Culture Day: A Quest For Japanese Traditions

Culture Day - A Quest For Japanese Traditions

Bunka no Hi, or Culture Day, celebrated throughout Japan on November 3, is a day officially dedicated to a quest and appreciation for Japanese culture, arts, and academic discoveries. So if you’re interested in learning about Japan’s culture and traditions, this is the national holiday you’ve been waiting for—as well as the only day most museums in Tokyo, as well as throughout the country, are open for free!

Bunka no Hi

How did Culture Day begin?

According to Japan’s Act on National Holidays, Culture Day is defined as a day to “love freedom and peace, and promote culture.” But the question here really is—why November 3? Shouldn’t we be encouraged to do this every day of the year?

Meiji Jingu Torii

Meiji Jingu Shrine was built in dedication to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.

Well, November 3 has always been special in Japan because it celebrated the birthday of the Meiji Emperor from 1868 until his death in 1912. Following a brief break until 1927, the holiday was rebranded to be called “Meiji Setsu,” a national holiday held in honor of the late Meiji Emperor.

But the importance of the three golden words “freedom”, “peace”, and “culture” was officially promoted after the promulgation of the post-War constitution in 1947, when the country announced to the public its commitment to promoting cultural prosperity that is based on freedom and peace in regret of WWII. And since General Headquarters (GHQ) were not particularly fond of having a national holiday linked to the Emperor, November 3 was rebranded as Culture Daya day for the promotion of peace through …continue reading