Does Japan Celebrate Thanksgiving

Does Japan Celebrate Thanksgiving?

While you may know that besides the United States, there are many other territories around the world such as Brazil, Canada, Liberia, and Puerto Rico celebrating Thanksgiving, you may still wonder “does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving?” Follow us and all will be revealed right now!

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving?

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving?

Yes! There is Thanksgiving in Japan!

In Japanese, Thanksgiving is called ‘Kinro Kansha no Hi’, meaning Labor Thanksgiving Day. Unlike US Thanksgiving which falls on the third Thursday of November no matter the date, Thanksgiving in Japan is celebrated every 23rd of November. In case the date is a Sunday, people will have a Thanksgiving celebration on the following Monday.

Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan

Let’s get to know does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving!

Similar to Thanksgiving in other countries around the world, Thanksgiving Day of Japan has a root from a fall harvest festival. Gradually, the meaning of the day began to change. In 1948, Kinra Kansha no Hi became a special holiday for citizens to show their appreciation to each other for work done throughout the year as well as for the fruits of those labors. Today, Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan is recognized as a holiday to commemorate labor and production as well as giving one other thanks.

History of Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving? Absolutely! And now it’s time to learn more about its origin. The history of Thanksgiving in Japan is known to stretch back more than 2,000 years when the Japanese first planted rice. At that time, there was an ancient Autumn Festival called ​Niinamesai.

The very first recorded Niinamesai goes back to the years 660–585 BC when the legendary Emperor Jimmu ruled Japan. The festival was organized to celebrate the autumn harvest of rice, wheat, barley, and beans.

Later, between 667–686 AD, the Niinamesai festival became more and more popular when celebrating the hard work of the year. The reigning Emperor, Tenmu, held a special ceremony in which he tasted the year’s rice for the first time.

It was not until after World War II, the day was renamed Kinro Kansha no Hi in 1948. The day then was redesignated as Labor Thanksgiving Day – a special day that reflects important changes in the Constitution of Japan, the expansion of worker’s rights included!

Is Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in Japan?

When it comes to Thanksgiving Day in Japan, some of you might want to know if this is a national holiday of this country or not. Then we answer “Yes! It is. On November 23, many businesses are still open, but government services and schools remain closed. As its meaning, Labor Thanksgiving Day is certainly observed to be thankful to people who have made endless efforts to work well throughout the year.

How do Japanese people celebrate Thanksgiving?

We know “does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving?” And we should also discover the way they make this day meaningful!

Thanksgiving in Japan

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving in Japan is not as festive as it is in the United States. While the Americans celebrate the day with huge parades, football games, or festive dinners, people in Japan seem to be more silent with little celebrations.

Instead of big festivals, families in Japan organize modest celebrations within private residences when the special day comes around. However, it doesn’t mean there are no events to celebrate the day. There are several events held on Thanksgiving. One of the most typical ones is a labor festival organized annually in the city of Nagano, where the Olympic Winter Games in February 1998 took place. 

Normally, local labor organizations sponsor this event with a view to encouraging citizens to be aware of issues affecting peace, human rights, and the environment. 

Thanksgiving celebration

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving – traditions?

And now, let’s discover one of the biggest traditions when celebrating Labor Thanksgiving in Japan. For a meaningful Thanksgiving celebration, many school-age children make cards, drawings, handicrafts and prepare thoughtful gifts to give workers in the labor sector to honor their dedication during the year. Those people are police officers, firefighters, and hospital staff.

What do they eat in Japan for Thanksgiving?

As mentioned above, Thanksgiving in Japan is usually followed by a modest dinner. They don’t have a big dinner with turkey as the Americans do. However, the Japanese still have a common traditional meal of rice, fish, and tea with all members of their family.

If you are an American living in Japan during the Thanksgiving season and you are looking for traditional US dishes, don’t worry! There are international hotels as well as American-friendly restaurants in major cities like Osaka and Tokyo that offer turkey dinners. You can come there and have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. But keep in mind, you have to ask in advance what might be on offer.

Thanksgiving in Japan

Does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving – a Thanksgiving meal

Furthermore, you can also find a turkey at one of the international markets in Tokyo. There are other delicatessens in the city for you to have your own US-style Thanksgiving Dinner.

Perfect Thanksgiving Gift Ideas That Will Impress Your Loved Ones

As Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful day to give thanks, don’t forget to show your love and gratitude to the special people in your life. Get them thoughtful Turkey Day gifts and let them know how much they mean to you! Refer to the list below if you just don’t know where to start!

Besides Japan, there are many others countries that have Thanksgiving celebrations. You can also learn about Thanksgiving in Mexico, Thanksgiving in Germany and you will certainly explore many interesting things!

We’ve been with you to get the answer to the question “does Japan celebrate Thanksgiving?” and discover the meaning of the day! As you can see, Thanksgiving in Japan as well as the way people celebrate the day is very unique. Though there is a little celebration, the country has its own traditions to make the day special. And no matter where you are, we wish you a happy and memorable Thanksgiving season with your family and friends!

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