Advent of the new Imperial Era in Japan

Japan has announced the reigning title of its new Empire. The succeeding imperial era will be named, ‘Reiwa’, which connotes harmony and order. The name originates from an ancient anthology of Japanese Poetry. Reiwa will commence from May 1, 2019, with the coronation of the Prince, Naruhito. In December 2017, the Japan’s Government confirmed the abdication of its current ruling Emperor, Arihito. He will enter his retirement on April 30, 2019, due to old age, consequently placing the throne on to his son, Prince Naruhito.

The imperial house of Japan is one of the oldest monarchial houses in the world. Its head, the emperor does not exercise any political powers, but retains the title of the Imperial Majesty. Every emperor’s reign, a gengo is given an auspicious name. The choice of the name is carefully considered, and should be propitious to a great extent. The gengo sets the theme for the reign’s cultural affairs. It is also used alongside western calendars, and the gengo symbol appears on coins, driving license, official paperwork, etc.

The diminishing importance of the gengo calendars amongst the Japanese has increasingly become patent, as they are rapidly westernizing, although many still use both gengo and western calendars, to adhere to the profound, old Japanese culture.