Labor Thanksgiving Day

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Labor Thanksgiving Day
Official name勤労感謝の日 (Kinrō Kansha no Hi)
Observed byJapan
SignificanceCommemorates labor and production and giving one another thanks; formerly a harvest festival
CelebrationsSchool children prepare cards or gifts for people in the labor sector to show appreciation. Companies review their accomplishments and congratulate their workers for their dedication.
DateNovember 23
Next time23 November 2022 (2022-11-23)
Related toNiiname-no-Matsuri

Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日, Kinrō Kansha no Hi) is an annual public holiday in Japan celebrated on November 23 of each year,[1] unless that day falls on a Sunday, in which case the holiday is moved to Monday.[2] The law establishing the holiday cites it as an occasion to respect labor, to celebrate production, and citizens give each other thanks.[3]

Events are held throughout Japan, one such being the Nagano Ebisuko Fireworks Festival [ja], which had 400,000 attendees in 2017.[4]


Labor Thanksgiving Day is the modern name for an ancient harvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭, also read as Shinjō-sai), celebrating the harvest of the Five Cereals. The classical chronicle the Nihon Shoki mentions a harvest ritual having taken place during the reign of the legendary Emperor Jimmu (660–585 BC), as well as more formalized harvest celebrations during the reign of Emperor Seinei (480–484 AD). Modern scholars can date the basic forms of niiname-sai to the time of Emperor Tenmu (667–686 AD).[5] Traditionally, it celebrated the year's hard work; during the Niiname-sai ceremony, the Emperor would dedicate the year's harvest to kami (spirits), and taste the rice for the first time.[6]

The modern holiday was established after World War II in 1948 as a day to mark some of the changes of the postwar Constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of worker's rights.[7] Currently, Niiname-sai is still held privately by the Imperial House of Japan on the same day as Labor Thanksgiving Day, which has become a public national holiday.[6]

May 1 is also celebrated as Labor Day by many trade unions in Japan,[8] which hold large rallies and marches in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.[citation needed]


On this day, school children prepare cards or gifts to distribute to police officers, firefighters, hospital staffs, personnel of the Japan Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard and other people in the labor sector to show appreciation for their contributions to the country.[7] Companies review their accomplishments and congratulate their workers for their dedication.[citation needed] Families get together and have dinner at home on this holiday. In addition, individuals themselves are encouraged to relax and take care of themselves.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stuart D. B. Picken (2010). Historical Dictionary of Shinto. Scarecrow Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-810-87372-8.
  2. ^ "Thanksgiving in Japan: Labour Thanksgiving Day". Japan Rail Pass. October 30, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ "「国民の祝日」について" [About "national holiday"]. Cabinet Office (Japan). Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  4. ^ "夜空の華 光の乱舞 長野・えびす講花火". Shinano Daily News (in Japanese). November 24, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko (November 14, 1994). Rice as self: Japanese identities through time. Princeton University Press. pp. 46–7. ISBN 978-0-691-02110-2. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Morrill, Ann (August 2009). Thanksgiving and Other Harvest Festivals. Infobase Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-60413-096-6. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Miller, Adam (November 22, 2011). "Labor Thanksgiving Day – 勤労感謝の日". Axiom Magazine. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Hijirida, Kyoko; Yoshikawa, Muneo (1987). Japanese language and culture for business and travel. University of Hawaii Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-8248-1017-7. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "2020年は三連休! 「勤労感謝の日」の由来と過ごし方". SKYWARD+ (in Japanese). Japan Airlines. August 1, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2020.

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