It’s a new Era. No, really! On May 1st the new Reiwa Era ( 令和 ) officially started , after the (now emeritus) Emperor Akihito stepped down the throne and his son, then Crown Prince, Naruhito assumed the imperial position.
It’s a sign of change in many ways. In 2016 history was made in the shape of a heartfelt discourse in which the Emperor kind of bypassed the government and directly addressed the people of Japan, pointing at his old age and hinting a desire to abdicate. This triggered a change in the law, massively supported by the Japanese people, which ended up in said abdication just two days ago.
That’s a big sign itself. Japan is changing. For the better.
This new era, Reiwa, translates as Beautiful Harmony according to the government. The name sends a message of ever growing culture originated by the people living in peace.
ALL the people I hope. This is what I wish Reiwa will bring:
Women’s and LGBTQ+ Rights.
Women and LGBTQ+ people are a valuable, undeniable part of society and they need to have the same rights. I’m not only talking about basic human rights – physical health, reproductive rights, marriage, mental health, access to a safe, equal job, etc- but also I would like to see more women and LGBT+ people being part of the government, and being granted the same access to education. Not to mention being able to occupy the same space as men, either in the Imperial Family or the sumo ring.
Erradication of all forms Racism. Even the kind that makes you a celebrity.
Not only obvious racism (and the perpetuation of black face), but I would like Reiwa to also bring an end to the apparently “positive” segregation of some half-Japanese people. The fact that Japanese people of mixed race are often either terribly discriminated or shamelessly elevated (or even fetishized depending of which traits you got from who) belongs, in my opinion, in the past. Being “hafu” in Japan is not easy.
Hopefully from now on, mixed and non Asian Japanese people will continue to become more and more common and therefore (hopefully) accepted and treated exactly like everyone else.
Lots have been written (me too) about the tourism boom and the impact it’s having on Japanese infrastructures and lives. It is only expected to grow-faster than the countermeasures are being implemented or even created. Fixing this issue is not only in Japan’s hands but also in outbound tourists’ hands!! It’s necessary to spread the affluence of people outside of Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara, and promote tourism in the rest of beautiful Japan. For the country’s sake.
Easier conditions and recognition of non-Japanese workers.
With the new Specified Skill Visas, Japan now welcomes 500.000 new foreign workers under a new college degree-free work permit. It may not look like a lot compared to the 126 Million Japanese people currently living in the world, but this small drop is already making waves.
Foreign workers are still not so common so it’s not surprising that they face some added difficulties. From racism to unfair conditions including troubles to find a suitable place to live, this sector of the workforce needs to be granted security and recognition during and after working in Japan.
Ban of single use plastics and implement new Eco-politics.
If you’ve ever been to Japan, you might have noticed that service and attention to detail are incredible! No expense is spared – from covering your paper bag with another plastic bag to protect it from the rain to disposable anything (literally A-NY-THING), it’s all about the client’s comfort. Even if they have trouble managing the aftermath.Unfortunately the Earth is dying and we have roughly 10 years to save half the species on it and grant a suitable environment for our children and grandchildren to basically exist. So shopping comforts should come second.
Japan needs not only to follow the example of other countries and stop relaying in plastic so much, but to educate and raise awareness on the matter. Unfortunately we don’t really have time to lose. None of us.
I must add that, while at it, it would be great if they could ban ivory once and for all.
These are the five points I wish the new Era will bring to our lives. It’s an ongoing battle in which we can all do our part, and I will always try my best to do mine.⭐️
What do you wish Reiwa Era will bring to Japan and the world?
Love from Japan,
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From the bottom of my bunny heart, thank you!