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The Imperial Calendar

Japan uses two different calendars to count years, the western calendar and the Imperial Calendar. The western calendar is the most commonly used in everyday life, but the Imperial calendar is still used very often in administrative documents.

The Imperial Calendar groups years under eras, that are grouped under periods and sub-periods.
Changes in periods correspond mainly to changes or governments, as well as their places of establishment.

Eras correspond to the reign of each emperor, from the beginning of its reign until his death.
For the first time in the history of the imperial lineage, the Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April, 30th and will set the Heisei era to an end still living.

Summary chronology of the Japanese eras
DatesName in EnglishName in Japanese
Until 399Prehistory先史時代 SENSHIJIDAI
According to the Shinto religion, the lineage of the emperors starts in -600BC, with the legendary Emperor Jinmu, direct descendant of Amaterasu, goddess of the Sun.
400 - 1198Antiquity古代 KODAI
400 - 707Yamato Period大和時代 YAMATO JIDAI
707 - 781Nara Period奈良時代 NARA JIDAI
781 - 1198Heian Period平安時代 HEIAN JIDAI
1198 - 1611feodal Period (Middle age)中世 CHŪSEI
1185 - 1333Kamakura Period鎌倉時代 KAMAKURA JIDAI
1333 - 1573Muromachi Period室町時代 MUROMACHI JIDAI
1573 - 1603Azuchi Momoyama Period安土桃山時代 AZUCHI MOMOYAMA JIDAI
1611 - 1867Premodern Period近世 KINSEI
1603 - 1867Edo Period江戸時代 JIDAI
1868 - NowModern Period - Contemporary Period近代・現代 KINDAI - GENDAI
1868 - 1912Meiji Era明治時代 MEIJI JIDAI
1912 - 1926Taishō Era大正時代 TAISHŌ JIDAI
1926 - 1989Shōwa Era昭和時代 SHŌWA JIDAI
1989 - 2019Heisei Era平成時代 HEISEI JIDAI
2019 - NowReiwa Era令和時代 REIWA JIDAI
Correspondence between western calendar and the imperial calendar
Western yearEraYear in the eraAge
1868Meiji1156
1869Meiji2155
1870Meiji3154
1871Meiji4153
1872Meiji5152
1873Meiji6151
1874Meiji7150
1875Meiji8149
1876Meiji9148
1877Meiji10147
1878Meiji11146
1879Meiji12145
1880Meiji13144
1881Meiji14143
1882Meiji15142
1883Meiji16141
1884Meiji17140
1885Meiji18139
1886Meiji19138
1887Meiji20137
1888Meiji21136
1889Meiji22135
1890Meiji23134
1891Meiji24133
1892Meiji25132
1893Meiji26131
1894Meiji27130
1895Meiji28129
1896Meiji29128
1897Meiji30127
1898Meiji31126
1899Meiji32125
1900Meiji33124
1901Meiji34123
1902Meiji35122
1903Meiji36121
1904Meiji37120
1905Meiji38119
1906Meiji39118
1907Meiji40117
1908Meiji41116
1909Meiji42115
1910Meiji43114
1911Meiji44113
1912Taishō1112
1913Taishō2111
1914Taishō3110
1915Taishō4109
1916Taishō5108
1917Taishō6107
1918Taishō7106
1919Taishō8105
1920Taishō9104
1921Taishō10103
1922Taishō11102
1923Taishō12101
1924Taishō13100
1925Taishō1499
1926Shōwa198
1927Shōwa297
1928Shōwa396
1929Shōwa495
1930Shōwa594
1931Shōwa693
1932Shōwa792
1933Shōwa891
1934Shōwa990
1935Shōwa1089
1936Shōwa1188
1937Shōwa1287
1938Shōwa1386
1939Shōwa1485
1940Shōwa1584
1941Shōwa1683
1942Shōwa1782
1943Shōwa1881
1944Shōwa1980
1945Shōwa2079
1946Shōwa2178
1947Shōwa2277
1948Shōwa2376
1949Shōwa2475
1950Shōwa2574
1951Shōwa2673
1952Shōwa2772
1953Shōwa2871
1954Shōwa2970
1955Shōwa3069
1956Shōwa3168
1957Shōwa3267
1958Shōwa3366
1959Shōwa3465
1960Shōwa3564
1961Shōwa3663
1962Shōwa3762
1963Shōwa3861
1964Shōwa3960
1965Shōwa4059
1966Shōwa4158
1967Shōwa4257
1968Shōwa4356
1969Shōwa4455
1970Shōwa4554
1971Shōwa4653
1972Shōwa4752
1973Shōwa4851
1974Shōwa4950
1975Shōwa5049
1976Shōwa5148
1977Shōwa5247
1978Shōwa5346
1979Shōwa5445
1980Shōwa5544
1981Shōwa5643
1982Shōwa5742
1983Shōwa5841
1984Shōwa5940
1985Shōwa6039
1986Shōwa6138
1987Shōwa6237
1988Shōwa6336
1989Heisei135
1990Heisei234
1991Heisei333
1992Heisei432
1993Heisei531
1994Heisei630
1995Heisei729
1996Heisei828
1997Heisei927
1998Heisei1026
1999Heisei1125
2000Heisei1224
2001Heisei1323
2002Heisei1422
2003Heisei1521
2004Heisei1620
2005Heisei1719
2006Heisei1818
2007Heisei1917
2008Heisei2016
2009Heisei2115
2010Heisei2214
2011Heisei2313
2012Heisei2412
2013Heisei2511
2014Heisei2610
2015Heisei279
2016Heisei288
2017Heisei297
2018Heisei306
2019Heisei315
2019Reiwa315
2020Reiwa324
2021Reiwa333
2022Reiwa342
2023Reiwa351
2024Reiwa360
Change of era

As new reigns usually don't start on January, 1st, it is common that the first year of an era is the last year of the preceding era.

YearEnd of eraBeginning of era
191245th year of Meiji era until July, 29th1st year of Taishō era from July, 30th
192615th year of Taishō era until December, 24th1st year of Shōwa era from December, 25th
198964th year of Shōwa era until January, 7th1st year of Heisei era from January, 8th
201931th year of Heisei era until April, 29th1st year of Reiwa era from Avril, 30th
Notation
  • As in most cases in Asian countries, dates are always written in the order Year - Month - Day.

Most common long format: 2024年06月20日

Most common short format: 2024.06.20

  • Names of eras are usually composed of 2kanji.

Long format with era name: 平成36年06月20日

Short format with era name: H36.06.20

For the most recent eras, Unicode characters have been created: Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, Heisei. A character has also been reserved for the Reiwa era.
However, they are not often used. The first letter of the era name are more commonly used instead (M, T, S, H, R).

  • Week days are often abbreviated to the first character: 月, 火, 水, 木, 金, 土, 日

Long format with week day: 2024年06月20日(木)

Short format with week day: 2024.06.20(木)

National holidays

National holidays that fall on a Sunday are followed by a "compensation" day.

2024

DatesName in EnglishName in Japanese
01 JanuaryGANJITSUNew year's Day
08 JanuarySEIJIN NO HIMajority Day
11 FebruaryKENKOKU KINENBINational Foundation Day
12 FebruaryKYÛJITSUCompensation day
23 FebruaryTENNÔ TANJÔBIBirthday of the Emperor
20 MarchSHUNBUN NO HIVernal Equinox Day
21 MarchKYÛJITSUCompensation day
29 AprilSHÔWA NO HIBirthday of Emperor Hirohito
30 AprilKYÛJITSUCompensation day
03 MayKEMPÔ KINENBIConstitution Memorial Day
04 MayMIDORI NO HIGreenery Day
05 MayKODOMO NO HIChildren's Day
06 MayKYÛJITSUCompensation day
15 JulyUMI NO HIMarine Day
16 SeptemberKEIRÔ NO HIRespect for the Aged Day
22 SeptemberSHÛBUN NO HIAutumnal Equinox Day
23 SeptemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
14 OctoberTAIIKU NO HIHealth and Sports Day
03 NovemberBUNKA NO HICulture Day
04 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
23 NovemberKINRÔ KANSHA NO HILabor Thanksgiving Day
24 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day

2025

DatesName in EnglishName in Japanese
01 JanuaryGANJITSUNew year's Day
13 JanuarySEIJIN NO HIMajority Day
11 FebruaryKENKOKU KINENBINational Foundation Day
23 FebruaryTENNÔ TANJÔBIBirthday of the Emperor
24 FebruaryKYÛJITSUCompensation day
20 MarchSHUNBUN NO HIVernal Equinox Day
21 MarchKYÛJITSUCompensation day
29 AprilSHÔWA NO HIBirthday of Emperor Hirohito
30 AprilKYÛJITSUCompensation day
03 MayKEMPÔ KINENBIConstitution Memorial Day
04 MayMIDORI NO HIGreenery Day
05 MayKODOMO NO HIChildren's Day
06 MayKYÛJITSUCompensation day
21 JulyUMI NO HIMarine Day
15 SeptemberKEIRÔ NO HIRespect for the Aged Day
23 SeptemberSHÛBUN NO HIAutumnal Equinox Day
24 SeptemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
13 OctoberTAIIKU NO HIHealth and Sports Day
03 NovemberBUNKA NO HICulture Day
04 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
23 NovemberKINRÔ KANSHA NO HILabor Thanksgiving Day
24 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day

Vocabulary
Western calendar西暦 (せいれき) SEIREKI
Imperial calendar神武天皇即位紀元 (じんむ てんのう そくい きげん) JINMU TENNŌ SOKUI KIGEN
  • Complete name, lit. "Calendar following the enthronement of the Emperor Jinmu"..
  • 皇紀 (こうき) KŌKI
  • Abbreviated name.
  • Era年号 (ねんごう) NENGŌ
  • In the common language.
  • 元号 (げんごう) GENGŌ
  • More technical term.
  • Period時代 (じだい) JIDAI
    Change of era改元 (かいげん) KAIGEN
    1st year of an era元年 (がんねん) GANNEN
  • The first year is generally written in kanji rather that with the figure 1.
  • National holiday祝日 (しゅくじつ) SHUKUJITSU
    Holiday休日 (きゅうじつ) KYŪJITSU
  • Non-working day.
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    Kazoku Ecrire le japonais
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    Ecrire le japonais
    Kazoku Ecrire le japonais