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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
1868Meiji1154
1869Meiji2153
1870Meiji3152
1871Meiji4151
1872Meiji5150
1873Meiji6149
1874Meiji7148
1875Meiji8147
1876Meiji9146
1877Meiji10145
1878Meiji11144
1879Meiji12143
1880Meiji13142
1881Meiji14141
1882Meiji15140
1883Meiji16139
1884Meiji17138
1885Meiji18137
1886Meiji19136
1887Meiji20135
1888Meiji21134
1889Meiji22133
1890Meiji23132
1891Meiji24131
1892Meiji25130
1893Meiji26129
1894Meiji27128
1895Meiji28127
1896Meiji29126
1897Meiji30125
1898Meiji31124
1899Meiji32123
1900Meiji33122
1901Meiji34121
1902Meiji35120
1903Meiji36119
1904Meiji37118
1905Meiji38117
1906Meiji39116
1907Meiji40115
1908Meiji41114
1909Meiji42113
1910Meiji43112
1911Meiji44111
1912Taishō1110
1913Taishō2109
1914Taishō3108
1915Taishō4107
1916Taishō5106
1917Taishō6105
1918Taishō7104
1919Taishō8103
1920Taishō9102
1921Taishō10101
1922Taishō11100
1923Taishō1299
1924Taishō1398
1925Taishō1497
1926Shōwa196
1927Shōwa295
1928Shōwa394
1929Shōwa493
1930Shōwa592
1931Shōwa691
1932Shōwa790
1933Shōwa889
1934Shōwa988
1935Shōwa1087
1936Shōwa1186
1937Shōwa1285
1938Shōwa1384
1939Shōwa1483
1940Shōwa1582
1941Shōwa1681
1942Shōwa1780
1943Shōwa1879
1944Shōwa1978
1945Shōwa2077
1946Shōwa2176
1947Shōwa2275
1948Shōwa2374
1949Shōwa2473
1950Shōwa2572
1951Shōwa2671
1952Shōwa2770
1953Shōwa2869
1954Shōwa2968
1955Shōwa3067
1956Shōwa3166
1957Shōwa3265
1958Shōwa3364
1959Shōwa3463
1960Shōwa3562
1961Shōwa3661
1962Shōwa3760
1963Shōwa3859
1964Shōwa3958
1965Shōwa4057
1966Shōwa4156
1967Shōwa4255
1968Shōwa4354
1969Shōwa4453
1970Shōwa4552
1971Shōwa4651
1972Shōwa4750
1973Shōwa4849
1974Shōwa4948
1975Shōwa5047
1976Shōwa5146
1977Shōwa5245
1978Shōwa5344
1979Shōwa5443
1980Shōwa5542
1981Shōwa5641
1982Shōwa5740
1983Shōwa5839
1984Shōwa5938
1985Shōwa6037
1986Shōwa6136
1987Shōwa6235
1988Shōwa6334
1989Heisei133
1990Heisei232
1991Heisei331
1992Heisei430
1993Heisei529
1994Heisei628
1995Heisei727
1996Heisei826
1997Heisei925
1998Heisei1024
1999Heisei1123
2000Heisei1222
2001Heisei1321
2002Heisei1420
2003Heisei1519
2004Heisei1618
2005Heisei1717
2006Heisei1816
2007Heisei1915
2008Heisei2014
2009Heisei2113
2010Heisei2212
2011Heisei2311
2012Heisei2410
2013Heisei259
2014Heisei268
2015Heisei277
2016Heisei286
2017Heisei295
2018Heisei304
2019Heisei313
2019Reiwa313
2020Reiwa322
2021Reiwa331
2022Reiwa340
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: 2022年06月30日

Most common short format: 2022.06.30

  • Names of eras are usually composed of 2kanji.

Long format with era name: 平成34年06月30日

Short format with era name: H34.06.30

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: 2022年06月30日(木)

Short format with week day: 2022.06.30(木)

National holidays

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

2022

DatesName in EnglishName in Japanese
01 JanuaryGANJITSUNew year's Day
10 JanuarySEIJIN NO HIMajority Day
11 FebruaryKENKOKU KINENBINational Foundation Day
23 FebruaryTENNÔ TANJÔBIBirthday of the Emperor
21 MarchSHUNBUN NO HIVernal Equinox Day
22 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
18 JulyUMI NO HIMarine Day
19 SeptemberKEIRÔ NO HIRespect for the Aged Day
23 SeptemberSHÛBUN NO HIAutumnal Equinox Day
24 SeptemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
10 OctoberTAIIKU NO HIHealth and Sports Day
03 NovemberBUNKA NO HICulture Day
04 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
23 NovemberKINRÔ KANSHA NO HILabor Thanksgiving Day
24 NovemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day

2023

DatesName in EnglishName in Japanese
01 JanuaryGANJITSUNew year's Day
02 JanuaryKYÛJITSUCompensation day
09 JanuarySEIJIN NO HIMajority Day
11 FebruaryKENKOKU KINENBINational Foundation Day
23 FebruaryTENNÔ TANJÔBIBirthday of the Emperor
21 MarchSHUNBUN NO HIVernal Equinox Day
22 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
17 JulyUMI NO HIMarine Day
18 SeptemberKEIRÔ NO HIRespect for the Aged Day
22 SeptemberSHÛBUN NO HIAutumnal Equinox Day
23 SeptemberKYÛJITSUCompensation day
09 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