"Reiwa" the new imperial era of Naruhito

The name is taken from an ancient anthology of poems from 1220 years ago and means "order and harmony". The new era will begin on May 1st this year, after the abdication of Akihito.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – From a sign with two characters, Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced today the name of the new imperial era (see photo) which will begin on May 1st when Naruhito (photo 2, right), succeeds emperor Akihito (photo 2, left), who is about to abdicate.

The new era will be called "Reiwa", which consists of two characters: "Rei" which means "order", "command", but also "wish", and "Wa", which means "harmony" and "peace". It aims to define the future and will appear on coins, newspapers, driving licenses, official documents.

Yoshihide Suga explained that the name was approved this morning after a trial involving academics, parliamentarians from the lower and upper chambers. "Reiwa" is taken from the "Manyoshu" (Collection of 10 thousand leaves), the oldest anthology of Japanese poems of over 1200 years ago. It contains poems composed of people of all social levels and "represents the long history of Japan's rich national culture".

The previous era, that of Akihito, was known as "Heisei", "peace achieved"; the previous one by Hiroyito, who went through the Second World War, was called "Showa", "enlightened harmony".

Akihito, 85, will abdicate at the end of April. It is the first abdication of a Japanese emperor in 200 years.