Say hello to Reiwa-chan, who comes in many beautiful forms.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito will abdicate the throne and bring an end to the Heisei period on 30 April this year, and as part of formal preparations in the lead-up to this historic moment, the Japanese government announced on Monday that the new era will be named “Reiwa”, which translates to “Beautiful Harmony”.

Speaking to the press after the announcement was made, Prime Minister Abe revealed that the new era takes its name from a poem about plum blossoms in the Manyoshu, the oldest printed collection of Japanese poetry, which was compiled in the 8th century.

As the news broke around the country, and people discussed the implications of the new name, the nation’s artists wasted no time interpreting the title of the upcoming era in their own way: by anthropomorphising it into an anime character.

“The new era name sounds lovely so I anthropomorphised it. Reiwa chan.”

Reiwa chan began appearing online within hours of the announcement, showing how quickly the artists were able to transform the new name into a character, with plum blossoms becoming a feature in many of the designs. 

One common feature seen in many of the illustrations was the Japanese kimono, which was a nod to both the country’s centuries-old practice of using era names, and the fact that the last kanji character in the new era can be traditionally read as “Japan”.

▼ We’d love to see a plum-shaped hairpin and obi waistband like this in real life!

▼ Artists saw Reiwa-chan as an elegant woman…

▼ An adorable little character…

▼ A rock and roll star…

▼ And a fashion-forward stylish woman who embodies both old and new Japan.

▼ Others chose to welcome in the new era with a male personification known as Reiwa-kun.

▼ This sketch of Reiwa beautifully combines aspects of old and new Japan in one image.

Despite being born into the public’s consciousness on the date of the announcement on 1 April, Reiwa won’t actually be personifying the era until 1 May, when the new era is officially set to begin.

Hopefully then we’ll see more activity from artists around Japan, and maybe a new song to celebrate the occasion from the anime porn game that brought us the Beautiful Harmony theme song.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@muku_apupop
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