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Kinrō Kansha: Japan’s Thanksgiving Day

Fall in Japan is not only praised for its clear weather, clear blue skies, and bright foliage. Besides creating the perfect conditions for sightseeing and exploring the area, the season brings with it one of the most fascinating holidays in Japan: Kinro Kansha No Hi.

A modern day holiday that has replaced a rice harvest festival called Niinamesai, Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to commemorate the hard work of the year and give thanks to one another.

Whether you’re visiting Japan this fall or just want to learn more about the country’s cultural traditions, the country’s Workers Festival is well worth learning about.

In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Kinro Kansha No Hi. From beginnings to celebration, we’ve covered all of the basics about the holiday.

Everything about Thanksgiving in Japan

What is Kinrō Kansha No Hi?

Kinrō Kansha No Hi is an annual national holiday celebrated in Japan in November. This non-religious holiday is an occasion not only to commemorate the hard work of workers, but also to encourage people to thank one another.

Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro Kansha no Hi in Japanese) is actually a modern name for an ancient ritual called Niinamesai (harvest festival) and formalized harvest celebrations during the reign of Emperor Seinei.

The story of Kinrō Kansha No Hi?

Japanese worker at a rice field.

The history of Kinro Kansha No Hi goes back over 2,000 years. This Japanese holiday dates back to an ancient Thanksgiving festival called Niinamesai, which has existed for at least 660-585 BC. Is celebrated. At that time, Japan was ruled by the powerful Emperor Jimmu, who held a special ceremony to celebrate the fall harvest of other grains such as rice, wheat, and barley.

This ancient harvest festival was celebrated with a harvest ritual called Shinjo-sai, during which he tasted the first freshly harvested rice of the year and offered it to the gods.

The modern holiday was introduced in 1948 after World War II to honor some of the changes to Japan’s postwar constitution, including basic human rights and the expansion of workers’ rights.

Kinro Kansha No Hi has been linked to two things: celebrating the hard work of the year and thanking each other for the work they have done over the year. Some people even associate the holiday with Thanksgiving and Labor Day in the United States.

When is this Japanese National Day celebrated?

Women pray at a Japanese shrine to worship

Thanksgiving is celebrated on November 23 each year in Japan, unless that day falls on a Sunday. In this case, the holiday will be postponed to Monday.

How is Thanksgiving celebrated in Japan?

Japanese woman eating rice during a typical dinner.

Unlike Thanksgiving in the United States, Kinro Kansha No Hi doesn’t have fireworks or busy parades. Even the Japanese do not eat turkey on this day, but celebrate it in peace with a family outing and a modest feast with fish, rice and tea.

One of the main traditions of this nationally celebrated event is for school children to make cards and gifts and give them to workers in the labor sector, including police officers, firefighters and hospital staff, to thank them for their dedication throughout the year.

A number of major events are held at Kinro Kansha No Hi. In the city of Nagano, which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics, local workers’ organizations sponsor the event and encourage local people to reflect on issues relating to peace, human rights and the environment.

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