The departure of Akihito, the first emperor to abdicate in more than 200 years, officially ends the Heisei era. Throughout his three-decade rule, which was marked by lasting peace but also marred by economic tumult and national disasters, Akihito sought to reach out to the Japanese public more than previous monarchs. “I’m full of gratitude,” said one visitor to Tuesday’s ceremony at the Imperial Palace.
What’s the next stage of history for Japan? Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne tomorrow — bringing with him the new Reiwa, or “beautiful harmony,” era.
Don’t miss OZY’s Flashback about how Akihito brought Japan into the future.