Once the emperor of Japan changes, so does the name of the imperial era, such is the tradition of Japan. We have recently transitioned from Heisei to Reiwa. One of these era's names has been used for a public holiday, "Shōwa". This day takes place on the 29th of April, but what kind of public holiday is it? We're going to delve into the reasoning and history behind this day in this article!
About Shōwa Day
"Shōwa Day" was established for the reason of "Looking back on the hard times that we've overcome, reflecting on the Shōwa era, and thinking about the country's future". During the Shōwa Era (1926-1989) the second world war happened, the atomic bomb was dropped on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki among many more tragic events, it was certainly a hard time for all Japanese people. After the second world war, the country slowly began rebuilding and entered a rapid post-war economic growth.
Shōwa Day was the Emporor's Birthday
In truth, the 29th of April actually had 3 different names up until now before finally settling on Shōwa Day. It was actually the emperor at the time's birthday, during July of 1948, new laws regarding public holidays were made public and put into effect until 1988, until which the day was officially celebrated as the emperor's birthday and that alone. The day itself was actually called "Tenchosetsu" which directly translates to "Emperor's Birthday". After the death of Emperor Shōwa, the Emperor's birthday of course changed, meaning that the day could no longer be celebrated as such, and was changed to "Green Day" which felt fitting due to the emperor being a lover of nature. However, after 18 years of this name, in 2007, the day's name was changed to "Shōwa Day". It had the meaning of celebrating the recovery of Japan after the second world war thanks to their post-war economic boom.
Shōwa Day Signifies the Start of a Long Holiday Period
In Japan, from the end of April towards the start of May, there is something known as "Golden Week" which is a long period of holidays starting with the 29th of April's "Shōwa Day". Other than this, there is May the 3rd's "Constitution Memorial Day", the 4th's "Green Day", and the 5th's "Children's Day".
We're sure there are a few people who read that last sentence and had a reaction like "Huh? I thought Green Day was changed?", well actually, it was moved to the 4th of May, this is because originally the Emperor's birthday which took place on the 29th of April should've become an ordinary day. This would mean that Golden Week would've been shortened, which would, in turn, create a huge ripple effect in the lives of many Japanese people, this is why instead of making it a normal weekday, they decided to move Green Day to this date instead. This meant that it was surrounded by the 2 other public holidays stated above and allowed for a long period of holidays to once again complete golden week.
Enter Showa Kinen Park for FREE!
This is a spot that's famous for its cherry blossoms in spring, and beautiful orange colors during autumn. This park was established to celebrate the emperor's 50th year in 1983. It has over 180ha of space, and there are many different institutions you can find within the park. There are both free and paid areas of the park, however, during Shōwa Day the entire park becomes free to enter!
※Showa Kinen Park cannot be entered during 2021.