Japan: a few hours ahead of the anticipated generation change on the imperial throne

With the abdication of Emperor Akihito on Tuesday 30 April 2019, Japan is preparing to change emperor. His son Naruhito will succeed him Wednesday 1er May, opening a new "era". How do the Japanese, whose time remains punctuated by the reigns of their emperors, live this change of times?

From our correspondent in Japan,

Akihito is the first emperor of modern Japan to abdicate since the withdrawal of one of his predecessors two centuries ago. And he had to pass a special law to allow him to retire at the age of 85 years, in the 31th year of his reign, the Heisei Era.

For two centuries, a change of era in Japan comes at the death of an emperor in an atmosphere of sadness. This time, it is different, the Japanese change of emperor and enter the first year of their new era Reiwa, in a good mood.

This change of era is accompanied by an unpublished holiday of 10 consecutive days. And, incredible but true, some say to themselves disaffected Than their traditional " golden week ", A series of holidays, has been lengthened, running from April 27 to May 6 included.

An important event for the country

These 45% disgruntled indeed say that 10 vacation days at once, it's too much. The Japanese do not usually take long holidays. On 18 days of leave granted on average to employees last year, only nine days were taken.

Banks are closed, but most businesses remain open. And a majority of Japanese take advantage of these days off to travel abroad or in their archipelago.

For the Japanese, this change of emperor and imperial era is however an important event. Why did the government decide to give them an extended "golden week"?

The imperial family, a political issue

The imperial family is part of the decor. According to a survey, the vast majority of Japanese say they experience " a positive feeling Or respect for Emperor Akihito. But 22% express indifference, and the youngest are almost totally ignorant of the imperial family, to the name of the next Emperor Naruhito.

Some suspect the nationalist right, close to religious groups related to Shinto, the first religion of the Japanese, to have had the idea of ​​this unprecedented leave to return, as before the Second World War, by intense media hype, to a cult shinto centered on the emperor.

The veneration of the imperial house, a valuation of the family more than the individual. Before the war, Akihito's father, Hirohito, had been deified during his lifetime. The current emperor is considered in Shinto as a kind of pope. The majority of the Japanese say they are not believers.

source: http://www.rfi.fr/asia-pacific/20190429-japon-trone-imperial-akihito-nahurito-change-generation