Respect for the Aged Day


Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日, Keirō no Hi) is a Japanese designated public holiday celebrated annually to honour elderly citizens.

Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country.

Brief History

  • This national holiday traces its origins to 1947, when Nomadani-mura (later Yachiyo-cho, currently Taka-cho), Hyōgo Prefecture, proclaimed 15 September Old Folks’ Day (Toshiyori no Hi).
  • Its popularity spread nationwide, and in 1966 it took its present name and status, becoming a national holiday and officially being held on every 15 September.
  • Since 2003, Respect for the Aged Day is held on the third Monday of September due to the Happy Monday System.

Commemorative Silver Sake Cups

  • Since 1963, the Japanese government has given a commemorative silver sake cup to Japanese who reach the age of 100.
  • In 1963 the number was 153, but with numbers increasing, in 2009, the government decided to reduce the size of the cup to cut costs.
  • In 2014, 29,357 received a cup.
  • The cost increase from this led to the government considering making the cups from a different material or simply sending a letter.


On this holiday, people return home to visit and pay respect to the elders. Some people volunteer in neighbourhoods by making and distributing free lunch boxes to older citizens. Entertainments are sometimes provided by teenagers and children with various keirokai performances. Special television programmes are also featured by Japanese media on this holiday.

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