Shōwa (1926–1989)

The Shōwa era (Japanese: 昭和, Hepburn: Shōwa) refers to the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) from December 25, 1926 until his death on January 7, 1989.[1] It was preceded by the Taishō period.

The pre-1945 and post-war Shōwa periods are almost completely different states: the pre-1945 Shōwa era (1926–1945) concerns the Empire of Japan, while post-1945 Shōwa era (1945–1989) is the State of Japan.

During the pre-1945 period, Japan moved into political totalitarianism, ultranationalism and fascism culminating in Japan's invasion of China in 1937. This was part of a global period of social upheavals and conflicts such as the Great Depression and World War II.

Defeat in the Second World War brought about radical change in Japan. For the first and only time in its history, Japan was occupied by foreign powers; this occupation lasted seven years. Allied occupation brought forth sweeping democratic reforms. It led to the formal end of the emperor's status as a demigod and the transformation of Japan from a form of mixed constitutional and absolute monarchy[2] to a Constitutional monarchy with a liberal democracy. In 1952, with the Treaty of San Francisco, Japan became a sovereign nation again. The post-war Shōwa period is characterized by the Japanese economic miracle.

The Shōwa era was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor. Emperor Shōwa was both the longest-lived and longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor, as well as the longest-reigning monarch in the world at that time.[3] On 7 January 1989, Crown Prince Akihito succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father Emperor Shōwa. This marked the start of the Heisei period.


The two kanji characters in Shōwa (昭和) were from a passage of the Chinese Book of Documents: 百姓昭明,協和萬邦 (Translated: "[T]he people (of his domain), ... all became brightly intelligent. (Finally), he united and harmonized the myriad states.") From this same quotation, Japan also adopted the era name Meiwa (明和) during the Edo period in the late-18th century. There were two other candidates at the time - Dōwa (同和) and Genka (元化).

The term could be roughly understood as meaning "enlightened peace" or in some interpretations "radiant Japan".

In his enthronement address which was read to the people, the Emperor referenced this era name:

"I have visited the battlefields of the Great War in France. In the presence of such devastation, I understand the blessing of peace and the necessity of concord among nations."[4]

Other Languages
العربية: فترة شووا
Bân-lâm-gú: Chiau-hô
čeština: Období Šówa
Deutsch: Shōwa-Zeit
español: Era Shōwa
Esperanto: Ŝoŭa-epoko
فارسی: دوره شووا
한국어: 쇼와 시대
Bahasa Indonesia: Zaman Shōwa
italiano: Periodo Shōwa
magyar: Sóva-kor
Nederlands: Showaperiode
日本語: 昭和
polski: Shōwa
português: Período Shōwa
русский: Сёва
Simple English: Shōwa period
svenska: Shōwa
Türkçe: Şova dönemi
українська: Період Сьова
Tiếng Việt: Thời kỳ Chiêu Hòa
文言: 昭和
粵語: 昭和
中文: 昭和