By Barrier Free Japan
April 1st 2019
The name of the ‘New Era’- when the current Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30th 2019, ending the ‘Heisei’ era and the new Emperor Naruhito will ascend the throne, and the ‘Reiwa’ ‘令和’ era will begin on May 1st 2019.
” ‘TV commentators struggled to offer a direct translation, but the two characters, taken from the eighth-century work Manyoshu, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry, can be read as “fortunate” or “auspicious”, and “peace” or “harmony.” ‘
Barrier Free Japan thought it was worth noting that the announcement of the new era was broadcast live with someone signing for the deaf. Although some noted that the signing for ‘Reiwa’ was closer to ‘Meiwa’. Said one Facebook user, someone who uses and works as a signer of Japanese Sign Language:
“Japanese government announced the new era name. However, the JSL interpreter next to chief cabinet secretary made a mistake. The new era name is “Rei-Wa” with two Chinerse characters. However, his figerspelling [sic] showed it as Mei-Wa in the first showing. The TV scene would be reproduced many times in the future and many Deaf Japanese people might find the mistake again and again though hearing people would not notice the situation.”
So if you have trouble understanding the kanji now, imagine what it’s like to try to understand it via Japanese Sign Language.