The period of the reign of Hirohito, 124th emperor of Japan. It lasted from 1926 until 1989. In the Japanese calendar, this period is thus known as the "showa era". The word is written as 昭和 in kanji, meaning "shining peace", which is kinda ironic, considering that the era of militant nationalism that peaked in WWII fell into that era. Then again, the militarists probably read the wa in its second meaning, "Japan".

Anyway, the country saw dramatic changes during the showa era: a headlong plunge into fascism (though this development had started much earlier), disastrous defeat, occupation and americanization, and amazing recovery to the status of an economic superpower. Interesting times, one might say.