Tsuda University


June 12, 2019

Portrait of Umeko Tsuda, founder of Tsuda University,
to be featured on the new 5,000-yen bill

On April 9, 2019, the Ministry of Finance announced new designs for the 1,000-, 5,000- and 10,000-yen bill, and the new 5,000-yen bill will feature a portrait of Umeko Tsuda, the founder of Tsuda University.

According the ministry's announcement and the website of the National Printing Bureau, the selection criteria for portraiture requires that the individual be a notable historical figure from the Meiji era onwards, with two benchmarks for adoption:

In order to prevent counterfeiting, there must be a detailed photograph or portrait of the individual that is readily available.
The individual must be a Japanese citizen who boasts global prominence and is and well-known among the general public (included in textbooks, etc.).
Umeko Tsuda is known for improving the social status of women, with an impact that extends into the present era. As such, her selection for portraiture has significant meaning. The new bill is planned for issuance in 2024 following a five-year preparatory period.

Image of the new 5,000-yen bill



(i) In 1871, Umeko was selected to be part of the first group of female Japanese students to study abroad. This photo shows the group prior to their departure to the US. The students were visiting the Imperial Palace for an audience with the empress.

(ii) Umeko returned to Japan in 1882. For Umeko, who spent her youth in the US, returning to Japan resulted in continual feelings of culture shock.

(iii) Umeko went to the US again in 1889, enrolling at Bryn Mawr College. Experiencing the small classrooms and high quality of education at Bryn Mawr College would later influence Umeko's views on education.

(iv) In 1900, Umeko founded Joshi Eigaku Juku, one of the first private institutions of higher learning for women in Japan (located in Ichiban-cho, Kojimachi-ku).

(v) Personnel involved at the time of the school's opening. (From left: Umeko Tsuda, Alice Bacon, Shigeko Uryu, Sutematsu Ohyama).

(vi) In 1932, the campus relocated to Kodaira. In 1948, the institution received approval to be incorporated as Tsuda University.