The question on everyone’s minds: what would the name of the next era be?
Ever since the rumors began of Japan’s current emperor Akihito planning to step down from the throne due to age and health (a rumor which was later confirmed to be true), people have been wondering when it will happen.
There are currently no laws available that allow for the emperor to abdicate, but the government is currently considering if it is something that should be made possible.
And now to add to that possibility, we now we have a date for when the abdication, if allowed, would most likely take place: January 1, 2019.
▼ In two more years,
Akihito may no longer be emperor of Japan.
オカリン・メタル (@okarinmetal) December 23, 2016
That date would officially mark the beginning of a new era in Japan, since they do their calendar a little bit differently here. While they often refer to years via the Western system (such as “2017” or “1999”), they just as often refer to years via the name of an era.
For example, the current year 2017 is referred to as Heisei 29, which means it is the 29th year of the Heisei era. The meaning of “Heisei” is “peace everywhere,” and it was chosen to represent the period of Emperor Akihito’s reign.
Having the next era begin on January 1 would make date conversions as easy as possible, so the start of the era year and Western year would begin on the same day of the same month.
▼ The previous emperor Akihito had the era name “Showa” which means
“Japanese glory.” So a year like 1987, my birthday, would be Showa 62.
However, if the current emperor does abdicate, the Heisei Era will come to an end, and his son the Crown Prince Naruhito will take the throne. His reign will mark the beginning of a new era, and a new name will have to be chosen.
▼ The potential future emperor: Naruhito,
his wife Masako, and their daughter Aiko.
佐藤 陸 (@hkuspcoltgo1) December 01, 2016
This news of course has Japanese netizens speculating over what the name of the new era would be. Thankfully there are still a few years to figure it all out, but here’s what they have so far:
“How about the Toso (Strife) Era?”
“Should it be the Nintendo Era?”
“What about Heisei Ver1.2?”
“PPAP Era incoming!”
“Do we even need this era system anymore? It’s such a pain.”
“Whatever they choose, I just hope the kanji are easy to write.”
I think we can all agree on that last point! The last thing that the wavering-popularity era system needs is a 64-stroke kanji monstrosity to make everyone’s fingers cramp as they write it.