April 1 (UPI) -- Japan's new imperial era will be named "Reiwa," the Asian nation announced Monday as it readies for its first imperial succession in some 30 years.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga heralded the christening of Japan's next era by lifting up a board displaying the word written on it in kanji characters before a crowd of people gathered at the prime minister's office.
The word, taken from "Manyoshu," the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, is composed of two characters, "rei" and "wa," which roughly translate to "auspicious" or "orderly" and "harmony" or "peace."
This is the first time that the era's name has come from a Japanese text and not a Chinese one, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government chose the kanji characters to represent "a culture being born and nurtured by people coming together beautifully."
"I hope the new era will take root among the public and be widely accepted by the people," Abe said.
Once the new era begins, the word "Reiwa" will become ubiquitous to Japanese life, appearing on coins, newspapers and official documents until Naruhito's reign as emperor is succeeded, the BBC reported.
Naruhito's father, Akihito, is the first emperor in two centuries to abdicate the throne, which he said was due to old age and health impeding his abilities to carry out his royal duties.
Akihito, 83, became emperor Jan. 8, 1989.
Naruhito, 59, will begin his reign May 1.
Japan has had 247 era names since the system was instituted in 645, and there has been only one era per emperor since the Meiji era of 1868-1912.