Japan’s Respect of the Aged Day (keirō no hi – 敬老の日)

Each year on the third Monday of September Japan celebrates a national public holiday called Respect of the Aged day (Keirō no Hi – 敬老の日). This year it falls on September 17th, on the date that I am writing this blog post, today’s date. This holiday was created to honor and respect Japan’s elderly people, since Japan has a lot of citizens aged 65 and above. After all, Japanese culture is all about treating their elders right and respectfully.

This holiday became a national holiday in 1966 after the holiday spread around the country. The Hyōgo prefecture were the first ones to introduce this holiday in 1947 because they wanted to have a special day to celebrate the honor and their respect towards elderly citizens, as children’s day and coming-of-age day were already a national holiday. At first this holiday was celebrated on September 15th but it later changed into a happy Monday system so the citizens could have a 3-day-weekend. In 2003 the date of the holiday changed to the third Monday of September.

So how do the Japanese celebrate this holiday?

Well the most common thing that Japanese people do is to celebrate the holiday with their family. They usually spend the day together with their grandparents or their elderly parents or have dinner together. It is a day where adults can visit their parents with their kids, because they are usually too busy to that. In case families can not celebrate the holiday together, a lot of families still send gifts to their elderly family members to show them that they are still thinking about them.

On Respect of the Aged day it is also common for people to do volunteer work. People can help with organising public events for the elderly people and schools can organise performances in retirement or nursing houses. There are also a lot of events to honor and admire the healthy lives of Japanese elderly citizens.

Annually, the Japanese media companies publish a lot of programs and content about their elderly communities. Educating the citizens about ageing and highlighting the oldest citizens of the country.

Let’s be extra nice to the senior citizens today, especially to our own senior family members. Always remember that family is always important and we should show our appreciate and love to those who have done the same to us. Showing your appreciation for the elderly people is the best way that you can celebrate this holiday!


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