Respect for the Aged Day in Japan in 2024

Respect for the Aged Day in Japan in 2024
  How long until Respect for the Aged Day?
Respect for the Aged Day
  Dates of Respect for the Aged Day in Japan
2025 Japan Mon, Sep 15 National Holiday
2024 Japan Mon, Sep 16 National Holiday
2023 Japan Mon, Sep 18 National Holiday
2022 Japan Mon, Sep 19 National Holiday
2021 Japan Mon, Sep 20 National Holiday

Respect of the Aged Day was established as a national holiday in 1966 to express respect for the elders in the community

  Local name
Keiro no Hi

When is Respect of the Aged Day?

This Japanese national holiday is celebrated on the Third Monday in September.

The holiday, also known as Seniors' Day, Respect of the Aged Day, or Keiro no Hi, began life as a local festival in 1947 when the mayor of Nomadani-mura (now Taka-cho) in the Hyōgo Prefecture proclaimed September 15th as 'Old Folks' Day'. The mayor wanted to host an event during which people could look to their elders for guidance and wisdom.

The idea soon caught on in other communities across Japan and Respect for the Aged Day was declared as a national holiday in 1966. The day is intended to express respect for the elders in the community, to recognise and thank them for their contributions to society and last but not least, to celebrate their long lives.

Respect for the aged is a longstanding custom in Japanese culture. The honorific system of speech, keigo, is used when speaking to people older than oneself to show respect.

Until 2003, the holiday was observed on September 15th. Since 2004, Respect for the Aged Day has instead been observed on the third Monday of September.

Traditions of Respect of the Aged Day

To honour their elders, many communities throw parties and offer special gifts to bring even more longevity to their lives. Volunteers bring free bento-box lunches to their elderly neighbors

Did you know?

Japanese citizens who become 100 years old in the 12 months prior to the day receive a silver sake dish on Respect the Aged Day. Since 2016, the dishes have been silver-plated rather than pure silver as the increasing number of centenarians made the silver dish too expensive a gift for the government to give to such a high number of people each year.

The share of Japan's elderly population has remained on the rise since 1950 and is expected to surge to as high as 35.3% in 2040. The ageing of the population in Japan is a major issue as it creates concerns over how the country will fund health care and social security payments in the future with a contracting workforce

Japanese media often take the opportunity to feature the older generations, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country.

More than 10% of Japanese people have crossed 80 years or older for the first time, new official data showed, as the nation faces a rapidly greying population.

Government data released on Sunday, ahead of Monday's "Respect for Aged Day" national holiday, also showed that the share of Japan's population at 65 or older expanded to a record 29.1 percent from 29.0 percent a year ago.

The level compared with second-ranked Italy's 24.5 percent and third-ranked Finland's 23.6 percent, according to the internal affairs ministry.

"Japan has the highest percentage of elderly population in the world," the ministry said in a press release.

Bloomberg, September 17th 2023

Why do the Japanese have such longevity

The secret to longevity in Japan is likely the healthy Japanese diet, which is low in foods containing heart-damaging trans fats and sodium and high in fresh vegetables and fatty fish such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring that are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition, Japanese people have the lowest obesity rate in the developed world — 3%–versus 11% for the French and 32% for Americans, according to the International Obesity Task Force. This is not a genetic trait, say dietary experts, because when Japanese people adopt a Western-style diet heavy in red meat, fast foods, and fried foods, they put on weight quickly.

Still, studies show that the average Japanese adult eats about 25% fewer calories per day than the average American, which could partly explain their lengthy lifespan.

Translate this page