Apr 30

WIT Life #335: End of an era

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga holding a placard reading Reiwa.

In Japan today was the last day of its 30-year Heisei (平成) Era, and tomorrow is the official start of the new Reiwa (令和) Era.  This is Japan’s 248th era with an official name, a number higher than America’s 243 years of history!  You might have heard how the new name has been slightly controversial and largely underwhelming in terms of people’s reaction to it.  In celebration of the new imperial era, this year’s Golden Week is an extra-long 10 days.  Japan is a famously vacation-averse country, and true to form some citizens have been lamenting the length of the holiday.  Other concerns in regard to the transition, such as updating stamps bearing the era name used for official documents and making sure computer systems are in compliance, are highlighted in this NYT article.

As the article details, there was plenty of time for preparation since Emperor Akihito’s abdication was announced in 2017.  This is in contrast to the previous transition, which took place within 24 hours due to the fact that the announcement of the change from the Showa to Heisei Era was made the day Emperor Hirohito died.  The current transition will set many precedents, as it’s been 200 years since an era change has taken place while the former Emperor is still alive.

The Japanese populace is unified in their great appreciation toward Emperor Akihito, as well as their wishes for him and the Empress to spend well-deserved relaxing and restorative post-reign days.  It remains to be seen what the Reiwa Era will bring, but here’s hoping it’s true to the “beautiful harmony” the new name promises.




Comments are closed.

Page Rank