New era dating ideas
"Heisei", even in English, is a faux pas, as this is—and will be—his posthumous name.Use of the emperor's given name (i.e., "Akihito") is rare, considered as vulgar behaviour, in Japanese.In 701, Emperor Monmu once again reinstated the era name system, and it has continued uninterrupted through today.Although use of the Gregorian calendar for historical dates became increasingly common in Japan, the traditional Japanese system demands that dates be written in reference to era names.Therefore, the posthumous names of the emperors and empresses who reigned prior to 1868 may not be taken as era names by themselves.For example, the year 572—the year in which Emperor Bidatsu assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne – is properly written as "敏達天皇元年" (Bidatsu-Tennō Gannen, lit.
This practice, implemented successfully since the days of Meiji but never formalized, became law in 1979 with the passage of the Era Name Law .
Thus, since 1868, there have only been four era names assigned: Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa and Heisei, each corresponding with the rule of only one emperor.
Upon death, the emperor is thereafter referred to by the era of his reign.
The four era names used since the end of the Edo period in 1868 can be abbreviated by taking the first letter of their romanized names. Although the regular practice of proclaiming successive era names was interrupted in the late seventh century, it was permanently re-adopted in 701 during the reign of Emperor Monmu (697–707).
Since then, era names have been used continuously up through the present day.
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Most nengō are composed of two kanji, except for a short time during the Nara period when four-kanji names were sometimes adopted to follow the Chinese trend.