Japan Calendar Converter Dashboard Widget

After creating an OS X dashboard widget to converting Korean 檀紀 years into to western years, it was only a matter of time before another moment of distraction got me to playing with the idea of creating widgets for converting Japanese and Chinese calendars. After a long day of reading about US rice control policies in Korea 1945-1948, I treated myself to some more tinkering and managed to slap together a new widget for some Japanese dates:

Japan Calendar Converter Dashboard Widget v1.0


It unfortunately appears that the widget will not work on OS X versions earlier than 10.4.3.

When you install the widget, just select the period you want (or leave it on whatever period you used last), type the number of the year you want, and press return. It will convert the date into western years. It currently supports conversion from 明治, 大正, 昭和, and 平成 years. If there are a lot of comments here expressing interest, I can add earlier periods easily enough, but I won’t bother unless there is some demand for it.

UPDATE: While looking around for an online version of a chart detailing the conversion of pre-Meiji Japanese dates, I found that there is no reason for me to upgrade this little widget to cover the premodern. There is already a great widget out there with full support for these older periods. Anyone studying pre-modern Japanese history who uses a Mac should definitely check out the fantastic NegoCalc application, which includes a dashboard widget! Read more and download the application here:

NengoCalc Download Page


  1. This is a great idea Konrad. Thanks. But when I installed it I’m not seeing any results. It appears with my other widgets and I can change the period, but it doesn’t give me a result and clicking the “i” for info also seems not to work. Do I need to restart? OSX 10.4.11

  2. Hey Morgan,

    It appears all the widgets I have written will not work on versions of OS 10.4.11. This was also a problem with a Pinyin conversion widget I wrote. Since I don’t have that earlier OS version, and I’m not much of an expert on widget development, I’m not sure what I can do about that..


    There is an upgrade for OS X to get it up to 10.4.3 which is supposed to be supported:

    http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macosxupdate1043.html (requires OS X 10.4.2)
    http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macosxupdate1042.html (requires OS X 10.4.1 or higher)

    Is there a reason why so many people are sticking to 10.4.11 when there is a free upgrade to 10.4.3 out there? Were there some problems with 10.4.3 that made people stick to using 10.4.11? I’m curious since there are so many people out there using 10.4.11 still.

  3. Anyone have access to or a good link for an easy chart for converting pre-Meiji dates? I don’t have my books with me that had such charts in the appendixes?

    If I had that I would add more eras.

  4. Hi Konrad,

    I’m confused. OSX 10.4.11 is the most recent version of Tiger. OSX 10.4.3 is an ancient version, from October of 2005 according the Wikipedia entry on Max OSX v. 10.4 (Tiger). So while I have been too cheap to update to Leopard, I do use the most recent version of Tiger.

  5. You are right Morgan – I thought 10.4.11 was an increment of 10.4.1 and didn’t realize it was actually 11 (as in, the number after 10)

    Well, that just makes me more confused…since this widget is supposed to work on all releases of the OS since 10.4.3, which is, as you say, ancient. I just don’t know what is going on…

  6. Should have made these into one comment: Just downloaded the widget and installed it with no problems on 10.5.2. I also played around with ATOK and noted that it will also offer a converted year if you input a Japanese era year from Meiji onward. No idea if this is something Kotoeri will also do for you, but it’s worth a shot.

  7. I believe today would be the old new year’s day or the beginning of spring. I would be interested to know if important dates in the Japanese year such as Obon changed when the gregorian calendar was adapted in Meiji. Is it true that the Japanese just did not have a twelfth month one year so as to adapt?
    I live in Japan and would love to know what month and day it is now according to the old calendar. I have a feeling that the Japanese lost so many
    things when they changed calendars. Thank you for all your hard work!

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