I was looking at the heisei wiki page and I wondered how you would refer to future dates in the japanese calendar?

For example would 'The 2020 olympics' be '[平成]{へいせい}32[年]{ねん}のオリンピック'? Is there some standard?

If this was on a web page and an era change occurred would you need to update it?

1 Answer 1


平成 will last until the Emperor's death. So, until that happens, every future year is stated as 平成. If he were to pass away, then there would be a new name decided upon, and that year would be the final year of 平成 (up to day of his death) and the [元年]{がんねん} of the next era (starting from the day after his death). Once the change happens, obviously any dates that go past the end of 平成 would have to be updated.

For international events, though, there is a tendency to use [西暦]{せいれき}...

  • So does that mean there is no stable way to talk about the future in the Japanese calendar?
    – Totoro
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 15:21
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    @Totoro Wikipedia seems to agree with what execjosh is saying. It says "未来に関しては、現在の元号を延長する。なおこれにより、年数は3桁以上になりうる。たとえば、2100年は平成112年である[3]。" and "未来の年代を正確に表せない。たとえば、昭和50年代には「昭和70年」などとする資料がある[2]。過去に発行された文書に現れる未来の和暦は、改元しても改定されないのが普通なので、現実には同じ日付に対し複数の元号表現がありうる。"
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 15:40
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    The next day of Sep 2, 1752 is Sep 14, 1752 in UK. There are no stable way to talk about the future...
    – jovanni
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 15:56
  • Thanks @snailboat, I know reading the Japanese pages are better, they are just hard :)
    – Totoro
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 16:06
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    Yes, there is something known as the [平成100年問題]{へいせいひゃくねんもんだい} and [昭和100年問題]{しょうわひゃくねんもんだい}, which are similar to the Y2K problem. Many Japanese gov't and financial institutions choose to use [元号]{げんごう} over [西暦]{せいれき} for their dates. As such, this has spilled over into computer systems (which have assumed two digits)...
    – execjosh
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 14:54

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