Japan will soon mark the end of the Heisei period as their current leader Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate the throne on April 30.
He will be the first ever Japanese Emperor to do this in over two hundred years. And even though his title doesn’t hold any political power, this event will still have an impact to their country as monarchy is still an important instution in Japan.
Because of this, a Japanese company has thought of creating a product that will symbolize and provide people a bit of experience of “the air of the outgoing era.”
The entrepreneurial company, Heso Production Co., started to sell cans containing “the air of Heisei” — the 30-year reign of current Emperor Akihito — for the price of ¥1,080 equivalent to $9.60 since Monday, April 23.
The producers are also aiming to sell at least 1,000 units.
“Air is free of charge but we hope people will enjoy breathing the fresh air of Heisei after the new era comes, or just keep it as a memento,” said Heso Production Co. President Minoru Inamoto.
According to Inamoto, the cans have been produced in the village of Henari; written using the same characters as those used for the Heisei Era. He also added that the cans can be snapped up at a roadside station in the village as well as online.
They contain nothing but “the air of the current era” and a five-yen coin, often considered a lucky charm.
Since this is a very rare event in Japan, firms are scrambling to produce memorabilia from the outgoing era before the country welcomes their new emperor of the Reiwa era.
Oval gold coins engraved with Heisei are selling like hot cakes at Tokyo department stores, while confectionery makers are bringing back blockbuster sweets popular during the Heisei era.
Henari is seeing an influx of visitors, and merchants there are selling everything from chocolate to polo shirts and alcohol bearing the name.
Meanwhile, businesses targeting the new era are also on the move. They are launching Reiwa-labeled goods such as stickers, smartphone covers, T-shirts, pins and commemorative bottles of sake.