in this ambigram, the characters read 平成 (Heisei) one way and 令和 (Reiwa) the other

In less than a month, the Japanese Heisei era will end and a new era will begin. The Reiwa era, whose name was revealed last week, begins on May 1, 2019. Ahead of such a symbolic yet monumental change, Japanese ambigram artist Issei Nomura (previously) has created a beautiful tribute to both eras.

turned one way, the two characters read 平成 (Heisei), the old era

An ambigram is a word or phrase that can be interpreted differently depending on the angle or orientation that it’s viewed. And because the Japanese written language is so graphic, it makes for a malleable subject.

In this instance, Issei Nomura created a character that can be interpreted as both 平成 (Heisei) and 令和 (Reiwa), depending on how it’s flipped. It’s the perfect piece of artwork to appreciate during this interim period right in-between the old and the new.

flipped the other way, the characters read 令和 (Reiwa), the new era