May 1st, 2019 was the first day of the Reiwa era. Japanese eras change whenever there is a new emperor, and former emperor Akihito was granted permission (yes, even emperors need permission) to abdicate the throne to his son Naruhito for health reasons. Because most eras change due to the death of an emperor, era changes are generally not celebrated but this time was different. May 1st was a national holiday (Coronation Day) and families were out enjoying the Spring weather and looking optimistically to the future of the Reiwa era. Emperor Naruhito became the 126th consecutive Emperor of Japan, dating back to over 600BC.

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