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:

go_19x19

Let’s Play “Go”! – Terms and Strategies

In our previous posts about Go, we learned that Go is a game which originated in China (Go History) and we also learned its basic rules (Go Rules). In this post, we will learn about strategies and other terms in Go. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see […]

Read Article

3122501695_48f068dc27_b

47 Ronin

Have you seen the movie titled 47 Ronin?  Would you believe me if I tell you that they were real?  Who are they and why are they so famous among Japanese people? What is a Ronin? A ronin refers to a lordless or masterless samurai.  A samurai becomes a ronin when they loss in battle […]

Read Article

FukiyaNisi

The Fukiya Village in Okayama, Japan – Part 4 –

What to see in Fukiya surrounding area (3) [The Nishie residence] This house is located on the opposite side of the Hirokane residence and there is no bus service to/from the village centre in the off season, and even in the high season, a cyclic bus goes there only once a day. However, a bus […]

Read Article

Castle

Takahashi in Okayama, Japan -Part 1-

If you go to the Fukiya village by public transport, you need to go to Takahashi, which is also a lovely place to visit. There are old samurai residences, a temple with Japanese garden, and above all, a castle on the mountain. The name of the city is “Takahashi”, but the train station is “Bicchuu […]

Read Article

4881450065_fe7f37024d_z

Playing with Flowers in Cards: Hanafuda 2

As we learned in our first post about Hanafuda (花札), they are Japanese playing cards that are used to play a number of games. The name comes from two Japanese words hana (花) which means flowers and fuda (札) which can mean cards. Some call it “flower cards” in English. In this post, we will […]

Read Article

Peeling mikan

New Year Holidays in Japan : Mikan

Mikan is one of the typical fruits in Japanese winter. When my siblings and I were ever-hungry children, my mother always bought a box with 15 kg (approx. 530 oz, 33 lb) of mikan in winter. We could easily eat up 15 mikan each at one sitting. I suppose the Engel’s coefficient of my family […]

Read Article

School in Takahashi

Takahashi in Okayama, Japan -Part 2-

The Bicchuu Matsuyama Castle in Takahashi city(2) When I reached the top, I found a tea server. “Bicchuu Uji-cha”, a local tea was served and it was free. “Thank god, I can cool my throat”, I thought, but surprisingly it was steaming hot! I didn’t want to waste my tea, so I waited until it […]

Read Article

midori no hi

Golden Week – Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day

Continuing our feature about Japan’s Golden Week, this post will feature the second and third holidays, the Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day. Constitution Memorial Day The Constitution Memorial Day, or Kenpō Kinenbi (憲法記念日) as it is known in Japan, is a national holiday in Japan that is celebrated every May 3. The date signifies […]

Read Article

sumo heya

Sumo: More Than Just a Martial Art – Professional Sumo

As noted in our previous posts about sumo, it is a Japanese style of wrestling and Japan’s national sport. It originated in ancient times as a performance to entertain the Shinto deities. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June […]

Read Article

Shogi_osho

Shogi, The General’s Board Game – Shogi Rules and Strategies

This will be the last part of the Shogi series. In case you missed the first posts about shogi, here they are: History and Origin, Shogi Pieces, Board and Gameplay. In this post, we will learn more about the shogi rules and strategies. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑