Respect for the Aged Day in Japan

Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日Keirō no Hi) is a Japanese designated public holiday celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens. It started in 1966 as a national holiday and was held on every September 15. Since 2003, Respect for the Aged Day is held on the third Monday of September due to the Happy Monday System.

This national holiday traces its origins to 1947, when Nomadani-mura (later Yachiyo-cho, currently Taka-cho), Hyōgo Prefecture, proclaimed September 15 Old Folks’ Day (Toshiyori no Hi). Its popularity spread nationwide, and in 1966 it took its present name and status. Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country.
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Commemorative silver sake cups

Since 1963, the Japanese government has given a commemorative silver sake cup to Japanese who reach the age of 100. In 1963 the number was 153, but with numbers increasing, the government decided to reduce the size of the cup to cut costs in 2009. In 2014 29,357 received a cup. The cost increase from this led to the government considering making the cups from a different material or simply sending a letter.


Celebration

On this holiday, people return home to visit and pay respect to the elders. Some people volunteer in neighborhoods by making and distributing free lunch boxes to older citizens. Entertainments are sometimes provided by teenagers and children with various keirokai performances. Special television programs are also featured by Japanese media on this holiday.


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