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Japan will usher in a new era, Reiwa, when Crown Prince Akihito ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 — a day after Emperor Akihito abdicates.

Gengō, the Japanese term for era names, aren’t merely used to identify the reign of an emperor. They are symbols of sorts that reflect the zeitgeist of the nation and indicate the path the country as a whole aspires to.

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