The name of Japan’s incoming emperor’s reign was revealed to be ‘Reiwa’ – meaning harmony.
The new imperial era begins on May 1 as Emperor Akihito abdicates and Crown Prince Naruhito takes his place.
Every emperor’s reign, known as a gengo, appears on coins, newspapers, driving licences, and official paperwork in order to denote the time as well as having its own alternative calendar to the Western one.
The name of the gengo is traditionally chosen from Chinese writing, but ‘Reiwa’ has been taken from an anthology of old Japanese poems called the Manyoshu.
This is a big departure from tradition, as the name is taken from two Japanese characters Rei and Wa meaning order and peace respectively.
The current era is known as Heisei, which means achieving peace.
The name of each gengo is intended to set the tone of the following decades, and bears significance to most of Japan’s population in their daily life.
The naming process is highly secretive with weeks of speculation and discussions in the build-up to the announcement.
Usually the name isn’t revealed until the era begins, but this time it has been announced a month earlier in order to update software and systems ahead of the transition.
The current emperor, 85-year-old Akihito, steps down from his duty at the end of the month making him the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in over 200 years