Labor Thanksgiving Day

Observed on November 23rd annually, unless that day falls on a Sunday, Labor Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in Japan. It is an occasion for citizens to give thanks to each other, to respect labor, and to celebrate industrial production.

It’s the modern name for the ancient harvest festival traditionally celebrated as Niiname-sai. It was a festival that celebrated the year’s hard work. After WWII, this holiday was modernized and has since become a public national holiday.

The History of Labor Thanksgiving Day

Although this holiday can be traced back to the ancient harvest festival Niiname-sai, it became the holiday it is today in 1948 as a way for citizens to express their appreciation to one another and to congratulate each other for a well-done year of work. This holiday is known as Kinrō Kansha no Hi.

This is also a day for close family and friends to enjoy each other’s company and good food. This holiday also coincides with the Nagano Ebisuko Fireworks Festival, where almost half a million people gather to watch the fireworks display every year.

Labor Thanksgiving Day isn’t celebrated in the same way as American Thanksgiving, however. Families don’t get together to make a huge turkey with all the fixings. The dinners that families have on this holiday in Japan are much more intimate and certainly feature less food than American celebrations.

Since this is a public holiday, many people will have the day off in Japan, and schools will be closed. Many businesses are also closed or are functioning at less than full capacity.

Observing Labor Thanksgiving Day

This holiday is usually observed with festivities led by labor organizations and by children making crafts and gifts for local police officers. English speakers celebrating this holiday can also use the hashtag #LaborThanksgivingDay to spread the word about this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Japan (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
November 23 Saturday
Next year (2025)
November 23 Sunday
Last year (2023)
November 23 Thursday