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Japan’s Soon-to-be Emperor Naruhito’s Era to be Named as ‘Reiwa’

Abe said the name means that culture is born and nurtured as the people "beautifully care about each other''

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Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga unveils the name of new era “Reiwa” at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Monday, April 1, 2019. VOA

The name of the era of Japan’s soon-to-be-emperor Naruhito will be “Reiwa,” the government announced Monday. Emperor Akihito is stepping down on April 30, in the first abdication in 200 years, bringing his era of “Heisei” to an end. The new era takes effect May 1.

The name draws from the 7th century poetry collection “Manyoshu,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after the announcement by the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga. Abe said the name means that culture is born and nurtured as the people “beautifully care about each other.”

“With this selection of a new era name, I renew my commitment to pioneer a new era that will be filled with hope,” Abe said. The Manyoshu is Japan’s oldest poetry collection and symbolizes Japan’s rich culture and long tradition, he said.

The choice was a break from more than 1,300 years of drawing era names, or “gengo” from using Chinese classics. It was kept strictly secret ahead of Monday’s announcement.

“We hope (the era name) will be widely accepted by the people and deeply rooted as part of their daily lives,” Suga told reporters in first announcing the name, written in two Chinese characters in black ink calligraphy on a white background.

The announcement allows only a month ahead of the switch for government, businesses and other sectors to adjust to the change that still affects many parts of Japan’s society, even though the system is not compulsory and the emperor has no political power under Japan’s postwar constitution.

japan, reiwa, naruhito
People watch a TV screen showing the name of new era “Reiwa” is unveiled in a news program in Tokyo, Monday, April 1, 2019. VOA
​Under the 1979 era name law, Abe appointed a panel of experts on classical Chinese and Japanese literature to nominate two to five names for top officials to choose from. The names had to meet strict criteria, being easy to read and write but not commonly or previously used for an era name.

 

Japanese media scrambled to get scoops out of a new era name. Rumors included “Ankyu,” which uses the same Chinese character as in Abe’s family name.

There had been speculation that Abe’s ultra-conservative government, often hawkish on China matters, would choose the name from a Japanese document, breaking with the tradition of using Chinese classics as references.

The name selection procedure started in mid-March when Suga asked a handful of unidentified scholars to nominate two to five era names each.

Several nominations were presented at a first, closed-door meeting that included nine outside experts from various areas, including Nobel prize-winning stem-cell scientist Shinya Yamanaka and award-winning novelist Mariko Hayashi, to present their views and narrow the selection before final approval by the Cabinet.

While a growing number of Japanese prefer the Western calendar over the Japanese system in a highly digitalized and globalized society, the era name is still widely used in government and business documents. Elders often use it to identify their generations.

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Japan’s Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, leaves after delivering his remarks during a memorial service at Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in Tokyo, Aug. 15, 2015. VOA

Discussing and guessing new era names in advance is not considered a taboo this time because Akihito is abdicating. Era name change is also a time for many Japanese to reflect on the outgoing and incoming decades.

Akihito’s era of “Heisei,” which means “achieving peace,” was the first without a war in Japan’s modern history, but is also remembered as lost years of economic deflation and natural disasters.

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Heisei was the first era name decided by the government under the postwar constitution, in which the emperor was stripped of political power and had no say over the choice. Still, the government, with its highly secretive and sensitive handling of the process, is underscoring that “the emperor has power in an invisible, subtle way,” says Hirohito Suzuki, a Toyo University sociologist.

Era name changes are creating businesses for both the outgoing and the incoming. Anything dubbed “last of Heisei” attracts Akihito fans, while others are waiting to submit marriage certificates or filing other official registration until the new era starts. Analysts say the era change that expands the “golden week” holidays to 10 days on May 1 could buoy tourism and other recreational spending. (VOA)

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Here are 4 Destinations you Need to Add to Your 2020 Travel Calendar

Mark your 2020 travel calendar with these global spots

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Travel destinations
If you're a traveller then you definitely need to visit these beautiful global travel destinations. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

For travel enthusiasts and people who are looking to head out for a long-haul vacation in the upcoming year, the experts have suggested some top destinations where they can breath a “sigh of relief”. Lets see what they are:

1. Egypt

Egypt has just topped UK’s Independent newspaper’s list for “top countries to visit”. With the new Grand Egyptian Museum located near the Pyramids of Giza, opening in 2020, where there will be 30,000 never-before-seen Egyptian artefacts, this will be a big draw. –Anthony Lim, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold

2. Australia

Apart from having a plethora of natural and manmade tourist attractions, Australia will also be hosting the T20 Cricket World Cup in 2020, which will make Australia a hot travel destination in 2020. –Paytm Travel

Egypt travel
Egypt is considered to be one of the best travel destinations in the world. Pixabay

3. Bali

Indonesia’s most visited island refuses to lose its charm for the travellers. Awarded as the World’s Best Travel Destination in 2017, the island covers the holiday interests of all kinds of travellers. Whether it is natural attractions, cultural richness or gastronomic adventures, the island has multiple spots to experience them all. With its extravagant temples, never-ending coastline, some of the world’s best retreats and party spots, Bali is a marvellous combination of leisure, adventure, spiritual awakening and a happening nightlife, all in one island. –Dharamveer Singh Chouhan, Zostel

Also Read- Here are Suggestions to Ace a Destination Wedding

4. Japan

Japan will be another trending destination in the new year because of the 2020 Olympics but what people will be seeking for is the opportunity to go deeper into Japan. From the dynamic cities to the majestic temples and scenic landscapes, Japan is an amazing showcase of the juxtaposition of modern and traditional cultures. –Anthony Lim, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold (IANS)