Happy 11th Birthday


Happy Birthday Dad!

My father was born in the year 8 and this is the year 19. A little quick math shows that he must be 11 years old.

The date system in Japan resets whenever a new emperor takes the throne. It is currently the 19th year of Heisei (平成). My father was born in the 8th year of Showa (昭和), the previous Emperor. So he isn’t really 11. If you really want to figure it out, maybe I left enough clues last year.

The first year of any era is referred to as gannen (元年) rather than year one. Heisei started in 1989, coincidentally the year of my first trip to Japan. Here are the most recent eras:

平成 Heisei 1989-20??
昭和 Showa 1926-1989
大正 Taisho 1912-1926
明治 Meiji 1868-1912

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of folks born in both Taisho and Meiji eras. All of them are quick to comment on how young my pa is.


3 Responses to “Happy 11th Birthday”

  1. Happy -26th Birthday « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] Happy -26th Birthday My younger sister was born in year 45 and it is now year 19; clearly she must be -26 years old. I hope I don’t get in trouble for mention a woman’s age. For an explanation of the screwy numbers please read about my father’s 11th birthday. […]

  2. sunkissd1 Says:

    Does the Japanese culture have animal years like the other Asian cultures…ie: the year of the chicken? My Vietnamese friend would say things like “you were born in the year of the rooster”, but in another conversation would make reference that this was the year of the pig (or whatever the animal of the year was).

  3. びっくり Says:

    The animal-based zodiac is originally from China. We use it here as well. It is now the year of the boar (or pig, if you wish).

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