The current Japanese imperial era ends today when Emperor Akihito abdicates the Chrysanthemum Throne. It is the end of an era.
The Heisei Period began on January 8, 1989 when Akihito ascended to the throne. The day prior, his father, Hirohito, had passed away, ending the Showa Era (1926-1989). Traditionally, new eras begin when the current emperor passes away, but Akihito decided to give up the throne, making way for his son’s coronation.
While the country isn’t mourning a death, this imperial succession is still bittersweet, bidding adieu to the nostalgic memories of the previous era and optimistically looking forward to what’s next.
The new era, called Reiwa, will begin starting tomorrow.