` Reiwa – a new era in Japan

Photo credit: John Chillingworth for Picture Post magazine | Getty Images Hulton Archives

Reiwa – a new era in Japan

Japan will enter into a new era of ‘beautiful harmony’ from 1 May, a day after Emperor Akihito abdicates and is succeeded by his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, ending the imperial era Heisei. Since the Gengo system began in the 7th century, the country has adopted almost 250 eras. This one, however, will be marked by Japan’s first imperial abdication in more than 200 years.

In this seminar, Matthew Butson, of Getty Images, will show rarely seen images of Japanese Emperors throughout the various eras, along with pictures of some of the most important events that have defined Japan’s history. Dr Daniel Schley will then talk about abdication in early Japan and the Insei system, providing an interesting comparison to the present. Finally, Dr Angus Lockyer will discuss the current Japanese imperial system.

About the contributors

Matthew Butson
Matthew Butson is Vice President of the Getty Images Hulton Archive. He has managed the numerous, world-renowned collections at the Getty Images Hulton Archive since 2000 and worked within the archive for over three decades. As Vice President, Matthew has global responsibility for direction and strategy of Getty Images’ archival offering, including sales strategy, marketing, positioning and product/content development. He is also involved in web strategy and assisting with the development of the Getty Images Gallery in London. The archive itself is the world’s largest in private ownership, containing over 100 million images spread across 1,500 distinct collections, notably including the Bettmann and Sygma archives. In 2009, Matthew was awarded the J Dudley Johnston Award by the Royal Photographic Society, for his outstanding contribution to photography, and in 2012 was made an honorary fellow of the Society.

Dr Daniel F Schley
Dr Daniel F Schley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies at the Oriental and Asian Studies Institute, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn. He received his MA from Hamburg University with a thesis on medieval conceptions of sacred kingship in Europe. He then developed this topic further, focusing on 13th and 14th century Japanese sources. For most of his PhD studies, he was a foreign researcher at the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo, until he earned his doctorate from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. From 2014-2017 he was an Academic Researcher at LMU Munich before becoming an Assistant Professor at Bonn University. He currently participates in the DFG (German Research Foundation) funded Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1167 on “Macht und Herrschaft – premodern Configurations from a transregional Perspective”. He is also working on a new book about courtly historiography and historical thought in 10th–12th century Japan.

Dr Angus Lockyer
Dr Angus Lockyer is an Associate Director at SOAS University of London, where he is responsible for issues concerning the learning environment and student outcomes and heads up a project on closing the gap in attainment between white and BME students. He is a member of the Department of History and convenes the trans-disciplinary BA Global Liberal Arts. He received his PhD in modern Japanese history from Stanford University and has published on the political economy of expos, the cultural history of museums, and the history of Japanese golf. Angus has worked with colleagues at the British Museum since the reinstallation of the Japanese galleries in 2005-06. He was a Co-Investigator of the recently concluded AHRC-funded project, ‘Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society’, as part of which he co-curated the 2017 exhibition ‘Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave’ at the British Museum.




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