They’re all great, but which one is the best?

Monetary policy and fine art are often considered to be on opposite ends of a person’s interests and aptitudes, but Japan’s Ministry of Finance is on an aesthetic roll recently. In April, it unveiled the upcoming redesigns for the 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000-yen bills, which feature salutes to a famous ukiyo-e painter and women’s education pioneer. Then in May we saw the beautiful designs for the special 10,000-yen coins created in honor of Japan’s newly crowned emperor.

The Ministry of Finance isn’t out of ideas yet, though. As a matter of fact, it’s got too many ideas, as it’s come up with three different designs (each featuring two patterns) for special 500-yen (US$4.60) commemorative coins to celebrate the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Design A features a Raijin thunder spirit on its front face and a Fujin wind spirit on the back. Mt. Fuji is the star of Design B, with majestic views of Japan’s tallest mountain on both sides. Finally, Design C represents both Tokyo’s Olympic past and future, with the old National Stadium, main site of the 1964 Olympics, on the front, and its replacement for the 2020 Games, the New National Stadium, waiting for you when you flip the coin over.

While the Olympic atmosphere is always friendly and festive, the Games are still, ultimately, a competition, and that also applies to the special 500-yen coins. Rather than select a design by itself, the Ministry of Finance is holding a survey, asking people which design they like the best, and the most popular of the three will be the one that gets minted. Votes through Twitter are being accepted through the ministry’s official account, with the survey tweet embedded directly below.

▼ As of this writing, Design A is in the lead with 45 percent of the votes, followed by Design C with 29 and Design B with 26.

Twitter votes can be cast until June 24, and the ministry will announce the winner next month, with issuing scheduled to take place in July 2020, the same month the Tokyo Olympics open.

Source, images: Ministry of Finance
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where every time he pays for a lunch with a single 500-yen coin, he feels like a Sengoku-era samurai.

[ Read in Japanese ]