Nostalgia, excitement as Japan awaits new imperial era name

What’s in a name?

Quite a lot if you’re a Japanese citizen awaiting the official announcement Monday of what the soon-to-be-installed new emperor’s next era will be called.

It’s a proclamation that has happened only twice in nearly a century, and the new name will follow Emperor Naruhito, after his May 1 investiture, for the duration of his rule — and beyond, becoming his official name after death.

An era name is an inextricable part of public life and shared memory in Japan.

As such, the closing days of the Heisei era, which is what retiring Emperor Akihito’s 30-year reign is called, have inspired a bout of nostalgia, as many Japanese reflect on Heisei and this new, yet-to-be-named block of years that will loom over their lives.

Categories: National & International News