How Japan's New Reiwa Era Has Brought Business Boom

The announcement of Japan's new imperial era translates into instant profits for companies

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Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
2 min read

On April 1, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary announced the dawn of a new era ahead of the emperor’s abdication, meaning “fortune harmony”.

The announcement of the new era name spread the happiness and excitement across Japan. The airwaves were dominated with major TV networks cancelling their regular programming to give live updates and commentary.

In Tokyo, a large crowd gathered to watch the announcement on a giant screen, and captured the historic moment as the government unveiled the era name. Reiwa brings an end to three-decade rule of “Heisei” period after the abdication of Emperor Akihito with his son, Crown Prince Naruhito taking the charge as Emperor from 1 May. 

What is 'Reiwa'?

Reiwa, consisting of Chinese characters for "good" and "harmony," was taken from "Manyoshu," an eighth-century anthology of poems.“The name defines the people joining their hearts to build Japan’s culture,” said Shinzo Abe in a press briefing.

In Japan’s multi-party bicameral monarchy, people use both the Western calendar and imperial reign periods. But, according to reign period system, the entry of a new emperor on the throne marks a beginning of new era.  

Japan's 85-year-old Emperor Akihito will step down in a rare abdication ceremony on April 30. His eldest son, Naruhito, 59, will take the throne in a ceremony the following day, thus marking the official start of the new Reiwa era. 

Cashing in on the Imperial Fever

Within a day of the announcement, Japan’s e-commerce player Mercari started selling Reiwa T-shirts and coffee mugs. Companies like Coca-Cola were giving away bottles inscribed Reiwa on them. Cashing in on the royal buzz, some shop owners offered discounts on food and shopping.

A Tokyo hotel reportedly is taking reservations for patrons to enjoy novelty king-sized hamburgers grilled up in honor of the new emperor and his reign.

Watch the video to know more about it.

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