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On this day in 1948… (July 20) – National Holidays Law enacted

71 years ago today on July 20, 1948, the National Holidays Law/国民の祝日に関する法律 took effect.  The law established several new Japanese national holidays, including Culture Day (November 3) and Labor Thanksgiving Day (November 23).

An article entitled, “New National Holidays/新しい祝日,” was published in the January 1949 issue of the magazine “Horitsu no hiroba/法律のひろば” (Prange Call No. H768).  The author explains which national holidays were abolished and/or renamed and provides his legal interpretation of each change.  He concludes by praising the law and its positive implications for the war-weary Japanese people, saying:

“要するに憲法記念日を置き、文化の日や勤労感謝の日を設け、成人の日やこどもの日までも祝日と定めたこの法律が、終戦後ともすれば萎靡沈滞しがちな同胞諸君に対して、祖國再建のために伸びゆく喜びと祝いを與え、明朗闊達な気分を喚起するよすがともなれば、まことに幸せであると言わなければならない。”

Meanwhile, an article published in the magazine Buddhist Thought/佛敎思潮 (8/1/1948) (Prange Call No. B215) points out that there are no new holidays which relate in any significant way to religions.  It says that some advocated to include Christmas as “International Goodwill Day,” while others demanded including Hanamatsuri/花まつり (the Buddha’s Birthday, April 8).  In the end, the government determined that religious holidays were “inappropriate” as national holidays.

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