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Japanese – Western Calendar Year Conversion

Japanese – Western Calendar Year Conversion

In Japan most people know and use the Western calendar year (西暦 seireki), Gregorian Calendar or Western Common Era (AD – Anno Domini). It gradually gained popularity since the Meiji Era, in particular after World War II.

However, you often need to be familiar with the traditional Japanese calendar year when dealing with official documents and forms.

The official Japanese calendar year is used side by side with the Western calendar. It reflects the actual counting of years the current Emperor’s dynasty, how many years has been reigning together with the Emperor period name.

What year is it now in the Japanese calendar?

We are (at the time of publishing this article) in 2019, Reiwa (R) 1, the beginning of the Reiwa Era.

You can easily convert any Western year to Japanese calendar year or from Japanese to Western using the tables below.

Jump to Reiwa Era: May 2019 – Present
Jump to Heisei Era: January 1989 – April 2019
Jump to Showa Era: December 1926 – January 1989
Jump to Taisho Era: July 1912 – December 1926
Jump to Meiji Era: October 1868 – July 1912


 

When does the traditional Japanese Year change?

Every time an Emperor steps down and changes, a new Emperor begins to rule. Consequently, a Japanese era name starts and the number of years restarts from 1 again. It’s basically the era and year of the reign of the current Emperor.

The Japanese calendar is based on the Japanese Imperial Year (皇紀 kōki or 紀元 kigen) used from the foundation of Japan in 660 BC by the legendary Emperor Jimmu. Curiosity: the old Imperial year has officially been abandoned but still in use by the Shinto.

The reading of the Japanese (年号 nengō or 元号 gengō, “year name“) is “Era Name” followed by the “Regnal Year“. Please note that quite often the Era name is replaced by the initial.
For example, we are now in Reiwa 1 or (R) 1 which started May 1st, 2019.

The change of year will be every year on January 1st. Some people mistakenly think the change of year takes place one exact year from when the Emperor started to reign.

 


 

Which are the Japanese Modern Era Names and Periods?

Emperor Era name of Modern Japan (from 1868) and the equivalent Western Calendar Years

Gregorian calendar year Name of eraNotes
(AD)KanjiRomanizationEmperor & Period
1868 (from October 23rd)明治MeijiEmperor Meiji, 1868 – 1912
1912 (from July 30th)大正TaishōEmperor Taishō, 1912 – 1926
1926 (from December 25th)昭和ShōwaEmperor Shōwa, 1926 – 1989
1989 (from January 8th)平成HeiseiEmperor Akihito, 1989 – 2019
2019 (from May 1st)令和ReiwaEmperor Naruhito, 2019 – present

 


Convert between Japanese and Western calendar year

Yoshihide Suga Reiwa era announcement

Reiwa Era (Emperor Naruhito) – From 1st of May 2019 to Present

Western CalendarJapanese Calendar
2023Reiwa 5
2022Reiwa 4
2021Reiwa 3
2020Reiwa 2
2019Reiwa 1 (from May 1st)

 


 

Heisei Era (Emperor Akihito) – From 8th January 1989 to 30th April 2019

Western CalendarJapanese Calendar
2019Heisei 31 (until April 30th)
2018Heisei 30
2017Heisei 29
2016Heisei 28
2015Heisei 27
2014Heisei 26
2013Heisei 25
2012Heisei 24
2011Heisei 23
2010Heisei 22
2009Heisei 21
2008Heisei 20
2007Heisei 19
2006Heisei 18
2005Heisei 17
2004Heisei 16
2003Heisei 15
2002Heisei 14
2001Heisei 13
2000Heisei 12
1999Heisei 11
1998Heisei 10
1997Heisei 9
1996Heisei 8
1995Heisei 7
1994Heisei 6
1993Heisei 5
1992Heisei 4
1991Heisei 3
1990Heisei 2
1989Heisei 1 (from January 8th)

 


 

Showa Era (Emperor Showa) – From December 25th 1926 to 7th January 1989

Western CalendarJapanese Calendar
1989Showa 64 (until January 7th)
1988Showa 63
1987Showa 62
1986Showa 61
1985Showa 60
1984Showa 59
1983Showa 58
1982Showa 57
1981Showa 56
1980Showa 55
1979Showa 54
1978Showa 53
1977Showa 52
1976Showa 51
1975Showa 50
1974Showa 49
1973Showa 48
1972Showa 47
1971Showa 46
1970Showa 45
1969Showa 44
1968Showa 43
1967Showa 42
1966Showa 41
1965Showa 40
1964Showa 39
1963Showa 38
1962Showa 37
1961Showa 36
1960Showa 35
1959Showa 34
1958Showa 33
1957Showa 32
1956Showa 31
1955Showa 30
1954Showa 29
1953Showa 28
1952Showa 27
1951Showa 26
1950Showa 25
1949Showa 24
1948Showa 23
1947Showa 22
1946Showa 21
1945Showa 20
1944Showa 19
1943Showa 18
1942Showa 17
1941Showa 16
1940Showa 15
1939Showa 14
1938Showa 13
1937Showa 12
1936Showa 11
1935Showa 10
1934Showa 9
1933Showa 8
1932Showa 7
1931Showa 6
1930Showa 5
1929Showa 4
1928Showa 3
1927Showa 2
1926Showa 1 (from December 25th)

 


 

Taisho Era (Emperor Showa) – From 12th July 1912 to 24th December 1926

Western CalendarJapanese Calendar
1926Taisho 15 (until December 24th)
1925Taisho 14
1924Taisho 13
1923Taisho 12
1922Taisho 11
1921Taisho 10
1920Taisho 9
1919Taisho 8
1918Taisho 7
1917Taisho 6
1916Taisho 5
1915Taisho 4
1914Taisho 3
1913Taisho 2
1912Taisho 1 (from July 30th)

 


 

Meiji Era (Emperor Meiji) – From 23rd October 1968 to 29th July 1912

Western CalendarJapanese Calendar
1912Meiji 45 (until July 29th)
1911Meiji 44
1910Meiji 43
1909Meiji 42
1908Meiji 41
1907Meiji 40
1906Meiji 39
1905Meiji 38
1904Meiji 37
1903Meiji 36
1902Meiji 35
1901Meiji 34
1900Meiji 33
(…)(…)
1868Meiji 1 (from October 23rd)

 

Japanese-Imperial-era Japanese Imperial era

source: Wikipedia

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