Thursday, April 17, 2014

Golden Week Kicks Off April 29th by Honoring the Birthday of Emperor Hirohito

One of the most exciting weeks in Japan is right around the corner. Golden Week is a series of public holidays celebrated throughout Japan annually beginning April 29th. The festive week kicks of with Showa Day on the 29th.

The original purpose behind the creation of Showa Day was to honor and celebrate the birthday of the Showa Emperor, Hirohito, whose reign stretched from 1926 to 1989. After his death in 1989, April 29th was renamed Greenery day and became the holiday that marked the start of Golden Week. After much debate and effort on the part of many people, and following a series of failed legislative attempts, Greenery Day was moved to May 4th- a change that became official in 2000. It was not until 2007 that April 29th was once again Showa Day. The celebration of the emperor's birth was reinstated because the people felt Golden Week should open with a public reflection of Hirohito's reign and the accomplishments this time period was witness to. The turbulent 63-year period saw the end of Taisho Democracy, the rise of Fascism, World War II, the post-war occupation, the rise of Japan as an industrial economic power, and more. 

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