Much like chapters in a book, the enthronement of an emperor marks the beginning of a new era in Japan. From Meiji to Taisho to Showa, each imperial era began and ended with the death of an emperor followed by a yearlong period in which the country mourned, holidays and festivities were canceled and the economy briefly sputtered.

But the Heisei Era has a different ending, with Emperor Naruhito ascending the throne on Wednesday following the abdication of his father, now known as Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

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