Members of a special panel considering the name of a new imperial era had six choices before them, three of which were rooted in ancient Japanese texts.
Despite the lack of official disclosure on the number of candidate names or what they were, several government sources revealed April 1 that six in total were presented.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later decided on Reiwa as the name of the era to begin on May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhito becomes emperor.
The other candidate names were "Eiko," "Kyuka," "Koshi," "Banna" and "Banpo."
Reiwa was taken from "Manyoshu," Japan's oldest known poetry anthology. Two other candidate names were taken from "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) and "Kojiki" (Records of Ancient Matters), documents dating from the eighth century.
The candidate name Banna was taken from "Wen Xuan," a sixth-century collection of Chinese poetry and literature. It was one of 13 candidate names submitted to the government by Tadahisa Ishikawa, 86, the former president of Nishogakusha University who is also a leading scholar of ancient Chinese poetry.