Encoding of character for new Japanese era name after Heisei

Doug Ewell via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Fri Jun 2 14:03:36 CDT 2017

> Anyway, since emperor Akihito (明仁), the era starting in 1989 is no
> longer named after the emperor, but is Heisei (平成) "Peace everywhere".
> This already occured in the past on the Ningo system. There's no
> absolute requirement to change the era name even if there's a new
> Emperor named.

The Wikipedia article is instructive here (sorry, the French version
doesn't seem to have the same information):


Since 1868 Japan has adhered to a system of "one reign, one era name"
(一世一元). The era name is determined upon accession of the emperor
and is unrelated to his birth name.

The emperor continues to be known by his birth name until his death, at
which point he becomes known by the name of his era instead (so Emperor
Hirohito became Emperor Shōwa upon his death in 1989).

There are no indications that the abdication of an emperor, as opposed
to his death, would cause this system to be suspended.

Unicode does not have an extensive history of encoding "placeholder"
characters without knowing what they will actually be. This is probably
a Good Thing.

The four existing characters at U+337x are square compatibility
characters, with decompositions to unified ideographs. So, whatever era
name is chosen for the new emperor (probably Crown Prince Naruhito),
there is a near-guarantee that it will be immediately representable in
Unicode using normal ideographs.

A new square compatibility character, if necessary, can be encoded after
the era name is chosen. It might be fast-tracked at that time, as the
Euro sign was, but there is no emergency about this and no reason to
invent any new encoding procedures or waive any existing ones.
Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, US | ewellic.org

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