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List of Japanese eras

The List of Japanese eras is a traditional calendar system which began during the reign of Emperor Kōtoku in the 7th century. This calendar has been in use in Japan since the beginning of the 8th century.

The historical Japanese calendar system defines and parses time in terms of ordinal numbers.

Each new Japanese era (nengō, lit. "year name") was usually started soon after the beginning of the reign of a new emperor. Era names were also changed due to other events. Staring in the reign of Emperor Yōzei, the tradition of naming eras because of good omens changed. Instead, the name of an era might be chosen to ward off something bad.

The first day of the first year of a nengō (gannen) started whenever the emperor decided. This first year continued until the next lunar new year, which is understood to be the start of the nengō's second year.

To change a Japanese year to a Western or Gregorian calendar year, find the first year of the nengō (see list below). When found, subtract 1, and add the number of the Japanese year. For example, the 23rd year of the Shōwa period (Shōwa 23) was 1948:

ILLUSTRATION: 1926 - 1 = 1925 and then 1925 + 23 = 1948 ... or Shōwa 23.

CONVERSION TABLE: Gregorian calendar years / nengō
江戸 Edo period
1615 Genna also Genwa
1624 Kan'ei Empress Meishō, 1629-1643; Emperor Go-Kōmyō, 1643-1654.
1644 Shōhō -
1648 Keian also Kyōan
1652 Jōō also Shōō; Emperor Go-Sai, 1655-1663.
1655 Meireki also Myōryaku or Meiryaku
1658 Manji -
1661 Kanbun Emperor Reigen, 1663-1687.
1673 Enpō also Enhō
1681 Tenna also Tenwa
1684 Jōkyō Emperor Higashiyama, 1687-1709.
1688 Genroku -
1704 Hōei Emperor Nakamikado, 1709-1735.
1711 Shōtoku Emperor Go-Momozono, 1771-1779.
1716 Kyōhō Emperor Sakuramachi, 1735-1747.
1736 Genbun -
1741 Kanpō also Kanhō
1744 Enkyō Emperor Momozono, 1747-1762.
1748 Kan'en -
1751 Hōreki also Hōryaku; Empress Go-Sakuramachi, 1762-1771.
1764 Meiwa Emperor Go-Momozono, 1771-1779.
1772 An'ei Emperor Kōkaku, 1780-1817.
1781 Tenmei also a "popular expression meaning 'difficulty'"
1789 Kansei from Sui Dynasty phrase, "When conducting government, do so with lenience"
1801 Kyōwa -
1804 Bunka Emperor Ninkō, 1817-1846.
1818 Bunsei -
1830 Tenpō also Tenhō; name links with Tenna and Kyōhō
1844 Kōka Emperor Kōmei, 1846-1867.
1848 Kaei
1854 Ansei
1860 Man'en
1861 Bunkyū
1864 Genji
1865 慶応 Keiō
Modern Japan
1868 明治 Meiji Emperor Meiji, 1868-1912. Also known as "Enlightened Government" or "Brilliant Rule"
1912 大正 Taishō Emperor Taishō, 1912-1926.
1926 昭和 Shōwa Emperor Shōwa, 1926-1989.
1989 平成 Heisei Akihito, 1989-2019.
2019 令和 Reiwa Naruhito, 2019-present [the reigning emperor].