This is a historic moment for Japan. For the first time in over 200 years, the emperor, Akihito, will relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne in favor of his son, Prince Naruhito.
Each emperor of Japan is thought to usher in a new era in the country’s history, with the current imperial era known as Heisei, i.e. “achieving peace.” The new era will be called Reiwa, i.e. “fortunate harmony.” The name of the new imperial era (or gengo) is extremely important to the Japanese as it’s used just about everywhere in Japan: on coins, official paperwork, newspapers, and on calendars as a way of marking time.