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Is BOJ art exhibition hinting at risks of helicopter money?

Meiji era woodblock image contains a warning for current times

KOTARO FUKUOKA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan recently put on public display a multicolored woodblock print from the Meiji era (1868-1912) satirizing the rapid inflation caused by an oversupply of inconvertible Japanese government notes.

Titled "Yoku no Tawamure Chikara Kurabe" (Playing with Greed, Testing Strength), the nishiki-e print depicts a straw rice bag and a government note -- both with human bodies -- in a tug of war via a rope fixed around their necks. With its arms crossed across its chest, the rice bag has the overwhelming advantage, telling the flailing note: "I will not lose this game no matter what, because I'm backed by goods whose prices will rise."

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