Japanese new imperial era name announced, but…?

The Japanese government announced a new name of the Japanese era: 令和 (reiwa).

Good thing we can see the transition to a new imperial era with his majesty alive.

We sometimes abbreviate an era name such as when drawing up official documents. Take the current name, 平成 (Heisei) for example. As of April 1. 2019, it’s called 平成31年 (Heisei 31 nen), and we can call it H31 for short, which derives from the initial of Heisei.

So how about Reiwa? Yes, it must be ‘R.’ However, there are widespread misgivings about the era name among Japanese people. Why? It’s because of the abbreviation.

Unless the next emperor passes away, 令和18年 (reiwa 18 nen) does come around, which is R18 for short. This ‘R18’ is at issue everywhere on the internet because it reminds most of us of porn contents: porn videos, hentai manga, anime, etc. As in X-rated of the U.S, R18 means something that is not available to persons under 18, so some people are afraid that children born in R18 will get bullied or teased. Here’s what’s going to happen.


Hey! you were born in R18, and that’s why you’ve got such a pervert face, huh?


“Born in Reiwa 18? So you’re R18, a porn actor!! Come on, show me your big c*ck? (giggle)”


All I hope for is: “May the Reiwa 18-people be happy.”


2 thoughts on “Japanese new imperial era name announced, but…?

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this. Your site is very nice!

    Are these sorts of abbreviations taken into account before naming a new era? Was there any possibility that the new era could have been a word starting with an “H”, “S”, or “T” syllable, or are these avoided to prevent confusion with recent eras?

    • Thank you for your comment, Vic.

      >>”are these avoided to prevent confusion with recent eras?”

      You hit the nail on the head. Although it seems an unspoken agreement, the new era was supposed to be something else except an “H,” “S,” “T” or “M” syllable that is the initial of the last four eras, probably to prevent confusion as you said.

      There are also different rules to name an era, and here are the examples: Use of two Chinese characters, easy to read and write, not adopted before, not in common use, and so on.

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