End of Japan’s Heisei era

A monarchy that is the oldest in the world

On Wednesday (May 1), Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed his father, Emperor Akihito, to the Chrysanthemum Throne and ring in the 248th era Reiwa.
On Wednesday (May 1), Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed his father, Emperor Akihito, to the Chrysanthemum Throne and ring in the 248th era Reiwa.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO • When Crown Prince Naruhito assumes the throne on Wednesday, he will become the 126th emperor in the world's oldest monarchy stretching back to Emperor Jimmu's reign in 660BC.

This lineage is semi-mythical: Emperor Jimmu, according to Japanese mythology, is a descendant of the revered sun goddess Amaterasu. He is recorded as Japan's first ruler in the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles Of Japan) that is seen by historians as the most complete record of ancient Japan in existence today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 28, 2019, with the headline 'A monarchy that is the oldest in the world'. Subscribe