Children’s Day Brings Golden Week in Japan to a Close

In Japan May 5 is Children’s Day, or Kodomo no Hi. Across the country, children are celebrated and wished good health and prosperity. Originally, this day was established for boys and called Tango no Sekku, but changed after World War II to recognize all children.

It’s the final day of what’s known as “Golden Week,” a weeklong vacation consisting of four holidays, beginning with Showa no Hi, a day that marks the birthday of the Emperor Showa, who emperor served Japan from 1926 until 1989.

The other holidays are Constitution Memorial Day, or Kenpou Kinenbi, on May 3, which commemorates the constitution of Japan and the country’s renunciation of war; and Greenery Day, or Midori no Hi, on May 4. Like Earth Day here in the States, Midori no Hi is the day the Japanese honor nature. Visiting parks and planting trees are among the activities.

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, Japan Society, Marutaro, Ronin Gallery, kabuto, Momotaro, folklore, koinoburi, traditions

“Arihara of Tsuruya” by Utamaro c. 1798 from Ronin Gallery

Kodomo no Hi is perhaps the most festive of the Golden Week observations, with the flying of koinobori (carp flags), the making of origami kabuto (samurai helmets), and the telling of folklore stories such as Momotaro (Peach Boy).

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, Japan Society, Marutaro, Ronin Gallery, kabuto, Momotaro, folklore, koinoburi, traditions

Instagram user @Marutaro

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, Japan Society, Marutaro, Ronin Gallery, kabuto, Momotaro, folklore, koinoburi, traditions

Origami kabuto from jmode.com

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, Japan Society, Marutaro, Ronin Gallery, kabuto, Momotaro, folklore, koinoburi, traditions

“Momotaro” by Theatre Banana/Theatre Arts Japan-KIDS at Japan Society ©Kazuko Minamoto