Japan names era for incoming emperor Naruhito

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Kiyoshi Ota – Pool/Getty Images(TOKYO) — Japan’s cabinet has selected the nation’s 248th era name, part of a tradition dating back to the 7th century: “Reiwa.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the name on Monday.

Reiwa is believed to be derived from Manyoshu, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry at more than 1,200 years old.

The era name, aka “gengo,” will apply to the reign of soon-to-be-emperor Naruhito, who will ascend to the throne after his father, Emperor Akihito, steps down April 30 in the nation’s first abdication in 200 years.

The imperial system, which some people still use to observe calendars and mark birthdays, began in China more than 2,000 years ago. While other Asian nations have abandoned naming eras, Japan continues.

Japan “looks at efforts to enhance tradition,” Shigeji Ogura, an associate professor at the National Museum of Japanese History, told ABC News, “so ‘gengo’ is symbolic of Japanese culture, in a sense.”

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