Characteristic Memorial Days in Japan

This article introduces the characteristic memorial days in Japan. If you read this article, you will be able to know new side of Japanese culture. This unique information isn’t in any dictionary or text. Therefore, don’t you learn in this article? By doing so, you can enjoy more your life in Japan.

In Japan, there are a lot of anniversaries not only National foundation day but also Pocky day (called Mikado in Europe) which settled by corporation. This page classified three patterns about Japanese unique anniversaries.


1.What are memorial days?

2.Play on words

3.Culture/ History

4.Inspired from shape

5.What is its effect?

Japan has a lot of memorial days. Do you know Japan has how many memorial days? According to Japan Anniversary Association, it is said more than 1800 but this memorial day includes some kinds of it. One is a national holiday. It defined by the law in 2018 is twenty. Another one is annual event.


◎National holiday

・New Year’s Day (January 1st)

    We celebrate the start of New Year.

・Marine Day (Third Monday on July)

    We thanks to the blessing of nature and pray for the prosperity of Japan as a maritime


・Labor Thanksgiving Day (November 23rd)

     We respect labor, celebrate production, appreciate for each other.

・The Emperor’s Birthday (December 23rd)

     Celebrate the Emperor’s birthday.

◎Annual event

・Sets bun (February 3rd)

    On the day, people scatter roasted soybeans to drive out devils, or evil spirits.

  We eat the same number of beans as our age to wish for good health.

・The Doll’s Festival (March 3rd)

    Hinamatsuri is an annual event to pray for young girl’s happiness and good health. Many families with girls display the dolls called “Ohinasama”

・Tanabata=The Star Festival (June 7th)

    Tanabata is an event that originated from the legend of Vega and Altair. We make a wish by writing a wish on a strip of paper.

As mentioned earlier, Japan has many memorial days but there are other characteristic memorial days. This unique information isn’t in any dictionary or text. This article explains about it.

What are memorial days?


When you hear the word “anniversary” or “a Memorial Day”, what comes to mind?

It’s difficult to define these words, because there are many types of memorial days, and these relives are often different. This page focused three types of memorial days.

1.Play on words


3.Inspired from shape

Especially, this article treated Japanese Memorial Days, so that we don’t introduce these Memorial Days such like Christmas and Halloween.

  • Who set?

There are many Memorial Days in the world, it sometimes born from company to appeal their merchandise, or try to spread unique custom and culture. However, there were not institutions and organizations handling comprehensive these Memorial Days. Moreover, there were many cases that information was erroneously conveyed, and even if an anniversary was established at all, not widely accepted in the public. Then, Japan Anniversary Association, which conducts research on anniversaries, information gathering, publicity activities officially established in 1991.

  • How make?
  • People who want to make new Memorial Day send new Memorial Day’s name, date, origin, purpose, activity to Japan Anniversary Association.
  •  The Association will review the name, date, origin, purpose, activity content, future schedule etc. at the judging board and notify only when the registration passes.


The association prohibited to set these Memorial Day

Purpose for such politics, religion and Antisocial group

Having possibility about danger of hurting the rights of others

Play on words

When we make some memorial days, it sometimes adopts Japanese combination of sounds (called goro) . Each Japanese figure has many ways of pronunciation. For instance,1 has at least three types of pronunciations.

Way of pronunciation about 1 Origin
ichi Chinese
hi Japanese
wan English

On the 15th each of month →Strawberry day 

1 pronounced in Japanese ichi + 5 pronounced in Japanese go Ichigo means strawberry.

And more, usual shortcake has a strawberry above the sponge. You can find in calendar that on the 22th of each month located under the Ichigo on the 15th of each month.

 Therefore, some cake shop set on the 22th of each month as shortcake day. LOWSON, whichone of the most popular convenience stores in Japan, sells some cakes, and this day they add strawberry on the Swiss roll.

November 22nd → Good married couple day

Generally, Japanese people prefer to make some Memorial Days in November because when we write November in number, it is 11. And 11 pronounced in Japanese ii means “good”.  22 pronounced in Japanese fuu-fu means “married couple”.

As I wrote before, strawberry ride on LOWSON’s Swiss roll on the 22nd, but another more strawberry is added on this day. These two strawberries were cut heart shaped that shows love.

← Double strawberries in swiss roll

February 9th・On the 29th each of month →Meat day
 29 pronounced in Japanese niku which means meat. Many BBQ house and supermarket serve meat with reasonable price.

ex) Toraji is the famous for luxury BBQ house in Japan, usually their lunch costs 2,500 yen. However, in the meat day, lunch serves only 1,500 yen.

July 10th → Natto day

7 pronounced in Japanese nana, and 10 pronounced in Japanese. Then we call 710 is natto. To begin with, there are two types of people about Natto who loves or hates.

If you love Natto, the day will special for you. Especially some natto shops and supermarket in Ibaraki prefecture. We can get natto with very cheap price.

August 31th →Vegetable day

8 pronounced in Japanese ya, 3 pronounced in Japanese sa, 1 pronounced in Japanese i

831 pronounced yasai which means vegetable. In this day, many company plans the event for Vegetable day. First, Japan Aguricultual Cooperratives hold workshop about vegetable everywhere in Tokyo. Second, food cpmpany Kewpie cites dish menw using many vegetables. 


Midsummer Day of the Ox, Doyo-no-ushi-no-hi

This day is traditionally fall around the end of July on the ancient Japanese calendar.

People eats eels to regain energy and stamina and bear the summer heat on the day known as the Midsummer days, doyo, occurs around July 20.

Tsukimi (moon viewing)

When you see the word, some people may think it is strange. The day is a seasonal festival to enjoy the moon on the night of August 15th, on the ancient Japanese calendar. There is a gap between the ancient Japanese calendar and present Japanese calendar, that’s why this day isn’t exactly set now. Tsukimi comes around middle of September. We usually eat soft rice cake called Tsukimi Dango because this figure like full moon. MacDonald’s, which is the most famous hamburger shop in Japan serves Tsukimi burger in this season.

This culture of Tsukimi is usual event in Asian countries. Asian people think that the full moon shape circle, is a symbol of family, teamwork, and good relationships. On the other hand, in Europe, full moon reminds the Wolf Man, so they have a bad image about the full moon. 

Image of figure

When we make some memorial days, sometimes adopt visual of each number.


①November 11th →Pocky day・Japanese-style deep-fried kabob day

・Pocky day

   We think of ”11.11” as pocky. “1” looks like pocky.  In Japan, many supermarkets and convenience stores sell various kinds of pocky and display it with special decoration. Many people eat and share pocky so it is good opportunity to enjoy spending time with friends.

・Japanese-style deep-fried kabob day

 We think of ”11.11” as skewer. Japanese-style bar “Kushikatsu Tanaka” provides special all-you-can-eat course on this day. You can enjoy this course to the fullest at a lower price than usual.

②October 1st →Glasses day

    We think of “10.01” as glasses. “1” looks like glasses’ temple. “0” looks like glasses’ lens.

③11th of each month →Noodle day

   We think of “1” as noodles. “1” looks a long noodle. Some events related to this day is held. Related to this day, 1st of each month is Marukaneseimenn day. “Marukameseimen” is the Japanese udon noodles store. They serve udon noodles at half price on this day.

What is its effect?

  Why there are many memorial days in Japan? Recently, there is a memorial day boom. It is one of the ways of sales promotion. Companies and industrial associations decide the memorial days.  There are some merits for this.

First one is making the company’s name better known. If the merchandise and memorial days are linked, the company can raise brand recognition. Second one is arousing customer’s appetite for buying. When customers try to buy something, they want to find some reason. Last point is a company can expect stable sales. Once they decide the memorial days, they can yield continuous profit.

We all may be attracted to a company’s clever advertisement, but we enjoy it and do a profitable shopping like a discount.  It is said that it produced some positive economic results. If we are attracted to a clever advertisement of corporation like Pocky, it will be a good memory and we can make use of it to enjoy our time.

How is this article?

   Each characteristic memorial days were made by the Japanese language and Japanese culture. There are three reasons. One is Japanese figure has many ways of pronunciation. Another one is Japanese nationality. Last one is “Anniversary marketing”. There are many memorial days you haven’t known yet so you can search your favorite memorial days. If you know more memorial days, your life will be fulfilling. For example, on the 29th why don’t you invite your friends “shall we go to eat meat together?”?  On the Pocky day, you can eat pocky with your friends. These characteristic memorial days will help your fascinating life in Japan.

Thank you for reading this article!