Today’s Google Doodle praises the finish of an era in Japan—truly—as the sun sets on the Heisei period, whose name means “achieving peace.” The country’s 247th gengō, or period name, started with the rising of Emperor Akihito in January 8, 1989, and reaches an end as the emperor steps down to make path for his oldest child, Crown Prince Naruhito.
What is the Heisei period?
This period, or “gengo”, started when Emperor Akihito took the position of royalty on January 8, 1989.
It has now finished with Akihito venturing down clearing path for his oldest child Crown Prince Naruhito.
This is the 247th Japanese gengo.
Who is Emperor Akihito?
Akihito, 85, was the first Japanese monarch to take the royal position under a post-war constitution that characterizes the emperor as a symbol of the general population without political power.
His dad, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops battled World War Two, was viewed as a living deity until after Japan’s 1945 defeat, when he renounced his divinity.
Akihito, together with Empress Michiko, his wife of 60 years and the first commoner to wed a majestic beneficiary, carved out an active role as a symbol of reconciliation, peace and democracy.
The Emperor, who has had treatment for prostate cancer and heart surgery, said in a broadcast address in 2016 that he dreaded his age would make it difficult for him to complete his obligations completely.
Why does Japan name its eras?
The custom of naming gengos dates back to 645AD when Emperor Kōtoku took the position of royalty.
He presented changes building up a more pleasant system of government.
To reflect the changes he had made, he chose to receive Chinese practice of naming eras.
He picked Taika signifying “great change.”
Gengos expects to express a vision for the future and inspire the Japanese individuals.
In particular, the gengō expects to express a dream for the future and addresses the deepest desires of the Japanese individuals.