Much like eras in Western culture, Japanese eras are remembered through major events, fashion styles, and pop culture, and many people remember previous eras fondly. But if they had the chance, would they travel back in time and live in those eras?
Over 5,000 men and women aged between 15 and 59 were asked on social messaging app LINE: “If you could time travel, which era would you travel to?” Here are the top three results.
3. The Edo Period (1600–1868) — 8.3% of the votes
When you think of old-fashioned Japan, with people in kimono walking the streets with samurai, you’re probably imagining something from the Edo period. The Edo period spanned many years with many different eras and many notable cultural moments in Japanese culture, including what is thought to be the world’s first novel "The Tale of Genji" and ukiyo-e painters.
Some comments from those who chose to go back to this period:
“I’d like to go back to an Edo-period town and walk around, eating stuff” (Woman in her 50s)
“I want to sneak a peek at the shogun’s private chambers and see his palace ladies!” (Woman in her 30s)
“Life was pretty peaceful back then, and a lot of new art and culture was starting to appear.” (Man in his 30s)
2. The Heisei Era (1989 – 2019) — 17% of the votes
The most recent era to be able to “travel back” to, the Heisei era is remembered for being an era of peace.
Many people who chose to go back to this era wanted to correct personal mistakes they’d made:
“I’d go back in time and give my life a do-over.” (Man in his 30s)
“I want to go back and uncover the answers to unsolved mysteries.” (Man in his 20s)
“I’d teach myself the importance of money.” (Woman in her 30s)
1. The Showa Era (1926 – 1989) — 19.8% of the votes
The most popular answer was the Showa era. Remembered for its bubble economy and bold, bright fashions, it was an era where people could be indulgent.
Again, personal reasons were the main deciding factor for people wanting to time travel here:
“I want to live in that bubble economy and buy whatever I want.” (Man in his teens)
“I want to see how my family was around the time I was born.” (Woman in her 30s)
“I’d love to be able to see my grandparents and their parents when they were young. I never got to meet them or even speak to them.” (Woman in her 40s)
While Showa was the most popular answer regardless of gender, a closer look at the survey revealed that the top answers were different depending on the age range. The Showa period was top overall, and it was the most popular choice with participants aged 40-59.
However, more participants in the 15-30 year old age bracket chose Heisei as the era they’d like to travel back to, suggesting that people prefer the idea of travelling back to their youth, rather than travelling to an unknown era.
Showa taking the top spot in the survey got Japanese netizens talking:
“I totally get why Showa is the most popular. Their TV shows were so interesting, unlike now.”
“I would hate to go back in time to an era that didn’t have any Internet!”
“Coca Cola tasted better in the Showa period. There were more potato chips in bags, too.”
“Lots of people seem to forget that the Showa period wasn’t just about the economic bubble. There was a lot of war, too.”
“I’d love to walk around Tokyo in the 1940s.”
“Fashion toward the end of the Showa period was actually the worst.”
Which era would you like to time travel back to? Would you even want to time-travel at all?
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