May 2, 2019
Tokyo--Newborns were welcomed in Japan on Wednesday, the first day of its Reiwa era, at hospitals around the nation.
Nine babies were born in the morning at Fukuda Hospital in the southwestern city of Kumamoto. Yurie I, 31, gave birth to her second daughter, 10 days before the due date.
"I didn't expect it would be on the first day of Reiwa," she said with a surprised look.
"It's become all the more memorable," her husband, Kazuaki, 36, said.
They have named the baby Haruka, with hopes that she will become a bright, cheerful child. The first of the two kanji characters for her name denotes sunshine.
"When she grows up, I want to go camping and hiking as a family," the mother said.
At Aiwa Hospital in the city of Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, Mami Kaneko, 29, gave birth to a sprightly baby girl. Both the mother, and her husband, Tetsuya, also 29, were born in the first year of the preceding Heisei era that started on Jan. 8, 1989.
"Our second daughter was also born in the first year, of Reiwa," Mami said.
While noting, "It's quite a coincidence," Tetsuya said: "She was born in this milestone year. I hope she will grow up in the new era without problems."
At Osaka Women's and Children's Hospital in the city of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, Yumi Saika, 27, gave birth to a 3,396-gram baby girl. The baby, Saika's third daughter, had been due on Tuesday, the final day of the Heisei era.
"I'd kept saying, 'You can come out when it's May,' and she really did," the mother said.
"I hope the new era will be one in which newborns can live comfortably," her husband, Tetsuya, 32, said.
The couple will name the baby Natsuna, which is a palindrome when written in Japanese characters, in the hope that she will grow up to be honest and not two-faced.
The Reiwa era began with the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito on Wednesday, after his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, stepped down from the throne on Tuesday. Jiji Press
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