Bebe Taian: Bunka no Hi or Meiji-setsu?

November 3, 2012

Bunka no Hi or Meiji-setsu?

As some of you may recall, Emperor Meiji was a man infatuated with the wonders of Western culture. It was during his reign that you could see fashionable women and men wearing Western Victorian and Edwardian clothing, and some women would blend traditional kimono with the new imported fashions. Even geisha, the ever-fashionable entertainers, began to experiment with gowns and ballroom dancing, pianos and high-heeled boots.


November 3rd was a past Tennou Tanjyoubi (Emperor's Birthday) holiday, which was celebrated all over Japan until his death in 1912. In 1927, his birthday was re-named Meiji-setsu, as the current Emperor (Showa) had his own birthday as a national holiday. Tennou Tanjyoubi is always held on a different date, depending on the current reigning Emperor.

 In 1946, Japan was forced to sign America's Japanese Constitution after World War II, and 1948's Bunka no Hi was instituted on November 3rd to celebrate Japan's native culture in a sort of attempt to regain a sense of one's own culture, lost after so many years of war and adoption of foreign habits.

文化の日 (Bunka no Hi) is now a day of celebrating traditional Japanese culture. Many exhibitions are held to show antique kimono, instruments, and other relics of days gone by. Traditional classes like chanoyu, odori, and instrument practices might also be held. In your city, you might see festivals, parades, and award ceremonies for distinguished local artists! What an excellent time to be out and about!

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