notes by sight and touch, as well as technologies that make it difficult to create counterfeit notes using computers and other such equipment. There are also technologies to enhance the counterfeit detection capabilities of cash handling machines (ATMs, vending machines, etc.).
This last technology is to prevent counterfeits that target machines such as the widely available vending machines. In order to ensure that these kinds of counterfeit attempts are identified, the banknotes incorporate measures that make it easy to check the validity of the notes in cash-handling machines.

Source NPB