What is the Japanese imperial year? How do we decide names?


What is Japanese imperial year?


There are two calendar in Japan. One is the Gregorian (Western) calendar (ie. 2018 etc) we call it ‘seireki 西暦’

The other one is the Japanese imperial or ‘wareki’ (和暦)


Have you seen a Japanese imperial year before?

It looks like “昭和50年”  “平成30年” .

There are many name like Meiji,Taisho,Shouwa and Heisei. It is Heisei now.



How to decide these name?


flag of emperor from Wikipedia

Japanese imperial year came from China so it is quoted from Classical Chinese.


Then who decide it?

1: College professors and knowledgeable people line up some candidates

2:Chief Canbinet Secretary chose one

3:Dissertation at Cabinet meeting

4:Ask to the president of diet for their opinion on behalf of people

5:Decide to new name at Cabinet meeting


What is the condition to decide the imperial year name


There are many conditions to decide it.


1:It has good meaning for people

2:2 Kanjis

3:Easy to write it

4:Easy to read it

5:It haven’t been using it before

6:It haven’t been using it in general



It will be change the name next year


sankei news


The name will be change to new one because the emperor of Heisei will retire.

So the ceremony of changing to new emperor will be held next May.


There will wear traditional special Kimono so I’m interested to see the ceremony on TV 🙂



Do you know your Japanese zodiac?


By the way, do you know your Japanese Zodiac?


It’s called “Ju-nishi” in Japan.


Actually Ju-nishi came from Chinese zodiac. There are 12 animals, with one animal allocated to every year.


We sometimes tell fortunes from zodiac so it’s important for Japanese people!

You can check your zodiac here













•亥→Wiled boar


It’s going to change to the zodiac these turn.

It is Dog year now(Heisei30) so it will be Wiled boar next year.

My father’s zodiac is Wiled boar so he will be “Toshi-otoko”



In conclusion


How was the topic? I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

When you come to Japan,you might find some Wareki! Let’s try to find them!!