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Banna, Banpo, Eiko, Koshi and Kyuka: The Japan eras that could have been, beaten out by Reiwa

JIJI, Kyodo

Five of the potential names for Japan’s next era that were unsuccessful at the final stage came to light Tuesday, a day after the government selected Reiwa from the six finalists.

The five other candidates were Eiko, Kyuka, Koshi, Banna and Banpo, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Three of the six shortlisted candidates were derived from Japanese classical literature and the rest from Chinese classics. Reiwa was taken from “Manyoshu,” the oldest existing collection of Japanese poems.

Reiwa will succeed the current era name of Heisei on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito accedes the throne, following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito, set for April 30.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that the creator of Reiwa is Susumu Nakanishi, 89, professor emeritus at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, according to sources.

Nakanishi is known for his research on “Manyoshu,” and received the Order of Culture from the government in 2013.

He is believed to have been among scholars asked by the government on March 14 to come up with proposals for the country’s next era name.

When asked by reporters in Kyoto on Tuesday, Nakanishi declined to confirm whether he is the creator of Reiwa.

“There is nothing I would say. I don’t know anything,” Nakanishi said. But he added that it was “very good” that the era name came from “Manyoshu.”

“I hope it will be a good era, but there is nothing more I can say.”

The government has no plans to disclose unsuccessful candidate names for the forthcoming era or their creators.

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