From Heisei to Reiwa: Reflections on a Changing Era


Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Little Tokyo in 1994. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)


By GLEN S. FUKUSHIMA

The abdication of Japanese Emperor Akihito on April 30 brought to an end the 31-year period of Heisei (“achieving peace”), the imperial era name for his reign between 1989 and 2019. With his son Crown Prince Naruhito ascending to the throne on May 1 as the 126th Emperor of Japan, the new era has been given the name Reiwa (“beautiful harmony”), announced to the public by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a live televised press conference on April 1.