Commencing with the death of Emperor Taisho on Christmas Day, 1926, the Showa Era ran for 62 years and two weeks, ending with the death of Emperor Hirohito (posthumously referred to as Emperor Showa) at the age of 87 on Jan. 7, 1989.

Thanks to the latter monarch's longevity, roughly 3 out of every 4 Japanese living today — more than 90 million people — call themselves Showa-umare (Showa-born). The oldest are now in their 90s; the youngest, approaching 30. It's a huge demographic, and one that's been displaying an enormous appetite for reading matter that reflects on the era in which they were born. To cater to that appetite, the media have been serving up a variety of materials that touch upon people, places and events of the Showa years.

One of the most conspicuous forms this nostalgia has taken recently has been a spate of books and articles idolizing the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. Although Tanaka was convicted in court of receiving bribes from Lockheed Aircraft Corp., most of the books recall him as a man of the people and a practical, no-nonsense politician who got things done.