Japan gives a new name to the times every time the Emperor changes. The current emperor abdicates in May, and his son takes over. Along with this substitution, the name of era will be renewed.
Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei
It has been the exclusive right of the emperor to name the era since ancient times. In the past, when humanity was devastated due to disasters and the spread of plagues, sometimes a new name was given to change the mood. However, since modern times, it has been established that one emperor is given the name of one era.
In modern Japan since 1868, four names have been used: Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei. And from May 1st, 2019, it is said to be Reiwa. In 2019, Japan will be Reiwa first year, and from next year on Reiwa two years, Reiwa three years will be repeated.
By changing the name of the era, many expect a new era to come. Japanese present age is surrounded by the aging society and deteriorating economic conditions, and there are many hopes that a bright future will come under the new era.
However, since nothing changes in fact, the problems surrounding Japan today will not be solved in a new era.
Meaning of Reiwa
The name of the era is determined to be two-character kanji, and the two characters have strong meanings. For example, the first character of the current name (Heisei) has the meaning of peace, and the next character has the meaning of growth and success. Combining the two letters, the first issue was calm in the country, and was expected to grow throughout the world.
The present (Reiwa) is taken from the poems contained in the poems compiled 1300 years ago (Japanese oldest poems). The poem is sung by a calm wind, drawing a landscape full of flowers, and the name of this era also contains the meaning of prosperity such as gentle days and flowers.
The name of this era is used mainly from the documents of the Japanese government office, and is used from the day the next emperor becomes throne until the day it is deposed.