FUJIMI, Saitama -- A happy couple welcomed their son into the world at a hospital here shortly after 12 a.m. on May 1, one of a number of babies across Japan born on the very first day of the new Reiwa era.
Ran Itani and her husband Ryo, both 26, plan to name their son Rui as both of their first names start with an R.
Ran and Ryo went to the same junior high school, and married in 2017.
Although their baby was due on May 3, the couple had been hoping that he would be born on the day that marked the beginning of the new Reiwa era.
On the morning of April 30, Ran was admitted to Keiai Hospital in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, after going into labor. Fifteen babies were born in the hospital on that day, the last of the Heisei era, but Ran experienced a difficult delivery.
She pushed even harder as soon as the era changed. The baby -- a boy weighing 3,978 grams and measuring 54 centimeters -- was born at 12:07 a.m. on May 1.
"You were really in my belly. And you really heard us saying, 'Come out on May 1,'" Ran said to her firstborn son. She touched his tiny fingers and expressed hope that he would grow up to be a kind person.
"He's too soft. I don't know how to touch him," said Ryo as he held his son gingerly. But the 26-year-old recalled how he thought "women are amazing" as the weight of his baby gradually made him realize that yes, he was now a father.
Another baby was born to a separate couple in the Keiai Hospital on the morning of May 1.
(Japanese original by Yuka Narita, City News Department)