Japanese imperial year

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The Japanese imperial year (皇紀 kōki?) or "national calendar year" is a unique calendar system in Japan.[1] It is based on the legendary foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC.[2] Kōki emphasizes the long history of Japan and the Imperial dynasty.[3]


Kōki dating was used as early as 1872, shortly after Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar system.[4]

The Summer Olympics and Tokyo Expo were planned as anniversary events in 1940 (Kōki 2600);[5] but the international games were not held because of the Second Sino-Japanese War.[6]

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) used the Kōki system for identification.[7] For example,

The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence used the imperial year.

In Japan today, the system of counting years from the reign of Emperor Jimmu has been officially abandoned.[8]

Related pages[edit]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kigen" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 514.
  2. ^ Gubbins, John Harrington. (1922). The Making of Modern Japan, p. 71; Mossman, Samuel. (1873). New Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, p. 462.
  3. ^ Chamberlain, Bail Hall. (1905). Things Japanese, p. 478; Goodrich, John King. (1913). Our Neighbors: the Japanese, p. 61.
  4. ^ 神武天皇即位紀元二千五百三十三年明治六年太陽暦 (1872)
  5. ^ Ruoff, Kenneth J. (2001). The People's Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995, p. 268 n52.
  6. ^ Organizing Committee of the XIIth Olympiad. (1940). Report of the Organizing Committee on its Work for the XIIth Olympic Games of 1940 in Tokyo until its Relinquishment, pp. 174-175 (PDF 198-199 of 207); retrieved 2012-2-21.
  7. ^ Lacroix, Eric. (1997). "Table A.2. Japanese Dates," Japanese cruisers of the Pacific War, p. 700.
  8. ^ Nussbaum, "Calendar" at pp. 98-99.

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