Topic: Reiwa: The new period of the Japanese Calendar






Japanese Calendar: On 1st of May 2019 the new era started, defining the start of the governance of the Emperor Naruhito

Indeed every period of the Japanese Calendar starts with the elevation in the throne of the new emperor. The name of the period is formed by the combination of 2 concepts (characters kanji), which are related to the expected governance of the new emperor.

Heisei period was concluded in the 30th of April, 2019, which was the 31st year of Heisei, corresponding to the governance of Akihito, the emperor from the 7th of January, 1989 until the 30th of April, 2019, when he abdicated in favor of his son Naruhito, who was crowned emperor on the 1st of May, 2019, recognized and accepting congratulations of all the world leaders, the Chinese President included.

Heisei was the combination of the words-characters: ‘peace’ and ‘become’, leading to the meaning: ‘Achieving Peace’.

The name of the new period is decided just in the day of the coronation, through a committee of wise. Thus, a few days before, a 9-member committee was nominated (7 men – 2 women) that the current period (covering all the governance of Naruhito) will be called through the combination of the calligraphic characters kenji Rei (fair) and Wa (gentle). The new name was announced live through the Japanese TV.

The acronym was taken from a medieval poem, of the anthology waka of the 8th century period Nara.
English translation:
It was in new spring, in a fair ("Rei") month,
When the air was clear and the wind a gentle ("wa") breeze.
Plum flowers blossomed a beauty's charming white
And the fragrance of the orchids was their sweet perfume.

Due to the last time definition of the name of the period, software houses were in state of alarm to update their calendars, immediately after the announcement.

Therefore, the 30th of April, 2019 was for the Japanese: 30th of April, year 31 of Heisei, while the 1st of May, 2019: 1st of May, year 1 of Reiwa. You can see below the year 2019 in the Japanese Calendar, after the announcement of the period Reiwa.