IN THE EARLY 1960s, Japanese citizens found themselves looking askance at the thousand-yen notes that, thanks to a resurgent economy, were increasingly abundant in their lives. The cause of their wariness was the Chi-37 forgery scandal, in which virtually undetectable counterfeit thousand-yen notes circulated throughout the country, identifiable only through ever-lengthening lists of suspect serial numbers printed in the papersand prompting the government in 1963 to commence the bills’ replacement with a new, “C series” note.
Then, on January 27, 1964, the newspaper Asahi Shinbun broke the story that police were investigating a “young artist and self-styled avant-garde member,” Akasegawa Genpei,* in connection with the scandal, intimating that a solution to the conspiracy might be at hand. The artist had in fact been producing prints of the B-series thousand-yen notethough
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