Midori no Hi, or Greenery Day, is observed on May 4 every year in Japan. The national holiday is meant to appreciate and thank nature, and commune with it. Initially, the holiday fell on April 29 to commemorate the birthday of Emperor Shōwa, the emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989. Following the ascension of his successor, Emperor Akihito, the name of the holiday was changed from ‘Birthday of the Emperor’ to Greenery Day, to allude to the wartime emperor’s love for greenery without invoking his name. The date of Greenery Day was later changed to May 4, and April 29 was deemed Shōwa Day.
History of Greenery Day (Midori no Hi)
Emperor Shōwa, born Hirohito, was the 124th emperor of Japan. Born in 1901, Hirohito ascended the throne in 1926 and reigned till his death in 1989. During his reign, he was referred to as The Emperor by Japanese citizens and Emperor Hirohito by foreigners. He was posthumously given the name Emperor Shōwa. Hirohito was the reigning monarch during the second Sino-Japanese War, which melded into the Second World War. Japan’s role as an Axis Power played out under Hirohito’s reign.
Today, Hirohito’s role in Japan’s alliance with Italy and Germany during WWII is a controversial topic. The post-war narrative adopted in Japan was that Hirohito was a powerless figurehead forced into the pact. Certain historians later held that he may have had a more direct role than previously thought. Hirohito remained the emperor throughout the postwar rebuilding of Japan.
Hirohito, who was also a marine biologist, was known for his love for nature. When his successor and son, Emperor Akihito, ascended the throne after Hirohito’s death in 1989, he decreed that April 29 was to be celebrated as Greenery Day — to commemorate his father’s love for nature and greenery without alluding to the controversies embroiled within his legacy. In 2007, Greenery Day was shifted to May 4, earlier known as the National Day of Rest, and decreed April 29 to be Shōwa Day instead. Greenery Day is observed each year as a day to commune with nature and to express gratitude towards it.
Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) timeline
Hirohito is born into the Japanese imperial family.
Hirohito ascends the throne as the emperor of Japan.
Emperor Akihito decrees the first Greenery Day.
May 4 is announced as the new Greenery Day.
Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) FAQs
Where is Greenery Day celebrated?
Greenery Day is celebrated in Japan.
Why is Greenery Day celebrated?
It is celebrated to appreciate nature, something that was important for Emperor Showa.
Who is the present emperor of Japan?
The present emperor of Japan is emperor Naruhito, born Hironomiya Naruhito.
How to Observe Greenery Day (Midori no Hi)
Give yourself time to enjoy nature
The objective of Midori no Hi is to appreciate and enjoy nature. Spend the day surrounded by nature and enjoy it.
Adopt a plant
Even if you live in the densest of concrete jungles, get a plant for yourself to spruce up your surroundings. Make sure to give it lots of T.L.C.
Donate to a foundation
If it’s within your means, donate to a foundation working to preserve nature and biodiversity. Any amount helps.
5 Interesting Facts About Nature
Animals are democratic too
African buffalo herds are known to select the direction in which they travel by voting!
Fungi can bleed
The mushroom Hydnellum peckii excretes a dark red sap that looks like blood!
Owls can’t move their eyes
Owls can’t move their eyes back and forth, requiring them to have really flexible necks to look around.
Goats have accents
According to a study by Queen Mary University, goats adjust their bleat based on social surroundings.
Sharks get a bad reputation
While sharks get a bad reputation for being ferocious killers, cows kill more people than sharks annually.
Why Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) is Important
It’s a reminder of the importance of nature
Nature is necessary for our survival as a species. Greenery Day reminds us of this fact.
It’s a good excuse to have a fun day in nature
Whether it be a picnic or a stroll in the park, Midori no Hi is a great day to spend time in nature. See what you can do on this day to commemorate it.
It’s a reminder to care about climate change
The nature around us is rapidly transforming and deteriorating due to climate change. Midori no Hi is a very important reminder that it is our job to protect nature.
Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) dates