Shōwa period

The Shōwa period (Japanese: 昭和時代,, Hepburn: Shōwa jidai, potentially "period of enlightened peace/harmony" or "period of radiant Japan"), or Shōwa era, refers to the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 until his death on January 7, 1989.[1]

The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor. 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 an overall global period of social upheavals and conflicts such as the Great Depression and the Second World War.

Defeat in the Second World War brought about radical change to 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 end of the emperor's status as a living god and the transformation of Japan into a democracy with a constitutional monarch. In 1952, with the Treaty of San Francisco, Japan became a sovereign nation once more. The post-war Shōwa period also led to the Japanese economic miracle.

In these ways, the pre-1945 and post-war periods regard completely different states: the pre-1945 Shōwa period (1926–1945) concerns the Empire of Japan, while post-1945 Shōwa period (1945–1989) was a part of the State of Japan.

It was succeeded by the Heisei period.


The term Shōwa (昭和) could be roughly understood as "radiant Japan" or "Japanese glory". The two kanji characters were from a passage of the Chinese Book of Documents: "百姓昭明,協和萬邦". 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).

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."[2]

Other Languages
العربية: فترة شووا
Bân-lâm-gú: Chiau-hô
čeština: Období Šówa
Deutsch: Shōwa-Zeit
español: Era Shōwa
Esperanto: Ŝoŭa-erao
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