62 per cent of Japanese favourably accept new era name Reiwa

PHOTO: The Japan News/Asia News Network

Sixty-two per cent of respondents favourably accept the new era name of Reiwa, while 31 per cent are having difficulty feeling close to it, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted on Monday and Tuesday in response to the announcement of the name.

The survey also showed that those who answered that the start of the new era on May 1 would change the atmosphere of Japanese society was 31 per cent, less than half of the 64 per cent who replied that it would not.

When those who answered that they favourably accept Reiwa were asked about the degree to which they like it, 33 per cent said "very much" and 29 per cent replied "somewhat."

Looking at the rate of those who favourably accept Reiwa by gender, 68 per cent were women, higher than 56 per cent for men. By age, those 18 to 29 and those in their 40s were in the 50 per cent range, while those in their 30s and in their 50s or older were in the 60 per cent range.

In a survey with the same questions and options conducted in January 1989 when the Heisei era started, a total of 61 per cent favourably accepted Heisei - the results were 27 per cent for "very much" and 34 per cent for "somewhat" - while 33 per cent said it was hard to feel a sense of closeness to it.

The rates of "likability" and "difficult feeling closeness" with Heisei and Reiwa were thus almost the same.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained on Monday that Reiwa carries the connotation that "culture will be born and grow among people who care for each other in a beautiful manner."

The rate of those who think that this connotation is suitable as an ideal for the people was 82 per cent. Respondents who think that Reiwa is easy to write reached 78 per cent and 76 per cent think it is easy to read.

Reiwa, which was derived from the "Manyoshu," Japan's oldest poetry anthology, is the first era name sourced from classical Japanese literature, as far as it is possible to confirm.

Eighty-eight per cent have a high opinion of Reiwa being derived from Japanese literature.

50 per cent to use both Reiwa, Western

Asked whether they will use the Reiwa year or the Western year in their daily lives from May 1, 50 per cent said they will use both almost equally, followed by 24 per cent who chose the Western year and 22 per cent who chose Reiwa.

The rate of those who support the continuation of the era system was 82 per cent. However, compared to the high rate of those who want to use both the Japanese and Western years, the number of those who want to mainly use the Japanese year was small.

Among people who want to use both, this response was given in the 50 per cent and 60 per cent ranges for those in their 50s or younger. For those in their 60s, this answer was in the range of 40 per cent.

These figures were the highest given for any answer in these age groups. Although for those in their 70s or older, almost the same high rates of answers were given for both using the Japanese year, and using it and the Western year.

About 40 per cent of those in their 70s or older replied that they will use the Japanese year, followed by about 30 per cent of those in their 60s, in the range of 10 per cent for those in their 30s to 50s, and less than 10 per cent for those 18 to 29.

Among those who support the continuation of the era system, 53 per cent answered that they will use both the Japanese and Western years, while 25 per cent chose only the Japanese year.

The previous survey on March 22-24 asked people which they were using more, the Japanese year or the Western year. Forty-one per cent said the former, 33 per cent said both and 25 per cent said the Western year.

In the latest survey, following the announcement of Reiwa, those who replied that they will use both reached 50 per cent, indicating that the number of people using both could rise further.

Asked whether they think it is better to use the Japanese year or the Western year for dates in public documents used by the central government or municipalities, 36 per cent said that it is better to use both together, 33 per cent said the Japanese year and 26 per cent chose the Western year.

In another question, the approval rating of the Abe Cabinet was 53 per cent, slightly higher than the 50 per cent of the previous survey on March 22 to 24. The disapproval rating dropped to 32 per cent from 35 per cent in the previous survey.

The latest survey was conducted by polling 936 households on landlines and 1,376 mobile phone users who were sampled with a random digit dialing method. All respondents were eligible voters 18 or older. Of them, 1,073 people - 502 on landlines and 571 on mobile phones - gave valid answers.