Issued in 2007, this circulating commemorative coin celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Japanese Antarctic research expedition. The pair of Sakhalin Huskies pictured on the obverse are Jiro (left) and Taro (right). Behind them is the Japanese research vessel Soya.
Jiro and Taro were two of fifteen dogs left stranded at the Syowa Station when severe weather prompted an emergency evacuation in 1958. The dogs were left chained up with food for a week, but the third party ended up taking almost a year to arrive. By the time they got there, Jiro and Taro were the only survivors.
The Japanese Mint site doesn't mention it, but I think we all know what these two doggies dined on for that year. Regardless, they became instant heroes. Taro returned to Japan and lived at Hokkaido University until his death in 1970, when he was stuffed and put on display at the university's museum. Jiro died naturally in Antarctica in 1960, and his remains are located at the National Science Museum in Japan.
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