Shōwa Day

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Shōwa Day
Official name昭和の日 (Shōwa no Hi)
Observed byJapan
SignificanceHonors the birthday of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), the reigning Emperor from 1926 to 1989
DateApril 29
Related toThe Emperor's Birthday

Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan held on April 29. It honors the birthday of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), the reigning emperor from 1926 to 1989.[1] Shō (昭) means “shining” or “bright”, and wa (和) means “peace”, signifying the "enlightened peace" that citizens receive. According to the now defunct Democratic Party of Japan, the purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign.[2]

A protest against Shōwa Day, 2016

Coincidentally, Shōwa Day happens on the same date that in 1948 the Allies' International Military Tribunal for the Far East condemned key officials of the Imperial government during World War II to death, including former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.


Emperor Hirohito died on January 7, 1989. April 29 was subsequently no longer celebrated as The Emperor's Birthday but instead as Greenery Day, part of Japan's Golden Week. After a series of failed legislative attempts beginning in 2000,[citation needed] the April 29 holiday was finally renamed Shōwa Day in 2007, and Greenery Day was moved from April 29 to May 4.[citation needed]

According to the then-main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (which backed the bill for the first time after many years of refusal), the holiday encourages public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign rather than glorifying the emperor himself.[2] Hirohito's reign saw, among other things, the end of the Taishō Democracy, the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria, a period of "government by assassination" including the attempted coups of May 15, 1932 and February 26, 1936, the rise of the totalitarian Taisei Yokusankai, World War II, the post-war occupation, the 1964 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens, and the Japanese post-war economic miracle.

Years April 29 May 4
before 1988 The Emperor's Birthday Non-holiday
1988 The Emperor's Birthday National day of rest
1989–2006 Greenery Day National day of rest
2007–present Shōwa Day Greenery Day

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Golden Week". 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  2. ^ a b BBC news report Japan names day after Hirohito (BBC News, May 13, 2005).

External links[edit]