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What does Reiwa really mean to Japanese?

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Just before noon on April 1, the Abe administration announced that the name for Japan’s next Imperial era would be Reiwa. Everybody in Tokyo have been curious about the new name and the majority seem to be content with it. TV channels aired special programs and major newspapers issued extras on the street.

Honestly speaking, however, I did not pay much attention to our regnal transition this time simply because I was busy that morning preparing Power Point slides for my evening presentation. I was supposed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Canon Institute for Global Studies(CIGS), which was founded on April 1, 2009.

There was another reason why I was not particularly interested. Of course, it was not because the announcement was made on the April Fools’ Day. I felt the excessive media frenzy about the new name rather spoiled the joy and excitement that I might have had without it. As you may easily imagine, I can be a very perverse person.

Of course, I welcome the dawn of the new Reiwa Era. I have full respect for the members of the Imperial family. They always symbolize and embody not only Japan’s national unity and both its traditional and modern values, but also its virtue and goodness. Nonetheless, the following is my take on the new era of Reiwa.

1. Unlike Heisei, the announcement came with more feelings of joy.

Thirty years ago, we welcomed the Heisei Era with great sadness and sorrow. Emperor Showa had just passed away at the age of 87. The entire nation went into mourning and........

© The Japan Times