Japanese and Chinese Year Reference


The traditional Japanese calendar used the length since the start of the reign of the emperors. For example, the year Japan started the Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937, was referred to as Showa 12 or the 12th Year of Emperor Showa.

This system of reference for years had its roots in China, and like Japan the Chinese continued to use it alongside of western years. The current era for the Chinese is the Republic (Minguo), starting in 1911 when the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing Dynasty and established Republic of China, thus the year that the Second Sino-Japanese War began was Republic 26 (or Minguo 26), or the 26th Year of the Republic. Prior to the establishment of the republic, the era names were that of the reigning emperors; for example, Emperor Xuantong nominally ruled China from 1908 until 1911, which were Xuantong 1 to Xuantong 4.

The table below provided a reference of the three calendar systems.

Western YearJapanese YearChinese Year
1900Meiji 33Guangxu 26
1901Meiji 34Guangxu 27
1902Meiji 35Guangxu 28
1903Meiji 36Guangxu 29
1904Meiji 37Guangxu 30
1905Meiji 38Guangxu 31
1906Meiji 39Guangxu 32
1907Meiji 40Guangxu 33
1908Meiji 41Guangxu 34/Xuantong 1
1909Meiji 42Xuantong 2
1910Meiji 43Xuantong 3
1911Meiji 44Xuantong 4
1912Meiji 45/Taisho 1Republic 1
1913Taisho 2Republic 2
1914Taisho 3Republic 3
1915Taisho 4Republic 4
1916Taisho 5Republic 5
1917Taisho 6Republic 6
1918Taisho 7Republic 7
1919Taisho 8Republic 8
1920Taisho 9Republic 9
1921Taisho 10Republic 10
1922Taisho 11Republic 11
1923Taisho 12Republic 12
1924Taisho 13Republic 13
1925Taisho 14Republic 14
1926Taisho 15/Showa 1Republic 15
1927Showa 2Republic 16
1928Showa 3Republic 17
1929Showa 4Republic 18
1930Showa 5Republic 19
1931Showa 6Republic 20
1932Showa 7Republic 21
1933Showa 8Republic 22
1934Showa 9Republic 23
1935Showa 10Republic 24
1936Showa 11Republic 25
1937Showa 12Republic 26
1938Showa 13Republic 27
1939Showa 14Republic 28
1940Showa 15Republic 29
1941Showa 16Republic 30
1942Showa 17Republic 31
1943Showa 18Republic 32
1944Showa 19Republic 33
1945Showa 20Republic 34
1946Showa 21Republic 35
1947Showa 22Republic 36
1948Showa 23Republic 37
1949Showa 24Republic 38
1950Showa 25Republic 39
1951Showa 26Republic 40
1952Showa 27Republic 41
1953Showa 28Republic 42
1954Showa 29Republic 43
1955Showa 30Republic 44
1956Showa 31Republic 45
1957Showa 32Republic 46
1958Showa 33Republic 47
1959Showa 34Republic 48
1960Showa 35Republic 49
1961Showa 36Republic 50
1962Showa 37Republic 51
1963Showa 38Republic 52
1964Showa 39Republic 53
1965Showa 40Republic 54
1966Showa 41Republic 55
1967Showa 42Republic 56
1968Showa 43Republic 57
1969Showa 44Republic 58
1970Showa 45Republic 59
1971Showa 46Republic 60
1972Showa 47Republic 61
1973Showa 48Republic 62
1974Showa 49Republic 63
1975Showa 50Republic 64
1976Showa 51Republic 65
1977Showa 52Republic 66
1978Showa 53Republic 67
1979Showa 54Republic 68
1980Showa 55Republic 69
1981Showa 56Republic 70
1982Showa 57Republic 71
1983Showa 58Republic 72
1984Showa 59Republic 73
1985Showa 60Republic 74
1986Showa 61Republic 75
1987Showa 62Republic 76
1988Showa 63Republic 77
1989Showa 64/Heisei 1Republic 78
1990Heisei 2Republic 79

Last Major Update: Nov 2011

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