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Guide: Dates in Japan

Item date is often straightfoward. Find the date on the book and type it into the database in the convention of year-month-day. However, it is often not so easy. This article addresses those more difficult issues.

VARIOUS EDITIONS


Commercial items and doujin items alike often have first, second, third and even more editions. Oftentimes, there are no differences between or among the various editions. In this case, I recommend using the date listed for the first edition. However, if there is a difference, which, for commercial manga, often consists of an updated cover image, then, edition becomes a point of interest. I've also noticed on a doujinshi, Blackdog's Aqua Necklace, that the second edition had a little less censorship than the first edition. Without comparing the various editions directly, it may be impossible to know if they differ, but I still recommend using the first edition's date unless you have reason to suspect a difference.

I have not considered, among commerical manga, if the different editions, especially those that change in some significant way such as cover, have different ISBN numbers. Also, I should consider cheaper repints of manga that often are released in smaller sized formats. For example, the Alice Blade commercial manga, by Ryuuen Rouga, listed in this database is a very small sized advanced edition. The first and maybe other early editions had a different cover printed on larger paper. I wonder if the two publications have different ISBN numbers. If I had the first edition of Alice Blade, I would document it seperately since it has a different cover. I've done such a documentation for one of Mercy Rabbit's mangas, which can be seen on this database.

JAPANESE DATE CONVENTIONS

This pertains to the system of dating used by the Japanese for the years.
It is not uncommon to see the term Heisei (平成) with a number subsequent to it appearing in a japanese publicatin. This term refers to the era of the current Japanese Emperor. The previous period is called Shouwa (昭和) which spans from year 1926 to 1989. The Heisei peroid begain in the year 1989 and is still ongoing. Since Emperor Shouwa (Hirohito) died on 7 January 1989, thereby ending the Shouwa period, the year 1989, except for the first seven days, is a year of the Heisei period. It is also the first year and thereby termed Heisei1 (平成1). In turn, Heisei2 is the year 1990, Heisei3 is 1991 and Heisei16 is 2004.

Some doujinshi will appreviate Heisei with the letter H. Therefore, H2 is the year 1990, H16 is the year 2004, etc.


The present Gengo, "Heisei," meaning "Achieving Peace," was unveiled only six hours after the death of Hirohito. The new year, "Heisei 1," officially began at midnight, January 8. Therefore, 1989 is regarded as both Year "Showa 64" (the first 7 days) and Year "Heisei 1" (the rest of the year).
Shouwa (昭和) Heisei (平成)
Showa 1 = 1926
Showa 2 = 1927
Showa 3 = 1928
Showa 4 = 1929
Showa 5 = 1930
Showa 6 = 1931
Showa 7 = 1932
Showa 8 = 1933
Showa 9 = 1934
Showa 10 = 1935
Showa 11 = 1936
Showa 12 = 1937
Showa 13 = 1938
Showa 14 = 1939
Showa 15 = 1940
Showa 16 = 1941
Showa 17 = 1942
Showa 18 = 1943
Showa 19 = 1944
Showa 20 = 1945
Showa 21 = 1946
Showa 22 = 1947
Showa 23 = 1948
Showa 24 = 1949
Showa 25 = 1950
Showa 26 = 1951
Showa 27 = 1952
Showa 28 = 1953
Showa 29 = 1954
Showa 30 = 1955
Showa 31 = 1956
Showa 32 = 1957
Showa 33 = 1958
Showa 34 = 1959
Showa 35 = 1960
Showa 36 = 1961
Showa 37 = 1962
Showa 38 = 1963
Showa 39 = 1964
Showa 40 = 1965
Showa 41 = 1966
Showa 42 = 1967
Showa 43 = 1968
Showa 44 = 1969
Showa 45 = 1970
Showa 46 = 1971
Showa 47 = 1972
Showa 48 = 1973
Showa 49 = 1974
Showa 50 = 1975
Showa 51 = 1976
Showa 52 = 1977
Showa 53 = 1978
Showa 54 = 1979
Showa 55 = 1980
Showa 56 = 1981
Showa 57 = 1982
Showa 58 = 1983
Showa 59 = 1984
Showa 60 = 1985
Showa 61 = 1986
Showa 62 = 1987
Showa 63 = 1988
Showa 64 = 1989







Heisei 1 = 1989
Heisei 2 = 1990
Heisei 3 = 1991
Heisei 4 = 1992
Heisei 5 = 1993
Heisei 6 = 1994
Heisei 7 = 1995
Heisei 8 = 1996
Heisei 9 = 1997
Heisei 10 = 1998
Heisei 11 = 1999
Heisei 12 = 2000
Heisei 13 = 2001
Heisei 14 = 2002
Heisei 15 = 2003
Heisei 16 = 2004
Heisei 17 = 2005

Heisei 18 = 2006
Heisei 19 = 2007
Heisei 20 = 2008
Heisei 21 = 2009
Heisei 22 = 2010

DATES EXPRESSED WITH JAPANESE NUMBERS


I noticed in some of Utatane Hiroyuki's commercial mangas that the publishing dates therein were listed using Japanese numbers. For example, I saw something like this: 一九九五 一 二七

If the data submitter knows about the kanji for numbers, this should be no problem. It is a very simple substituion of the modified arabic numbers used in English writing for their corresponding Kanji. So the first term 一九九五 simply means 1995; the second, 1; the third, 27. Therefore the book was published on 27 January 1995.


INCOMPLETE DATES OR REFERENCE TO A CONVENTION

Some books will not have the date printed on them explicitly. Some books may state simply the year and the month or month and the day. For missing data simply use zeros for the missing data and the correct values for the remainder. For example, suppose the book simply states 1999/8 thereby indicating that the year is 1999 and the month is August, the 8th month. Put 1999 for the year, 08 for the month, and 00 for the day. This, although, incomplete, is better than no data.

If a convention is mentioned by not a date, then find the date(s) of that convention and use that to complete the numbers for the date(s). For example, if the book states Comic Market 68 (i.e. C68, Comiket68) then, using the convention list, you can find that the date of that convention ranges between 2005-08-12 to 2005-08-14. The reason I used the term 'date(s)' is specifically in regard to Comic Market, the largest doujin convention in Japan that occurs bi-annually, which has occured over the last recent years over 3 days and, prior to that, 2 days. (I cannot say anything for the earliest years of comic market.) Suppose you know that the book was published in Comic Market 68 but nothing more, you can then enter the date as 2005-08-00 and enter the convention as Comic Market 68. A viewer can then understand that the book was released between the 12th and 14th of that month.

Some books have no clear indication of an publishing date whatsoever. For books like this and others that have incomplete or difficult to read dates, I strongly suggest using a Japanese search engine such as google.co.jp to try to find data on the book. Try searching the Japanese text for the title of the book along with the circle's name or the author's name(s). Try different combinations thereof and try to find the desired data. Sometimes, it is not possible, in which case the date must be left completely blank.