Reiwa: how Japan’s new era name is breaking tradition

Characters are the first to be taken from Japanese rather than Chinese literature

Reiwa – Japan’s new imperial era – adheres to the established naming custom in that it comprises two kanji characters – rei and wa – and is easy to read and write.

But it also represents a break with centuries of tradition as the first era name to have been inspired by a Japanese, rather than Chinese, work of classical literature.

Related: Reiwa: Japan prepares to enter new era of 'fortunate harmony'

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