Japan’s unique calendar system, known as Kohki (national calendar year), is based on the founding of Japan 2,500 years ago by Kan’yamato Iwarebiko, known as the Emperor Jimmu, in 660 BC.
Emperors in Japan are never referred to by their given name, but are simply referred to as “His Majesty the Emperor” (often shortened to just “His Majesty”). In written documents the Emperor is usually referred to as “The Reigning Emperor.”
The Kohki years started around 1872 during the reign of the 122nd Emperor, Mutsuhito, known as Emperor Meiji. The Meiji Era lasted until 1912.
The Shōwa era was the longest running era, starting in 1926 and ending with the death of Hirohito (Akihito’s father) in 1989. He is now referred to by his posthumous name, Emperor Shōwa.
Including the current Emperor Naruhito, Japan has had 126 Emperors. The new Emperor’s reign started May 1, 2019 when his father abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne. The new era of his reign is known as Reiwa
「令和」and 2019 is Reiwa 1 as of May 1, 2019.
Converting Kohki years to Western years is often a confusing task. To simplify this you can use the Japanese Calendar Conversion table on iSearch’s website by clicking here.