Respect for the Aged Day in Japan in 2022

Respect for the Aged Day in Japan in 2022

  How long until Respect for the Aged Day?
Respect for the Aged Day
  Dates of Respect for the Aged Day in Japan
2023 Japan Mon, Sep 18 National Holiday
2022 Japan Mon, Sep 19 National Holiday
2021 Japan Mon, Sep 20 National Holiday
2020 Japan Mon, Sep 21 National Holiday
2019 Japan Mon, Sep 16 National Holiday

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

When is Respect of the Aged Day?

This 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 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, and to recognise and thank them for their contributions to society and last but not least, celebrate their long lives.

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.

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.

The estimated number of people aged 65 or older in Japan stood at a record high of 36.4 million as of Wednesday, an increase of 220,000 from a year before.

The share of those aged adults in the nation’s total population rose to a record 29.1%, the highest among 201 countries and regions across the world.

Older men totaled 15.83 million, or 26% of the total male population. There were 20.57 million older women, or 32% of the female population.

Internal Affairs Ministry, September 19th 2021

The holiday traces its origins back to 1947, when Nomatanimura (now Yachiyocho), Hyōgo Prefecture proclaimed September 15th as 'Old Folks' Day'.

Its popularity started to spread nationwide until in 1966 it reached its present name and status.

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.

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