Japan: The end of an era and a new beginning

image_pdfimage_print
Credit: www.rappler,com

When I was growing up, I used to watch a T.V. serial every Friday night from 8.30-9.00 pm. Once it was over, I had to wait for a week for the next episode (no Netflix binge-watching then). So when it finally got over, after six years, I honestly thought it was the end of an era. Something momentous had ended and now a new time, with a new serial, had begun.

But what is an era and why is Japan suddenly talking about a new one? An era, according to one Oxford dictionary definition means, ‘a long and distinct period of history.’ All over the world, history has been divided into these periods based on different events. In non-geological terms, the words ‘age’ and ‘era’ are used interchangeably though an age is usually a much longer time period. The most common use of the word is when we write dates – BCE is Before Common Era and CE is Common Era. There have been other eras based on the rule of monarchs, e.g. the Elizabethan Era or the Napoleonic Era. Sometimes eras can overlap, like the Napoleonic era in France and the Edo era in Japan which were both during the late 1700s but are referred to differently in each country. Eras can also be about other events such as the Information Era or the post 9/11 era. What they all have in common is that it is the end of one way of life or thinking and the beginning of a new one.

Back to Japan: The Japanese government said that a new era would begin on 1 May 2019 when Emperor Akihito abdicates (renounces, or steps down from) the throne due to ill health (the first time an abdication has occurred in 200 years) and the current crown prince, Naruhito will take over the throne. In Japan, the end of the reign of an emperor marks the end of an era. Each era is given a name – Akihito’s was the Heisei era which roughly translates to mean ‘achieving peace’. The revelation of the new name was a much-anticipated event, and it was announced with great ceremony at a news conference in Tokyo.

The name of the Naruhito’s rule will be Reiwa, a term that means ‘peace and order’ or ‘auspicious harmony’. In a break with tradition, the government decided on a name from the oldest collection of Japanese poems rather than from Chinese literature. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained why they chose the name saying, “Like the plum flowers that beautifully bloom, heralding the arrival of spring after a severe winter, each one of the Japanese people can bloom their own flowers with a hope for tomorrow.” A lovely thought to begin a new era.

The name will now become synonymous with Naruhito’s reign and will be used to mark the date on all official documents.


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.

Spread the love
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Write to us at
mail@currentkids.in

Help us keep currentkids, current! We’d love to hear about your crazy adventures and experiences. Send us your pictures, travel diaries, thoughts on cool new gadgets, gaming experiences and anything else you find interesting!

About Us

Welcome to our entertaining and empowering news source for kids with inquisitive minds! This is a digital space that keeps kids aged 8 and above (and your families!) connected to what’s happening in the world. We filter a wide variety of news, events, and interesting bits of trivia to develop short, relevant, unbiased content in creative formats. We give everyone something to relate to and get engaged with in short bytes of information with a snappy, chatty feel. We believe in encouraging curiosity, creativity and continued learning in our safe digital space.

Why is reading non-fiction important?

This helps curious minds to learn more about the outside world. It also enriches their vocabulary and their general knowledge. Simplified news helps children to express their opinions easily with their friends and family and gives them some perspective on complex issues. Our safe news website will give you parents a useful tool with which to navigate the digital world with your children.

We hope you enjoy our posts!

Biyash & Sunaina