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Golden Week – Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/25 Traditional Culture , , ,

Continuing our feature about Japan’s Golden Week, this post will feature the second and third holidays, the Constitution Memorial Day and Greenery Day.

Constitution Memorial Day

The Constitution Memorial Day, or Kenpō Kinenbi (憲法記念日) as it is known in Japan, is a national holiday in Japan that is celebrated every May 3. The date signifies the promulgation of the 1947 Constitution of Japan.

Unlike the previous constitution (Meiji Constitution) that it replaced, the present Constitution declares that sovereignty lies with the people and that the Emperor is “the symbol of the state and the unity of the people” who has no “powers related to government.” It asserts that people have fundamental human rights and renounces war. The current constitution of Japan is modeled after the American and British constitutions.

The day became a holiday as the current Japanese constitution came into effect. The day is often chosen as a day to reflect on the meaning of democracy and the Japanese government. A number of newspapers feature editorials regarding the constitution on this day. In 2003, some featured about the intriguing Article 9 of the constitution (outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state).

Greenery Day

The origin of Greenery Day or Midori no Hi (みどりの日) is tied to the first holiday in the Golden Week. From 1989, it is celebrated every April 29 or the celebration of the birth of Emperor Shōwa. It was decided to keep this day a holiday even after his passing away in January 1989 and to name it Greenery Day because of the late Emperor’s love of nature. As its name suggests, it is a day to commune with nature and to be thankful for blessings.

Greenery Day History

May 4 was until 2007 an unnamed but official holiday because of a rule that converts any day between two holidays into a new holiday. In 2007, Greenery Day moved to May 4, and April 29 was changed to Shōwa Day in accordance with a 2005 revision of the law pertaining to public holidays.

Years April 29 May 4
before 1985 The Emperor’s Birthday Non-holiday
1985–1988 The Emperor’s Birthday National day of rest/Citizen’s Holiday
1989–2006 Greenery Day National day of rest/Citizen’s Holiday
2007–present Shōwa Day Greenery Day

“Citizen’s holiday” or (国民の休日 Kokumin no Kyūjitsu) is a generic term for any official holiday.

midori no hi

(Image from AC-Illust)

On this day, commemorative plantings of trees are held around the country, as are many events that bring people closer to nature.

References:

1. Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. Wikipedia.

2. Constitution Memorial Day. Wikipedia.

3. Greenery Day. Web-Japan.

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