On Monday, the Japanese government revealed that the name of Japan’s new era starting on May 1st will be “Reiwa (令和).”
This name is cited from the poetry in “Man’yoshu“, which is the oldest existing edited collection of Japanese poetry and this particular poetry brings up plum blossoms saying:
“Shojun wa Rei-getsu nishite, ki yoku kaze *yawaragi, “ume (plum) no hana (blossom)“, wa kyozen no ko wo hiraki ran wa haigo no ko wo kaorasu.”
*the Kanji character of “yawaragi” reads “wa” in another way.
The meaning of this poetry is, “In the refreshing wind which softly breezes in the harmonious month at the beginning of spring, plum blossoms are beautifully blooming as if a beautiful woman is putting a face powder on in front of a mirror, while the feast is surrounded with the fragrance like a scent bag that noble people put on.”
Our prime minister Shinzo Abe, has talked about the meaning behind this word for the coming new era:
“Just as plum blossoms that bloom brilliantly as a sign of spring, everyone can bloom with a hope for tomorrow. That’s what we wish for Japan to be, and that’s why we have chosen this word.”
He also appeared on the NHK evening news on Monday, when he explained the importance of Japanese traditions and spirit along with Japanese blossoms and culture.
Plum blossoms, which appeared in the poetry from which “Reiwa” is cited, have the most wonderful scent among all kinds of Rosaceae family plants including fruits, cherry blossoms, apples, pears and even almonds. This is one of the first scent that tells people “Spring is coming.”
Regarding the scent bag which also appeared in this poetry, it is a bag stuffed with Santalum album or Eupatorium japonicum. Even since 7~8C, these kinds of plants have been attracting people in this country.
The “Man’yoshu” includes not only Eupatorium japonicum, but also Japan’s seven flowers of spring such as Dianthus and Patrinia scabiosifolia. This shows the culture of enjoying flowers to compose a poetry originates from this collection.
Now, the flower industry is going towards the big annual event, Mother’s Day, when Dianthus like Carnation gets so popular. There may be some opportunities to advertise Dianthus with this new era’s meaning.
After the announcement of the new era’s name, a lot of “Reiwa” phenomena have been seen such as the special edition of newspapers is selling at a high price, or the made up character “Reiwa-chan” has been viral on twitter.
It is needless to say that “Man’yoshu” has suddenly got so popular that many are being sold out, but we hope flowers in that collection also attract people’s attention and hence Japan will be cheered up by beautiful flowers with a lot of flower lovers.
Original article written by Mr. Murata,
Translated by S. Yamamoto