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What time is evening? People in Japan puzzled by official answer

26 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Have you ever wondered when evening starts and ends? It’s one of those things a lot of us think we know, despite never having been taught it, but according to a recent viral tweet in Japan we may have been wrong about it this whole time.

The tweet that caught everyone’s attention was from a university lecturer in Japan who specialises in meteorology. They said that when their child asked them what time it was, they replied by saying it would be evening in five minutes, which elicited a puzzled look from a passerby.

The reason for the puzzled look is understandable, because the time the conversation took place was 2:55 p.m.

▼ That means evening starts at 3 p.m.

Screenshot-2024-01-09-at-7.11.22.png
Image: Pakutaso

This news puzzled the nation, with people taking to the Internet to leave comments like:

“What? But that still feels like daytime!”

“I thought evening started at 4 p.m. — 3 p.m. feels too early.”

“I feel like everyone in the office slacks off after 3 so maybe that’s why?”

“I thought it was 5 p.m., seeing as that’s when ‘Yuuyake Koyake’ (‘Sunset Afterglow’) is broadcast on the local speakers.”

“So is it okay to call a 3 p.m. snack an ‘evening snack?'”

While many seemed to classify evening as later in the day, evening really does officially start at 3 p.m., according to the “Daily Time Subdivision Map” defined by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Screenshot-2024-01-09-at-7.09.37.png
Image: Japan Meteorological Agency

The subdivisions above are each three hours long, and set out as follows:

12 a.m. – 3 a.m. — Pre-Dawn

3 a.m.-6 a.m. — Dawn

6 a.m.-9 a.m. — Morning

9 a.m.-12 p.m. — Before Noon

12 p.m.-3 p.m. — After Noon

3 p.m.-6 p.m. — Evening

6 p.m.-9 p.m. — Early Night

9 p.m.-12 p.m. — Late Night

While the time of evening came as a surprise to a lot of people in Japan, the eight subdivisions remain constant throughout the year, which means some evenings may feel brighter than others, depending on the season. The light also differs from place to place, too, with darkness arriving earlier in mountainous areas and northern regions like Hokkaido, giving those residents a different sense of time that might seem closer to the official subdivisions.

So while the subdivisions might make more sense depending on the time of year and location, it’s good to know of its existence as it gives us a bar by which to gauge our everyday. Because as we’ve seen in the past, the light can look vastly different around Japan, and sunset comes a lot earlier in Tokyo.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan has only one time zone, and sunset comes a lot earlier in Tokyo【Photos】

-- Sleep next to the railroad tracks at the closest hotel to a train station platform in Japan

-- Secret staff cafeteria in Tokyo’s Kabukicho is a hidden gem you won’t find in travel guides

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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This is totally and completely wrong !!

Why do the Japanese always have to invent their own time things, such as hours marked as 25, 26, 27 ,etc, instead of 1AM, 2AM, 3AM etc?? WHY?!

Also, the chart in the article is another invention, nothing to do with reality. Is very easy:

Morning    5 am to 12 pm (noon)

Early morning   5 to 8 am

Late morning    11 am to 12pm

 

Afternoon    12 pm to 5 pm

Early afternoon  1 to 3pm

Late afternoon   4 to 5pm

 

Evening    5 pm to 9 pm

Early evening  5 to 7 pm

Night       9 pm to 4 am

https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/eb/qa/parts-of-the-day-early-morning-late-morning-etc

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Evening is for me when it starts to get darker until usual time to go to bed.

That's why you say : have a nice evening ! And not good afternoon with daylight time when you can work nor good night when it's time for sleeping.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I’ve heard in Japan people say good morning all day.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The puzzling thing is that there IS an official answer.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Why do the Japanese always have to invent their own time things

For convenience, the same as every other nation on the planet,

Also, the chart in the article is another invention, nothing to do with reality

Do you think there is some kind of universal "truth" about time denominations that can be proved as objective? because that is completely wrong. All time denominations everywhere (all words really) are inventions, including the example you confuse with "reality". Obviously an English dictionary is not a source that can prove denominations in Japanese are wrong.

The puzzling thing is that there IS an official answer.

That's Japan for you. You will be surprised how many things in the country have decided values and definitions when elsewhere they are just blurred, undefined concepts.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Japantime, this is because it does not mean "good morning" as in English.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The only rule I've been told is that you must wait until noon to say "konnichiwa".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

DanteKH

Why do the Japanese always have to invent their own time things, such as hours marked as 25, 26, 27 ,etc, instead of 1AM, 2AM, 3AM etc?? WHY?!

24H time is used in most countries, not just Japan. 12H time (AM/PM) is only used in a few countries, comparatively. (Personally, I prefer 12H time, as most analog clocks and watches are 12H.) They use both here, which can be confusing.

Where have you seen 25, 26, 27 being used? I would like to see an example of this, as I have never seen it before. Is it a bar/nightclub thing, as they are open past midnight?

The one thing they do here with time that makes no sense to me is, even though they use 24H time mostly correctly, they show noon as 00:00 onscreen during TV news and some wide shows, which is weird.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

3 pm?...just because some dude said so? lol, bollocks.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So people working the night shift may greet each other with "ohayou" because it's early in their day even when it's getting dark outside.

Related to this, it is relatively well known that for people working in showbusiness in Japan "ohayou" is the only greeting used at any point during the day, precisely because hours are so irregular so it is always early in their day for some people.

https://khiraki.com/?p=7968

(explanation in Japanese).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Seems the assumption in the above article is that 夕方 = evening. I guess evening is the English translation of 夕方, but I believe evening does not start at 3PM in English speaking countries.

I’ve heard in Japan people say good morning all day.

I once entered a UNIQLO shop in China around 8PM, and all the staff kept out shouting out "good morning!", just like staff in Japanese shops shout "いらっしゃいませ!".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I rarely, if ever use, good morning or good evening, I always say Hi or Hello. I do sometimes use 'Good Night' but not often. I am living in the UK now, and I do here people say 'Morning' but that's it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Roy

This is known as the "30-hour system" (30時間制). It's used for stating business hours, opening hours, and train time tables to indicate that the event is still part of the previous day or part of something that started the previous day (since with the 30-hour-system the "next day" starts at 6am).

Interesting. I haven't seen that. At least not in recent memory.

Maybe I had seen it when I was here in the 80's, and staying out late. But, not in recent times, when I'm home well before midnight.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The evening is from 6 pm to 8 pm. At least for me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

12 a.m. – 3 a.m. — Pre-Dawn

3 a.m.-6 a.m. — Dawn

6 a.m.-9 a.m. — Morning

9 a.m.-12 p.m. — Before Noon

12 p.m.-3 p.m. — After Noon

3 p.m.-6 p.m. — Evening

6 p.m.-9 p.m. — Early Night

9 p.m.-12 p.m. — Late Night

Early night “? Am I supposed to say Good early night? (O_O); Konbanwa means good evening and Japanese people say konbanwa at 7 or 8pm(!) (some people (like me) have dinner at around 8/9pm—which means that Japanese people feel the same way (we make our own reality)—evening is from 5/6 to 8/9); … maybe konbanwa also means good early night(?) (that sounds so strange btw)(!)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The evening is 5 to 9 for the Elvis household.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Konbanwameans good evening and Japanese people say konbanwa at 7 or 8pm(!) 

Workers here also say おはようございます in the afternoon/evening, when a signing in on shift work.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Farmers and fishermen don't care what time the evening is. They are up at the crack of dawn and in bed before night.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ukai fishermen care about the evening.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I do sometimes use 'Good Night' but not often.

The odd thing is that, in the UK at least, Good Night means Goodbye while Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening mean Hello. I wonder if Japanese people in the UK have great debates like this one about the stupidity of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I look at the watch and the outside light intensity and in rare cases in the calendar and then use what fits or pleases me. Such, 5p.m. can be afternoon on hot long summer days, and 12.30 p.m. can be early morning on New Years' Day when everyone wakes up late and with alcohol headaches from the long celebration party before.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When Peter Neil makes a martini, it’s officially evening.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Evening is after dusk.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

if the sun is up in the morning, it’s morning. After 12 noon it’s afterNOON. If it’s daylight after 6pm I’d say good evening, and when it’s dark it’s good night. But depends on the country. Morning, and afternoon are pretty well set I think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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