令和 Reiwa 1

Reiwa 1
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Not often I get to post about a new date ‘era’ or jidai here in Japan, so I might as well.

As some may know, the previous Emperor of Japan, Akihito, has abdicated, and his son Naruhito is taking over, so as is traditional, the era year names (nengou 年号 ) will change, so we’re going from Heisei 31 on April 31st to Reiwa 1 on May 1st. (gengou 元号) .

It creates a lot of paperwork and confusion in some areas, and a lot of people apparently want to remove this system from official documents, given every other part of the date system is based on the Gregorian calendar, but it’s fairly ingrained so I don’t expect it to change soon. (Current Japan does not like change.)

Apparently a couple of hundred years ago the eras changed regularly as Emperors quit a lot, but with a single large modern nation now and a lot of documents (and faxes), it perhaps doesn’t scale. We’ll see. The history of nengou in Japan is quite interesting in itself, so worth a trip to Wikipedia as a jumping off point.

I’m also not getting into the discussion on the new name. It’s just a new name to me. As long as I remember to tick ‘Showa’, the era I was born in, I’m fine!