First of all, Happy Reiwa, everyone! The Imperial Era has officially changed from Heisei to Reiwa with the retirement of Emperor Akihito and the coronation of his son, Naruhito, which happened this morning.
In case you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, Japan organizes its history into Imperial Eras (年号 nengo in Japanese), with each era name (Heisei, Showa, Meiji…) defining the reign of a different Emperor. For the past week, Japan has been reflecting on the end of Heisei, as Suntory did in the final Boss Coffee commercial. It’s a giddy time, kind of like if all the nostalgia of the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s were compressed into a single decade, which suddenly ended for everyone.
— 瞿麦 (V) (@kubaku_V) April 30, 2019
The Japanese Imperial family is an unbroken line going back for 2000+ years, and almost certainly originated from the Korean Penninsula. The new era of Reiwa represents the 261st era in Japanese recorded history. It’d be something like what would happen if the line of Roman Emperors had somehow continued up to the present time, though of course, the Japanese Emperors lacked political power for most of their history, usually passing (or being coerced to pass) the right to hold actual power to a strong ruler, taking the name of Shogun (“supreme military general”).
The Reiwa era changeover has also been covered by the foreign media, who couldn’t avoid using lines like, “Forget the Iron Throne, here comes the Chrysanthemum Throne.” One article I read took the worst possible view of how the Reiwa era might unfold, by exclusively focusing on the most negative elements of Japan (falling population, a press that often self-censors itself, Japanese working themselves to death). I prefer to believe that Japan will manage its challenges, opening itself up to more foreigners and hopefully making the country attractive for them to settle in permanently, as I have. It won’t be easy for slower-moving Japanese companies to compete against the smart Chinese and American tech firms of the 21st century, but I’m sure they’ll eventually find a good balance.
Do you have any thoughts on the end of the Heisei era and the start of the Reiwa era? Tell us on Twitter!
The new Reiwa era is here, so J-List decided to have a special sale to kick things off! Through May 3rd, you can take an automatic $10 off all newly posted products (products posted from today on) as long as the total is $40 or more. So any newly-posted figures, ero products, all get the automatic $10 coupon! See all the Reiwa-era products here!