Thanksgiving in Japan

With Thanksgiving fast approaching this month, I believe everyone is excited and getting ready for families get together.  In Japan, although people might not celebrate the same way as in America, they actually do have a similar national holiday called “Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro-Kansha-No-Hi, 勤労感謝の日). It’s a national holiday in Japan which takes place annually on November 23rd.  The law establishing the holiday cites as an occasion for commemorating labor and production and giving one another thanks.

Although there is a long history behind the Japanese Labor Thanksgiving, the modern holiday was established after World War II in 1948 as a day to mark some of the changes of the post war Constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of workers’ rights. 

Otsukaresama (お疲れ様) is one of those Japanese expressions that do not have an English equivalent expression.  Some translate it as “Cheers/Thanks for the hard work!” and is mostly heard in offices and work places.  During the Labor Thanksgiving Day is the best time to use this expression to give one another thanks for the hard work.