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Some see Japanese era system as unnecessary, unsuited for modern age

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It's a moot argument right now, as the new era name is already decided.

It's inconvenient, yes, it's uniquely Japanese also yes. Should it be scrapped?

Only if they scrap the entire Emperor system, in my opinion that is!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I like it. It adds character to an Era that a name or number can't do. As a Canadian I don't have anything like it so I can appreciate it a bit more.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Also adds a human touch that computers can't give

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I disagree, sf2K. I can easily assign a character to a period that's based off of a numerical calendar.

As an American, I can say that each decade from about 1920 or so has had its own individual bend. The Roaring Twenties, the Great Depresion, WWII, The Rock n' Roll 50's, the Hippie 60's, Disco 70s, The 80's of Reagan, Greed is good, Thriller and MTV, the 90's of boy bands, gangsta rap, Clinton and more.

There's even those post-Millenium signposts that define an era. 9/11 defined an entire generation. The Great Recession of 2009, etc.

If anything, I've noticed that many Japanese are unable to assign a character to an event or identify it chronologically. So you hear "Nagano Olympics" instead of '98 Olympics, and then I remember asking quite a few students (even sports students), "Okay, so what happened next?" and until you tell them "Salt Lake City," they're clueless. They can't go "98... 2002... oh yeah, this happened in the sport I follow."

13 ( +18 / -5 )

The Gengo reflects both Japan's cultural debt to China and the isolation of an island people psychologically disconnected from the outside world who for the last 1,300 years have marked the passage of time alone. Despite Japan's continued use of Chinese characters Abe has symbolically cut the Chinese cultural connection and nationalistically asserted Japanese autonomy, but by rejecting this year's historic opportunity to adopt the Gregorian calendar he has signally failed to bring Japan symbolically into the world community of the 21st century.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

I think the Gengo is not bad. It puts punctuation to ever flowing time. But I do not like "Reiwa" and wrote my criticism yesterday. I opened Japanese language paper this morning and I was disappointed very much. The Japanese newspaper which criticize politics and society all the time was full of commendations about the new Gengo. No critical opinion stated at all. This is not democracy. Thank you JT for carrying my opinions yesterday.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

零和 is the kanji for the reiwa geimu or zero-sum game.

I prefer 霊和 or spiritual harmony (maybe departed harmony)

I expect that there are plenty of alternate renditions that will lead to traditional Japanese puns on this reiwa business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It matters not, next week there will be a new story. It's Japan and celebrating the asin is the most allowable celebratation allowed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some? I would say most. If we stuck to one it would be fine. I sat through a 2 hour out meeting yesterday with 20 different documents in front of me, they are switching switching between julian and gengo constantly. This was probably our last chance this generation to swap over to julian for good.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think they can keep gengo but they should enact a law that forces companies to have forms that allows one choose to use Gregorian calendar

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is an anachronism. It is also very impractical. In order to describe a date 100 years ago, you need to refer to the charts. And future dates are ridiculous. 100 years from now will be Reiwa 100. The Emperor should live that long! The Gregorian calendar is standard throughout most of the planet. Let's use it.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

It is an anachronism. It is also very impractical. In order to describe a date 100 years ago, you need to refer to the charts. And future dates are ridiculous. 100 years from now will be Reiwa 100. The Emperor should live that long! The Gregorian calendar is standard throughout most of the planet. Let's use it.

I definitely agree with that.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

They're correct. It is an anachonism, like the Imperial family is.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I like that my driver’s license expires in H 32-8, a date that will never arrive - so in effect I have a non-expiring driver’s license.   :)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I don't mind the gengo system but just keep out of official documents! It's forced on me whenever I have to handle official paperwork and it is a hassle.

Paperwork should be done with the Gregorian calendar. Have the gengo dates for whoever CHOOSES to use it and want to identify years with it.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Gengo is used usefully in medicine in Japan. Doctors ask a dementia patient what is today after the Christ and in gengo. It is not easy to answer rightly to two questions at a time for me too.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It's understandable why it still exists, as along as the Imperial system exists. History, culture, tradiition, and all that. BUT, it should be limited to ceremonial use only - Imperial functions, festivals, holidays, etc.

ALL official forms and documentation - banking, birth/death records, medical, DMV, work, et - should use the Gregorian calendar system. (They already use the months and days).

10 ( +12 / -2 )

For companies and scientific associations, obviously it doesn't work that well, but for domestic purposes it's fine and barely causes any problems.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Modern generation can't indulge the old fashioned thing even if they think it's useless, then what modern is there when they're also going to be overlapped.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

As apparently one Japanese high schooler had suggested, the name should have been "tapioca".

A lot of Japanese use era names to talk about lifestyles, architecture, etc. way back when, so showa is post-war, meiji is pre-war. Heisei is ??? (to be defined later).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The Guardian's take on "Reiwa": https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/01/reiwa-how-japans-new-era-name-is-breaking-tradition

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My driving licence expires in Heisei 35. Since that year will not exist, I will have to work out when it is or otherwise fail to renew and lose my licence. My mortgage goes to April Heisei 40. It makes things more complicated than they need to be.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's inconvenient, yes, it's uniquely Japanese also yes. Should it be scrapped?

It is not uniquely Japanese. This year in Taiwan is Minquo 107.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For companies and scientific associations, obviously it doesn't work that well, but for domestic purposes it's fine and barely causes any problems.

On my native country, people use two temperature systems. Older people still talk in Fahrenheit, while younger people and in the work place people tend to use Centigrade. It causes no problems when people know what you mean.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

America is still the only major country still using a system based on the imperial measurements. So why does not upgrade and join the rest of the world.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It's impractical and irrelevant. It has a place in history, but that's all.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Some people argue that it puts a name to an era. But the emperor doesn't have any real power, nor does the meaning of the era. It's just for show, thus, pointless.

People were also saying happy new year, like, what? Literally nothing except calendar prints are going to change, and time-wise nothing happened. C'mon ppl..

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Aside from Taiwan where this is the 107th year of the Republic of China, as Ex_Res describes, North Korea also has its own calendar that begins with the birth of Kim Il-Sung in (coincidentally) 1912. This year is Juche 107 over there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think that Japan should keep this idea of names for periods, as its tradition etc, here in the UK we have lots of traditions that we could scrap to save money, IE changing of the guard at Buckingham palace which has happened for the last 2-300 years its took place every day, but it makes Britain what it is, ( other than Brexit ) should Japan scrap Kimono waring, scrap Geishas, and the famous Samurai? knock some old temples down to make way for a block of flats and office buildings, all for the sake of coming into the 21 century? for me, I think Japan should stick with tradition.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Most Japanese are “bi-“ in my experience.

Lots of non-imperialist calendars are available. Convert to one of them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Globalization word just gave extra benefit to western economy & culture.

I think it's OK, since every nation has their own identity, culture & system.

Japan must not give-up their Era system even it's create little inconvenience.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

History, culture, tradiition, and all that. BUT, it should be limited to ceremonial use only - Imperial functions, festivals, holidays, etc.

Spot on @garypen - I like the fact that there is this tradition going back 1300 years, but it needs to be more of a cultural thing.

It is rather like the British imperial measures in the UK - most people use imperial day-to-day, but science will use metric when trying to quantify anything.

Maintain it as a quaint tradition but do not make it the default

1 ( +2 / -1 )

should Japan scrap Kimono waring, scrap Geishas, and the famous Samurai? 

But they are traditions not the everyday. Samurai were scrapped around 150 years ago and it is extremely rare to see anyone wear a kimono out of a ceremony or holiday.

Bu contrast the Japanese date is the default - that is what is on your newspaper or on the board at school or pre-printed on official documents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brian Wheway: "should Japan scrap Kimono waring"

Kimono WEARING basically only occurs for the sake of tradition and special occasions. No one wears them on a daily basis, so, they have been scrapped, for the most part.

"scrap Geishas,"

Ummm.... the ones that walk around freely everywhere and attend everyone's parties?

"and the famous Samurai?"

You do know that they were outlawed and ceased to exist ages ago, right?

"knock some old temples down to make way for a block of flats and office buildings"

Where they HAVEN'T done that is the exception to the rule. So, all the things you listed have indeed essentially been scrapped. Great rationale for keeping Gengo in play, though, instead of as a quaint memory.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As an American, I can say that each decade from about 1920 or so has had its own individual bend. The Roaring Twenties, the Great Depresion, WWII, The Rock n' Roll 50's, the Hippie 60's, Disco 70s, The 80's of Reagan, Greed is good, Thriller and MTV, the 90's of boy bands, gangsta rap, Clinton and mor

All of which basically occurred in the Showa era. Also Showa has a specific time and not some random name given to it later. Also the two styles can work together as this is clearly on a longer scale than decade. Era need not be mutually exclusive

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Then Heisei in 89 covering up to today. It's good to see it from perspective

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I like it.

Sure, it's an extra thing to remember. But so what. It's a cultural thing, it works.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kimono WEARING basically only occurs for the sake of tradition and special occasions. No one wears them on a daily basis, so, they have been scrapped, for the most part.

Many women still wear kimono for daily choice or for working in restaurants. There are still many kimono shops.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Having a Wa in the era name is rather frightening after what happened not so long ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many women still wear kimono for daily choice or for working in restaurants.

Including my mother-in-law. She works at an upper-class restaurant, and wears a kimono at work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just put my bankbook in the ATM, and there was a line saying that from now on, they would be using western dating. So the date on the entry was 2019.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Reiwa has no swing to it and is hard to say. It is a clunky name. I wish these bureaucrats had managed to find a more poetic word that we are now stuck with. Will rapidly degrade to variations like "Wa wa", "Wei wa" and yes, タピオカ (embedded in the kanji and pretty funny!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This Gregorian year 2019, is year 5779 for orthodox Jews and year 1400-something for Muslims. I guess most people just go with the flow and say... Oh European Christian traditions have won, why bother????

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan does not need to abandon its traditions, merely use the internationally recognised system for business, official forms and every day life. Keep the traditional system for religious, ceremonial and other cultural activities.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Also... don't mistake the Julian calendar, the calendar of the ancient Romans as reformed by Julius Caesar around 50BC, with the Gregorian Calendar, which was a further reform of the Julian, by a Pope Gregory in the 16th century. Many European nations were slow to adopt the Gregorian Calendar, most notably Russia. The Bolsheviks under Lenin finally adopted it in 1918... the Julian and Gregorian had become two weeks out of joint by then. Hence, the Communist "Great October Revolution" actually happened in November Gregorian-style.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well... think of the confusion if Naruhito ascends the throne in May, and dies in, say, August. 2019 will be what? Part H31, part R1, part ?1. ? Weird!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The western calendar is based off a religious figure known as Jesus. Christianity considers him the king of kings. Therefore, the west has a gengo system as well. We are in the 2019th year of jesus' reign.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The media are fond of running stories about what "some" people feel about this or that issue. We seem to see that a lot.

What does "some" mean? How many is "some"?

The truth is, there will always be "some" people who will hold any given opinion about any issue. That doesn't automatically give the opinion the weight that merits newsworthiness.

It seems the media like to push their own opinions on things, and then reference "some" people who hold that same opinion -- so that they can then dodge accusations that they're not being objective.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a good example of how Japan loves to cling to outdated concepts and stubbornly refuses to enter the real world with delusions of being a unique culture. This era thing should be abolished and common sense should reign.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jimi, what common sense ? Your sense ?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

JenniSchiebel, totally agreed, not some agreed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Always some, always democracy, always correct, as always.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The truth is, there will always be "some" people who will hold any given opinion about any issue. That doesn't automatically give the opinion the weight that merits newsworthiness.

How many merits a story? Do you have any numbers in this particular case? If you don’t, your point is pure assumption.

Just say you don’t like it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Schopenhauer

The Japanese newspaper which criticize politics and society all the time was full of commendations about the new Gengo.

The new Gengo is a hit. A poll shows more than 73% of the people feel positive about it.

People are rushing to buy the Manyoshu, the ancient compilation of poetry from 1300 years ago. People are visiting Dazaifu-city in Kyushu, where the famous poet Ootomo no Tabito (665-731) wrote the poetry at a Plum Blossom Festival.

初春の令月にして気淑く風和ぎ

It's a celebration of beauty of nature surround you. There is nothing to feel negative about it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I like it. I like occasionally having to ask people, "What year is it?". Makes me feel like that fellow out of Terminator. The similarities end around there though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of which basically occurred in the Showa era. Also Showa has a specific time and not some random name given to it later. Also the two styles can work together as this is clearly on a longer scale than decade. Era need not be mutually exclusive

But that's exactly my point, sf2k. First, the name "Showa" says NOTHING about the actual events of the time period. Neither does Heisei actually, although people will backwards attach anything they can to the various names. Calling something the "Disco Period" or the "Roaring Twenties" not only describes the time, but gives you the flavor of the period without having to be an expert.

Secondly, while the name might not be random, the time itself is random. Why do we start Heisei in 1989? Simply because that's when Hirohito died and Akihito ascended to the throne. Why are we starting Reiwa this year? For no other reason than the abdication of Akihito and the ascension of Naruhito.

But NOTHING else fits these timelines. First off, the Showa period was so long that the cultural and historical changes are so vast that you can't give a 'flavor' to the period, because there's just too much that happened. And other than perhaps calling Heisei the "Lost Jidai" similar to the economic "Lose Decade," there's nothing much that can be said about the 30 years of Heisei that is coherent or tied together.

Tying a period to an event or cultural movement is, quite honestly IMO, a better system than naming it after a figurehead emperor.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tying a period to an event or cultural movement is, quite honestly IMO, a better system than naming it after a figurehead emperor.

Interesting idea. But there is no way to identify when such eras have begun until they are effectively half-done or even completely over. What would we call this this new era? Something to do with AI? Drones? Quinoa? Otaku? What would Heisei have been if we could go back and name it after something culturally significant in 1989?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interesting idea. But there is no way to identify when such eras have begun until they are effectively half-done or even completely over. What would we call this this new era? Something to do with AI? Drones? Quinoa? Otaku? What would Heisei have been if we could go back and name it after something culturally significant in 1989?

Who cares what we call it in the middle or beginning of an era? That's the beauty and the reality of the world and time. Why name an 'era' until you have a good feeling about what it is, or after it's over? Naming it is nothing more than a cultural and historical tool at hand to give you a good grasp of what the significance of the time period is.

As for the Heisei period, I might call it the "Waning Era" or "Lost Era." Whether it's the bubble popping, the Asian Banking Crisis or the Great Recession, the period from about 1989 to roughly 2012 is a period of the decline of Japanese fiscal power.

What would I call the current period? Perhaps the "Gray Era" although that name might not apply fully until 2015 or so. But not every year has to be part of an 'Era' or period. And honestly, that name of 'Gray Era' might not be fully applicable until we can look back on the period and make a sound, reasonable judgement rather than assign a name prior to it even beginning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is the Emporor of the same family?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is useful. :)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Apparently, more and more Japanese people found themselves having the same name as "令和". In one case, a family found two young girls having one of each characters for their names: the elder sister's name is "令" and her younger sibling's name is "和".

https://www.fnn.jp/posts/00044523HDK

Japanese parents have felt the combination of those characters were so good that they decided to use them for their children's names - long before Japanese government found it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem with the western dating system is that it is easy now, but in a million years you'll have to remember something like "my birthday is April 3, 1,193,552". And the number keeps getting bigger as millions of years pass.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Heisei expressed a desire for peace, and it was the first era since Meiji when Japan was not at war. Heisei had a mission and it was accomplished in spite of the militarists within the LDP.

I cannot fathom what Reiwa is supposed mean exactly. Beautiful harmony? It sound like the name of a love hotel. It might be loosely translated as "Peace, love, good vibes," a throwback to the hippie days of the 1960s. Also "harmony" was associated with the utopian socialism of the 19th century. Robert Owen called his experimental community in Indiana New Harmony, while Charlies Fourier declared that Harmony would replace civilization.

Gengo has always been an inconvenience in every day life and it will be more so since it is now established that an Emperor can retire when he's had enough of his job. Keep Gengo for ceremonies and use the modified Gregorian calendar for every day life. Note: it's no longer B.C. and A.D. Its Before Common Era and Common Era.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jeancolmar:

Bit of a backstep concerning BCE/CE. Its an attempt to secularize the calendar. Note they still use the same time frame as the gengo for jesus. I could do a backstep with the gengo for heisei and say its modern era and say it started in 1989.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Perhaps if CE were based on a non-religious event that separated the ancient world from the modern? Fall of Rome (476 AD or 1543 real common era [RCE]), start of renaissance (1300 AD or 719 RCE), or harnessing of electricity (1850 AD or 169 RCE).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

juminRheeApr. 2  08:31 pm JST

The western calendar is based off a religious figure known as Jesus. Christianity considers him the king of kings. Therefore, the west has a gengo system as well. We are in the 2019th year of jesus' reign.

Whom did he succeed? Etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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