Celebrated throughout Japan on November 3rd, Culture Day is a national holiday that not only commemorates the Constitution of Japan – which was instituted in 1946- but also celebrates and promotes culture, the arts and academia in Japan. It is also considered to be a day for celebrating peace, freedom and prosperity throughout the country. In Japan, it is known as Bunka no Hi and has been celebrated since 1948.
This holiday was first celebrated on November 3rd, 1948 to commemorate the announcement of the Japanese Constitution – a document which set the fundamental law of post-war Japan. However, while this holiday commemorates that date, it’s roots can actually be traced back to the 19th century.
This is when November 3rd was celebrated as Tenchō-setsu; a holiday that was used to commemorate the birth of Emperor Meiji. From 1912 to 1927, this day ceased to be a celebration of his birthday. In 1927, it then once again became a holiday for celebrating the Emperor’s birthday and was known as Meiji-setsu.
Meiji-setsu would then morph into Culture Day. Some Japanese still treat this holiday as Emperor’s Meiji birthday to this day, although the two holidays are not related and the only thing they have in common is the date on which they were celebrated.
Customs, Traditions And Celebrations
Culture Day is currently celebrated with much enthusiasm throughout Japan. Parades, art exhibits and cultural events are held all throughout the country on this day. There are also many award ceremonies that are performed on this day. One of the most prominent ones is the Order of Culture
The Order of Culture is an award ceremony that has been celebrated on this day since 1937. It is an order that is bestowed on one man or woman by the Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan.
It is an award that is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the culture, art, academia or literature of Japan. Past recipients of this award have included Ryukichi Inada, Hideo Shima, Hanae Mori, Kyōhei Fujita, Makoto Saitō, Hironoshin Furuhashi, Susumu Nakanishi, Takashi Negishi, Yoji Yamada and Tasuku Honjo.
Another award that is bestowed on Culture Day—in conjunction with the Order of Culture- is an award given to person’s who have contributed to the cultural advancement of Japan. This award is the Person Of Cultural Merit Award. Recipients of this award have included Makoto Asashima, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Shotaro Yasuoka, Donald Keene and Mitsumasa Anno, to name just a few.