Happy Golden Week!

NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!

Seeing as it’s currently Golden Week in Japan and we’ve got a bank holiday coming up in England, I thought I’d actually take a look at the significance of Golden Week in Japan. As you might have guessed, it’s more than just a typical week-long national holiday…

The Golden Week is a collection of 4 national holidays celebrated in one week:

  • Showa Day (April 29) – The birthday of Emperor Showa who died in 1989.
  • Constitution Day (May 3) – The anniversary of the post-war constitution being put into effect.
  • Greenery day (May 4) – This used to be celebrated on Emperor Showa’s birthday because he loved plants and nature.
  • Children’s Day (May 5) – The Boys’ Festival is held on this day and the girls’ is held on March 3. Families pray for the success of their sons by hanging up carp streamers and displaying samurai dolls.

Transport becomes heavily crowded during Golden Week as families take time off to travel and visit relatives. Others go further afield to China or America. Some companies close down completely during the week to give employees much-needed time off and, as such, it is the longest holiday period in Japan for most people.

Golden Week officially began in July 1948, when the National Holiday Laws declared nine official holidays, many of which were concentrated between the end of April and early May. The film industry experienced a massive boost in revenue and the film Jiyū Gakkō recorded higher ticket sales during this holiday-filled week than any other time in the year (including New Year’s and Obon). The managing director of Daiei Film Co. dubbed this prosperous period ‘Golden Week’, based on the Japanese radio lingo “golden time,” which refers the period with the highest listener ratings.

Out of interest, what are YOU doing this bank holiday (if you’re from the UK)? Personally, I’ll be up in York and will be seeing The Avengers.

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