Japan to name new imperial epoch on April 1

It’s the dawning of the age of … something.

Japan will reveal the name of the country’s next era on April 1, as the country prepares for the abdication of Emperor Akihito later this year.

The current Heisei Era began in 1989, when Akihito succeeded his father Emperor Hirohito, who ruled during the Showa period and is now known as the Showa Emperor.

Akihito, soon to be known as the Heisei Emperor, will become the first Japanese monarch in 200 years to step down, relinquishing the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, who will become the 126th emperor on May 1.

Eras are about more than who is the emperor of the day. They are also, for example, the basis of the Japanese calendar system: 2018 was Heisei 30, coming three decades after the era began.

While the current system aligns with the rule of the emperors, this has not always been the case. In the past, new eras were declared to mark historical moments.

For example, the Ansei period, beginning on November 27, 1854, on the Gregorian calendar, was adopted