Japan’s Ministry of Finance has just announced the chosen designs for coins commemorating the reconstruction efforts for the Great East Japan Earthquake that rocked the northern area of Tohoku on March 11, 2011. 

A premium gold coin with a face value of 10,000 yen (US $127) and a premium silver coin with a face value of 1,000 yen (US $12.75) are schedule to be produced in 2015.  Most are engraved with beautiful symbols of Japan, but does one of them look a little funny to you?

If the bottom right coin made you do a double take, you’re not the only one.  This design, one of six chosen by the Ministry of Finance, was created by a fourth grade elementary school student.  It features a picture of a child patriotically waving Japan’s flag with the words “ganbarou nihon” (hang in there, Japan) written in what looks to be crayon.

Now reevaluate your original reaction to the coin.  You may now be asking yourself, “Does it make me a bad person for laughing at the crude drawing of a nine year old?”

But the fact that the commemorative coin’s picture was drawn by a child makes no difference to an overwhelming amount of people.  The sight of this “unsophisticated” drawing has stirred up a flurry of complaints on Japanese sites.

One blogger laments, “All I see is that kid’s scribble” after looking at the six chosen designs. The bashing continues with comments such as, “Is the Ministry of Finance sleeping on the job?” and “Why would I want to collect these coins?”  One commenter kept it simple, stating, “That design is just awful.”

It’s a nice gesture and quite endearing to choose an elementary school student’s drawing for such a special coin which will also be presented to people who donated 10,000,000 yen (US $127,526) and 1,000,000 yen (US $12,7526) to the reconstruction efforts.  

But based on the comments from many Japanese citizens, it may have been a bad decision.  I can’t help but imagine that poor nine year old with tears in her eyes asking, “Mommy, why does everyone hate my drawing?”
[ Read in Japanese ]