Japanese Gengo and the end of the Heisei Period

Currently in Japan, the word “Heisei-saigo-no(平成最後の, Heisei’s Last)” is very popular.

Heisei(平成) is the gengo (元号, era name) used in Japan now. Today I will tell you about the gengo which is a calendar peculiar to Japan.

What is Gengo(元号)?

Do you know the word “Heisei(平成)”? Japan has the calendar, “gengo“. This is the era name of Japan and “Heisei” is used now.

Gengo came from China and in Japan started to be used in 645. The first era name of Japan is “大化”(Taika). Gengo has been used for more than 1000 years, and it often changed depending on the political situation. From the Meiji period, the Government decided to change the gengo every time the Emperor throne.

Era names of Japan after modernization are 明治(Meiji, from 1868 to 1912),大正(Taisho, from 1912 to 1926),昭和(Showa, from1926 to 1989),平成(Heisei, from 1989 to 2019). These have origin from old China books. The meaning of them is below.
明治: The world will be governed in a bright direction.
大正: Heaven accepts the people’s words and the government is done correctly.
昭和: Wishing peace of the people and the coexistence and prosperity of the world
平成: Peace will be achieved both inside and outside, both heaven and earth.

Now is the year of Heisei 31, Heisei started in 1989 when the present emperor ascended the throne.

Japanese people use both A.D. and gengo as the calendar. Gengo is a part of their lives.

The end of Heisei

On May 1, 2019, the present Emperor will abdicate and the Crown Prince will newly ascend as the Emperor. So, at the end of April 2019, Heisei Period will be over, and the gengo will change. A new gengo is scheduled to become public in April. The new gengo seems to have to suit some conditions such as using two letters of kanji, which has not been used so far. Japanese society must deal with the change of the gengo. In my company, the date of internal documents was written in the gengo, but in accordance with the transition of the era of this time, A.D. becomes used officially from now on.

“The end of Heisei” is a fad now in Japan. As usual, the Japanese get hot to the extraordinary event and the press excites people through on TV programs, etc.
Now It has become popular in Japan to look back over the 30 years of Heisei on TV and on the internet. Some people enjoy anticipating the new gengo that experts and governments are currently thinking.
And, I often also hear from TV programs and websites that “This is Heisei-saigo-no (Heisei’s Last )○○!”
” This is Heisei-saigo-no (Heisei’s Last ) Christmas! “
” This is Heisei-saigo-no (Heisei’s Last ) Valentine Day!” etc.
I have become tired of them. Lol.

To a new period “令和(Reiwa)”

Some people say, “The Showa period after the war was the era of a good old Japan. The Heisei period for 30 years is the era of stagnation, fragmentation, and disasters”.
I raised up in the Heisei Period. I guess Heisei is often compared with Showa by people that know Showa.
The new gengo was announced on April 1, 2019. It is “令和(Reiwa) “! I wonder what happens in the next period. I would like to welcome a new era with new feelings.

And perhaps, from May to 1 year definitely, the word “令和(Reiwa)’s first” in Japan will be popular. Lol


rice (Japanese OL)

Japanese OL. (OL means “office lady”. Women who work in offices.) I was born in a rural part of the Kanto area in the latter half of the 1980s. I  live and work in Tokyo now. I live with my husband. I study English by writing this blog!

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