Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shōwa Day

Today, April 29, is Shōwa Day (昭和の日 / Shōwa no hi) in Japan. This holiday celebrates the birthday of the Shōwa Emperor (Hirohito, father of the current emperor, Akihito, who “ruled” over Japan from 1926 to 1989). Because of the emperor's role in the war and the fear it would be seen as glorifying the emperor himself, the holiday was controversial and ceased to be celebrated for a while (1989–2006). It was finally reinstated with the idea that it would rather “encourages public reflection” on the turbulent reign of the emperor.

Shōwa Day also marks the beginning of the Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク), which is one of the three week-long holidays of the Japanese calendar. Besides Shōwa Day or the Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日 / Tennō tanjōbi), it also includes the Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日 / Kenpō kinenbi on May 3rd), the Greenery Day (みどりの日 / Midori no hi on May 4) and the Children's Day (こどもの日 / Kodomo no hi on May 5).

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