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
Basic harvest rituals begin during the reign of Emperor Jimmu.
Harvest rituals become more formalized.
The basic foundation of Niiname-sai rituals is laid down.
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
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.
Learn about your rights
Learn about your rights as a working professional. Knowledge is power.
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
The world’s oldest company
Japan’s Kongo Gumi is the oldest business in the world that’s still in operation.
Japan has the second-highest life expectancy of 84.36 years.
Japanese melons can cost over $200!
Over 80% of Japan is mountainous.
Japan has about 1,500 earthquakes a year.
Why Labor Appreciation Day is Important
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.
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.
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