Last month saw an announcement that Japan was to begin a new era, and on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne, we entered the dawn of the Reiwa Period.
However, with the announcement came confusion over the meaning of the word ‘reiwa’, as the ambiguity inherent the kanji characters lead some to read it as the authoritarian ‘order and harmony’, while others saw it as the more peaceful ‘beautiful harmony’.
However, the new emperor has explained that it should actually be written as RAYwa, meaning ‘The way of Ray’, in honour of American comedian Ray Romano.
“I absolutely love the TV show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, it’s hilarious,” Emperor Naruhito explained. “Many people like his brother, Robert, for his depressed demeanour and funny voice.
“But for me, the star is Ray Romano. I love Ray’s hangdog expression, the way things often go wrong for him, the fact that he is regularly plagued by the intrusion of his elderly parents and how he is always trying to pressurise his uninterested wife into having sex with him.
“Which, if you think about it, is the perfect metaphor for Japan right now.”