On May 1, the new Reiwa Era will start. Throughout modern history, the Imperial eras have always proved a better demarcation of developments in society, in the economy and in the nation at large than other measures of time.

The recurring and predictable rhythms of the calendar or fiscal years may define public budget cycles and private profit swings, but the true mega-trends and national mood are captured best in the Imperial eras: the Meiji modernization boom; the Taisho drift from liberalism to populism to militarism; the postwar Showa rush to rebuild, to catch-up and to surge all the way up to the climax of “Japan as number one”; and the now-passing Heisei Era starting off with the biggest economic bubble bust in history, forcing decades of deflation, deleveraging and delusion. Japanese history will always be written in reference to the Imperial era baselines.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.