National Sports Day
The second Monday in October, National Sports Day, is the public holiday to celebrate health and wellness across Japan.
In Japanese, the name is Taiiku no Hi.
This particular national holiday was created to commemorate the opening ceremony of the 1964 Olympic Games which took place on October 10, the first games to take place in Asia.
Tokyo, and Japan, wanted to show the world their efforts at recovery after WWII, and showcase the growth they had achieved. They succeeded!
Taiiku No Hi
The date for National Sports Day used to be fixed, and occurred on October 10 every year, the same date as the Olympic Games opening ceremony. This was a late start for the summer games, but it was thought to be the best time of year to guarantee good weather based on the Tokyo climate.
It was recently changed, however, so that it occurs on every second Monday in October. Perfect for a long weekend!
The 'Happy Monday' system, as it's called, was introduced in 2003. I have to say I do chuckle at the name, it always reminds me of the music group I grew up with in the 80s! The idea is a good one though, and needed in a society where 'karoshi' - death as as result of overwork - is a news story you will read about all too often.
In short, the Japanase government decided to change the dates of several national holidays, incluing National Sports Day, so that the vacation would land on a Monday giving everyone an extra day of rest.
Japanese School Events
Proud parents will take the day off work to see their children take part in the multitude of competitions that take place on this Japanese national holiday.
The picture above shows you children wearing red and white caps. This is a system that the schools use to let them have children join teams as needed. Need another member on the red team? Junko, grab this cap! Yes it's about competition, but it's also about taking part.