Japanese People Greet New Era Name "Reiwa" with Applause


Tokyo, April 1 (Jiji Press)--Many people in Japan have welcomed the country's next era name, Reiwa, with applause and hopes for peace.

"It sounds fresh. I want to pass down the memories of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami (to the next generation), in hope that the coming era will be peaceful without any natural disasters," said Masayoshi Takahashi, 39, who runs a diving shop in the town of Onagawa in the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi, one of the three prefectures hit hardest by the catastrophe.

When they visited the town in 2016, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko gave some kind words to Takahashi, who engaged in reconstruction activities, such as removing rubble, at the time. "I want them to get plenty of rest," Takahashi said.

Reiwa will succeed the current Heisei era on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito accedes to the throne, after Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30.

The new era name comprises two kanji characters, with one of them, for "rei," meaning "good" or "fine," and the other, for "wa," meaning "peace" or "harmony." Reiwa is a word taken from Manyoshu, a collection of ancient Japanese poems.

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