Labor Appreciation Day – November 23, 2022

Labor Appreciation Day takes place in Japan on November 23 every year. It is an occasion to respect labor and celebrate production. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, Labor Appreciation Day is celebrated the next day. The holiday is rooted in an ancient harvest festival known as Niiname-sai. The latter celebrated the harvest of the Five Cereals. Today, school children prepare cards and gifts to distribute to people who work in the labor sector to show appreciation for their work and contribution to the country. Companies, too, review their accomplishments and appreciate workers.

History of Labor Appreciation Day

Labor Appreciation Day, or Labor Thanksgiving Day, is rooted in an ancient harvest festival known as Niiname-sai. The latter celebrated the harvest of the Five Cereals. The classical work “Nihon Shoki” mentions a harvest ritual that took place during the reign of Emperor Jimmu, the legendary first emperor of Japan, along with a more formal harvest celebration during the reign of Emperor Seinei, the twenty-second emperor. Scholars today date back the basic foundations of Niiname-sai to the time of Emperor Tenmu, the fortieth emperor of the land. The festival celebrated the year’s hard agricultural work and, during the ceremony, dedicated the year’s harvest to kami (deities).

The modern Labor Appreciation Day was established in 1948, after WWII, during a general amendment to the constitution. The same amendment also expanded workers’ rights in Japan. Today, school children prepare cards and gifts to distribute to people who work in the labor sector to show appreciation for their work and contribution to the country. Furthermore, companies appreciate workers and review their accomplishments. Niiname-sai is still celebrated by the Imperial Family.

Today, Japan is a rather collectivist society, focusing on community, culture, and family. Labor Appreciation Day was established to honor the workers on whose labor the country of Japan has been built. These people are ordinary members of society instead of leaders. Their fulfillment of duty ensures that Japanese society is functioning as it should.

Labor Appreciation Day timeline

Circa 600 B.C.
Harvest Rituals

Basic harvest rituals begin during the reign of Emperor Jimmu.

Circa 480 A.D.
Formalized Rituals

Harvest rituals become more formalized.

Circa 670 A.D.
The Foundation of Niiname-sai

The basic foundation of Niiname-sai rituals is laid down.

1948
Labor Appreciation Day

Labor Appreciation Day is announced as a national holiday in Japan.

Labor Appreciation Day FAQs

What is the biggest holiday in Japan?

New Year’s Day is the biggest Japanese holiday.

What is Japan's main language?

The language spoken commonly in Japan is Japanese.

How old is Japan?

Japan, as a concept, came into existence in 660 B.C.

How to Observe Labor Appreciation Day

  1. Understand what the holiday means

    Labor Appreciation Day focuses on celebrating the workers in Japan. Spend the day trying to understand their impact on society.

  2. Learn about your rights

    Learn about your rights as a working professional. Knowledge is power.

  3. Learn about your country’s Labor Day

    If you reside outside of Japan, look up when your country celebrates workers. It’s always beneficial to know.

5 Interesting Facts About Japan

  1. The world’s oldest company

    Japan’s Kongo Gumi is the oldest business in the world that’s still in operation.

  2. Life expectancy

    Japan has the second-highest life expectancy of 84.36 years.

  3. Japanese melons

    Japanese melons can cost over $200!

  4. Mountains

    Over 80% of Japan is mountainous.

  5. Earthquakes

    Japan has about 1,500 earthquakes a year.

Why Labor Appreciation Day is Important

  1. It’s an opportunity to appreciate

    Labor Appreciation Day is a perfect opportunity to appreciate the people who ensure that society functions well. Take some time out to thank them.

  2. It highlights the importance of labor workers

    A glitzy life of wealth and excess may be aspirational to many. However, today reminds us of how important it is to appreciate those who form the lifeblood of society.

  3. It highlights historical and cultural practices

    Labor Appreciation Day is rooted in an important cultural practice. Niiname-sai is ancient and is still practiced today.

Labor Appreciation Day dates

YearDateDay
2022November 23Wednesday
2023November 23Thursday
2024November 23Saturday
2025November 23Sunday
2026November 23Monday

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