There have been four eras in Japan's modern history—and on Monday, the nation learned what its fifth would be called. The country's chief Cabinet secretary announced it by raising a board displaying two characters: Rei and Wa, for the "Reiwa" era. The BBC explains it's a name that indicates order and harmony, and it will be ushered in on May 1 along with a new emperor, the country's 126th: Naruhito. His 85-year-old father, Emperor Akihito, will abdicate on April 30, ending the Heisei era, translated as "achieving peace." More:
- Each emperor's reign, known as "gengo," gets a name that is used on calendars, coins, driver's licenses, and government paperwork. Bloomberg notes documents currently reference 2019 as the "31st year of Heisei." The three other most recent eras were the Showa era ("enlightened harmony"; 1926-1989), the Taisho era ("great righteousness"; 1912-1926) and the Meiji era ("enlightened rule"; 1868-1912).