CMA Stories

6 Fun Facts About Reiwa, Japan’s New Era

On Sunday, May 5, CMA is partnering with Taikoza, a NYC-based musical group of players and educators, and Tenri Cultural Institute to present performances and interactive workshops inspired by traditional and contemporary art of Japan. Create a calligraphy mural, sculpt sushi at the Clay Bar, record j-pop songs in the Sound Booth, and more! Purchase tickets here.

Beginning May 1, 2019, Japan marks the beginning of the new era, called Reiwa. Learn more about this fascinating historical tradition below!

  1. Reiwa is an portmanteau of rei, meaning “good” or “beautiful” and wa, meaning “peace” or “harmony”
  2. The current era is called Heisei, or “achieving peace.” The era will end on April 30, 2019 when Emperor Akihito abdicates, or leaves, the throne. His son, Naruhito, will become emperor the next day. The previous three eras were Showa, Taisho and Meiji.
  3. Although many Japanese people prefer to use the Western calendar, era names such as Reiwa are widely use in government and business documents and on calendars.
  4. rei and wa are taken from a poem about plum blossoms in the “Manyoshu,” a 7th century Japanese poetry collection.
  5. Reiwa marks first time that an era name comes from a Japanese text instead of a Chinese text.
  6. The name was chosen by a panel of nine experts, including literature scholars and a Nobel-Prize-winning scientist.

This program is supported, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, The Japan Foundation, New York, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with Taikoza and the Tenri Cultural Institute. CIVICKIDS is sponsored by Google.


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