Japan is the only country left still using the gengo era calendar which originated in China, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar, the most widely adopted civil calendar which is a continuous unit and a year 0. Each gengo is said to represent an ideal of an era in combination with the number of years the emperor of that era has been in reign. The current era is called ‘Heisei 28’, which means ‘achieving peace’ and 2016 being the 28th year since the Heisei era started with Emperor Hirohito’s death in 1989.

Last July, his son, the current emperor Akihito implied the possibility of relinquishing his throne while still alive, which would be the first move of its kind in about 200 years. Above all, this means one thing for Japan’s nation: a new era. More than ever now, Japanese youths born since 1989 are proud to show they’re part of the Heisei generation, with popular phrases such as ‘Heisei umare’ which means ‘Born in Heisei’.

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