Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

The Japanese Era Calendar Scheme

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/11 Traditional Culture ,

If you’ve been staying in Japan for some time now, then you’ve probably come across some government forms or some sort of application form that need filling up. You’ll notice that in some forms wherein you need to fill up a date, the format is quite different. That’s because some require you to use the Japanese era calendar scheme (wareki).

The Wareki (Japanese calendar) scheme

Here’s a brief description of the Japanese era calendar scheme from Wikipedia:

The Japanese era name (年号 nengō?, “year name”, transliterated Chinese: niánhào), also known as gengō (元号?), is the first of the two elements that identify years in the Japanese era calendar scheme. The second element, a number, indicates the number of years since the era began. For example, the current era, “Heisei“, began in 1989 AD/CE, so the current year in this scheme is “Heisei 26″.

Here an example of a form using the Japanese era format. The date is in the upper right corner of the form.

Visa Application Form: Itinerary of Stay

Visa Application Form: Itinerary of Stay

What really differs in format is only the year part. The months and days are expressed the same way as the Gregorian calendar. As an example, the year 2000 using the Japanese format is Heisei 12.

It’s easy to convert from gregorian calendar year format to the Japanese era calendar format. All you have to do is to find the first year of the era for the year you want to convert. (You could find the list of era names here) Then, subtract one and then subtract from the year to convert. Sounds confusing, but it’s really simple.

Example

Year to convert: 2000

Japanese Era for year 2000: Heisei

The first year for the era Heisei: 1989

So from the example above, 1989 – 1 = 1988. Then 2000 – 1988 = 12. So, the Japanese era format would be Heisei 12.

To convert from Japanese calendar scheme to Gregorian, all you have to do is add the year to the start of the period, then deduct 1. See example below.

Japanese Year to convert: Heisei12

The first year for the era Heisei: 1989

So, the computation would be 1989 + 12 = 2001. Then subtract one from 2001, which equals 2000.

A few more comments

The Japanese mostly adapt or use the Gregorian calendar scheme, so foreigners won’t really find it that hard to adjust when it comes to dealing with dates. The Japanese calender era scheme is mostly only used in formal documents, such as visa application forms, government related application forms, or forms found in the hospital.

For people in the IT industry who have dealt with Japanese dates, the Japanese calendar era scheme makes it especially hard for maintenance of IT systems. Since the era scheme is mostly based on the period of the ruling emperor, once a new emperor emerges, the systems need to be updated to adapt to the new period. This does not only apply to IT systems, but also to paper based forms, since the forms will need to be reprinted with the latest period information.

Personally, one advantage of the Japanese calendar era scheme, culturally, is it gives you an idea on who the ruling emperor is at a certain period in time. When you read history books in Japan, the years are usually stated using the era calendar scheme, so this gives you an idea, as to the period a certain event could have happened.

The following two tabs change content below.

art

Latest posts by art (see all)

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Hakutou

Momo (peach) as a divine fruit

Peach Peach is one of the major local productions of Okayama. Although it had been consumed by people from a long time ago, it is said it was rather an ornament than a food because its taste wasn’t so good. In Meiji era (1868–1912), when a new, sweeter and bigger breed came from China, many […]

Read Article

vacation

Golden Week – Shōwa Day

Tomorrow in Japan is Shōwa Day. It is the start of the so-called Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku). Often abbreviated as GW, Golden Week is a term applied to a series of public holidays between April and May. Golden Week The current holidays celebrated during this period are: April 29 – Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa […]

Read Article

Hinoe uma

Jyuuni-shi : Chinese Zodiac in Japan -Part 1- (For age and year)

Jyuuni-shi : Chinese Zodiac in Japan The word “Eto” means a combination of the ten Celestial and the Chinese Zodiac, but in Japan it is quite often used to refer only to Zodiac. “Jyuuni-shi” is the correct word for the Chinese Zodiac. …Hey, I didn’t know that! I had believed “Eto” meant the same as […]

Read Article

Family crest of the Tokugawa

Mystery tour : Muramasa , a cursed blade – Part 2 –

Muramasa (2) Blessed swords for hostile forces against Tokugawa If “Muramasa” blades really harm the Tokugawa, they are very fortunate weapons for enemies. Nobushige Sanada (1567 – 1615), much more commonly known as Yukimura Sanada, who was against the Tokugawa, is said that he carried “Muramasa” sword(s) with him. There is also a legend that […]

Read Article

don!

Pyoon! Nyan! Pachi! – Learning the Japanese Onomatopoeia 1

Onomatopoeias are always present in any language in the world. The hiss of the snake, the clanking of the bells, the drizzling of the rain – the words in italics are just some of the onomatopoeias that can be found in an English dictionary. The Japanese language too is full of onomatopoeias. Some of them […]

Read Article

eating utensils

Chopsticks in the Japanese Way: History and Etiquette

Lohb’s photo in Flickr Can you eat using your bare hands? Or you need spoon and fork? Or perhaps a knife? Well for me, sometimes I do prefer eating using my hands and I am lucky there is no issue with it in our country. We used to eat using spoon and fork but oftentimes […]

Read Article

vacation

Golden Week – Furikae Kyūjitsu and Golden Week History

Today is the last day of the Golden Week this year in Japan. For this year, this day has no particular celebration or holiday. Today is just a Compensation/Substitute Holiday (振替休日 Furikae Kyūjitsu) that is observed when any of the Golden Week holidays fall on Sunday. Past Observances of Furikae Kyūjitsu Furikae Kyūjitsu of the […]

Read Article

Japanese tally five

Counting: Japanese tally and gesture

The “Correct” counting method in Japan How do you write when you count numbers of items? I know tally marks which are used in many countries, but Japanese people don’t use them. Instead, a certain Kanji character is used. The character means “correct”. As you can see, this consists of five lines. On counting, it […]

Read Article

"Tachi" key ring

Katana : Japanese traditional sword – Part 2 –

Katana : Japanese sword (2) Japanese swords are famous as samurai’s weapons, but was it impossible for common people like farmers to own them?   Japanese swords for civilians If you have seen an old film “Shichinin no samurai” (Seven samurai) by Akira Kurosawa, you might think that Japanese farmers in the old times haven’t […]

Read Article

tenugui

Tenugui: More than Just a Hand Towel

A tenugui (手拭い) in its simplest definition is a traditional Japanese hand towel made of cotton. It is usually about 35 by 90 centimeters in size. It is typically plain woven and though there are also plain designs, it has usually repeating patterns printed/dyed on its surface. But a tenugui is not just a plain […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑