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REIWA 令和 – A New Era for Japan

01/05/2019

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REIWA 令和 – A New Era for Japan

于時、初春令月、氣淑風和、梅披鏡前之粉、蘭薫珮後之香

“In an auspicious ( ) month of early spring, winds breeze in a peaceful ( ) manner.”

This is the sentence of the poem on which the name for the new era is inspired. The two kanji Rei ( )and Wa ( ) appear in the introduction to a set of 32 poems that are flower-themed. The poem is found in the “Manyōshū” Japan’s oldest anthology of waka poems. The Manyōshū is not randomly chosen as a source. People of all kinds of social classes (from farmers to emperors) in Japan, contributed to this anthology. So this choice certainly reflects the harmony of the country.

The new era name was hyped in several media. In most cases they focused on the meaning of both of the kanji (“auspicious”) and (“peaceful/harmony”). It indeed is the positive message of the new era to be promising, hopeful and peaceful.

However, a deeper meaning behind it can be interpreted. In fact the classical Japanese poem is based on an old Chinese poem called “Return to the Field” from Zhang Heng (2nd century AD).

於 是 仲 春 (lìng)月,時 ()氣清 ;原 隰 鬱 茂 ,百 草 茲 榮 。

With this choice, we might conclude that Japan also wanted to reinforce the hope of a good relationship between China and Japan.

In any case, Hatatsu wishes Japan and his new Emperor Naruhito a prosperous, hopeful and peaceful era!

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