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Japan's Reiwa era

Ancient tradition carries forward with Japan's new era

System of naming periods has deep cultural roots dating back over 1,000 years

Crown Prince Naruhito, left, will ascend the throne in about a month, marking the beginning of a new imperial era. 

TOKYO -- After 30 years on the throne, Japanese Emperor Akihito will abdicate in about one month. That will mean the end of the current Heisei era, and the country is waiting with bated breath to discover this Monday what the next era will be called.

The system of era names has deep roots, stretching back more than 1,000 years in Japan. The names offer a shorthand for defined periods of history, and social commentators have been reflecting on how the current era will be remembered.

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