Emperor Akihito of Japan has announced that he will abdicate the throne on 30 April 2019. Reports say that the current Japanese era, the Heisei period, will end on that day and May 1st will be the first day of a new, currently unnamed, era.

Should Emperor Akihito die before 30 April 2019, will the new era end early? Or will the beginning of the new era be delayed until 1 May?

  • This is a legitimate question, but really isn't a question about politics in any meaningful sense. Not sure which SE is belongs in. – ohwilleke Oct 1 '18 at 22:49
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    @ohwilleke In what way is it not about politics? Isn’t it an official government act of Japan’s constitutional monarchy to declare the start of a new era? I mean, legislation had to be passed to even allow the Emperor to abdicate to allow for this situation. – Thunderforge Oct 1 '18 at 23:55
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    It is basically a question about Japanese culture and language. It wouldn't necessarily even be a governmental act. The previous eras ended up being called what they were because somebody decided to use that language without being ordered to do so and the names stuck and became conventional. – ohwilleke Oct 1 '18 at 23:59

Yes. The past few eras started as soon as an Emperor acceded to the throne: so Heisei 1 began with the accession of His Imperial Majesty following the death of the Showa Emperor. The present system, where the era names match the actual reigns, dates back the to Meiji Emperor: previously there could be several eras for one Emperor. But I suspect that the death of a Emperor was always the end of an era.

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