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Golden Week – Furikae Kyūjitsu and Golden Week History

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/07 Traditional Culture , ,

Today is the last day of the Golden Week this year in Japan. For this year, this day has no particular celebration or holiday. Today is just a Compensation/Substitute Holiday (振替休日 Furikae Kyūjitsu) that is observed when any of the Golden Week holidays fall on Sunday.

Past Observances of Furikae Kyūjitsu

Furikae Kyūjitsu of the Golden Week is held on either April 30 or May 6. The years 2012, 2013, and 2014, had Compensation Holidays for Shōwa Day, Children’s Day, and Greenery Day, respectively, and this year, 2015, had Constitution Memorial Day fall on Sunday, requiring another consecutive year with a Compensation Holiday, and that is today.

History of Golden Week

Though today is the last day of the Golden Week, let us take a look back on how it all started and why is it called the golden week.

Public Holiday Law

The National Holiday Laws or the Public Holiday Law (国民の祝日に関する法律 Kokumin no Shukujitsu ni Kansuru Hōritsu), promulgated in July 1948, declared nine official holidays. A provision of the law establishes that when a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day shall become a public holiday, known as furikae kyūjitsu. Additionally, any day that falls between two other national holidays shall also become a holiday, known as kokumin no kyūjitsu (国民の休日?, “Citizens’ holiday”). May 4, sandwiched between Constitution Memorial Day on May 3 and Children’s Day on May 5, was an annual example of such a holiday until it was replaced by Greenery Day in 2007.

The term “Golden Week”

Since many were concentrated in a week spanning the end of April to early May, many leisure-based industries experienced spikes in their revenues. The film industry was no exception. In 1951, 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). This prompted the managing director of Daiei Film Co., Ltd. to dub the week “Golden Week” based on the Japanese radio lingo “golden time,” which denotes the period with the highest listener ratings or “prime time” in other countries.

vacation

Image from AC-Illust

Last Day of the Golden Week

Since this is the last day of the Golden Week, it is also the time when people come home from vacations. Airports and Stations are busy and crowded. While some prefer to enjoy their vacation only in Japan, some also enjoy it overseas. Popular Golden Week destinations are other countries of Asia, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, and major cities on the West Coast of North America (such as Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver).

References:

1. Golden Week. Wikipedia.

2. Featured Image from AC-Illust.

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