Special Issue Heisei – English abstract
An era is coming to an end in Japan. On April 30, 2019, Emperor Akihito handed the chrysanthemum throne to his son Naruhito. His ceremonial enthronement began on 1 May 2019 and marked a new era under the motto Reiwa. The Heisei epoch – 1989 to 2019 – and the events of the last thirty years move into the realm of historicity.
Heisei had its share of tragic events: The earthquake in Kôbe, the sarin gas attack by the neo-religious group AUM in the center of the Tôkyô metropolis, and finally the threefold disaster in the northeast of the country. Japanese literature has extensively documented the Heisei era and its historic occurences. Time-diagnostic writings were especially popular, creating numerous literary representations of the last three decades.
The "Special Issue Heisei 1989-2019" gives insights into the literary and cultural life of the past years. It aims to say goodbye, while also giving a glance into the future under the new banner of Reiwa. The focus, therefore, is on the zero nendai and the 2000s – with hitherto in the West barely known writers such as Henmi Yô, Shiraishi Kazufumi, Murata Sayaka and Furuichi Noritoshi.