May 12, 2011
I realize that I’ve missed the chance to talk on time about the Golden Week (April 29th – May 5th). So – I’ll write on the topic *now*.
Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク), also known as Ōgon shūkan (黄金週間, “Golden Week”) or Ōgata renkyū (大型連休, “Large consecutive holiday”) is a collection of four national holidays within seven days and one of the busiest Japan’s holiday seasons. Not all the days are officially holidays, so many Japanese people take paid time off on the intervening work days to fully enjoy this time; anyway, some companies also close down completely.
After the promulgation of the National Holiday Laws in July 1948, the week spanning from the end of April to early May, in which so many of them were concentrated, became the luckiest time for leisure-based industries. After the film Jiyuu Gakkou, in 1951, recorded higher ticket sales during this week than any other time in the year, the director of Daiei Films named it as “Golden Week”, based on the Japanese radio lingo “golden time,” which denotes the period with the highest listener ratings.
The holidays included in this period are:
- April 29: Showa-no-hi (Showa Day)
- May 3 : Kenpou-kinen-bi (Constitution Memorial Day)
- May 4 : Midori-no-hi (Greenery Day)
- May 5 : Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day)
April 29th was originally the Emperor’s birthday. Then, after Emperor Showa’s death in 1989, the holiday was renamed “Greeneray Day”, which lasted until 2007, when it was changed again, into a memorial day of the late Emperor.