national

Japan’s newest holiday Mountain Day gets approval from Lower House

38 Comments

The Lower House of the Diet has passed an amendment to the nation’s Holiday Act which includes a new public holiday, Mountain Day (Yama no Hi). The next step involves the amendment to go into deliberation in the Upper House where it is expected to be approved again.

Although this comes as welcome news to the nation’s tired workers, Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean.

According to the amendment, Mountain Day is intended “to give opportunities to get close to mountains and to appreciate the benefits of mountains.”

Once the amendment is passed, Mountain Day will be Japan’s 16th civic holiday. It will be celebrated on Aug 11 from 2016. The Obon season generally takes place during August wherein many workers take their paid vacations, but this will be the first time an actual public holiday falls during the month. Once Mountain Day is enacted, June will become the only month in Japan without an official public day off.

Source: Niconico News

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38 Comments
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I don't care how many holidays they come up with. They can can call it "feeding the pigeon" day if they want, as long as they company will pay for my off days, I'm cool with it.

18 ( +18 / -2 )

Why doesn't the government stop controlling peoples days off and let them take vacation when they want. Everyplace is so crowded and expensive. For most of the work force they mean nothing anyway cause they work anyway. As for me, as I have my own school, I'll work through the holidays and take my vacations when everyone else is working. The mountains are people free.

11 ( +14 / -2 )

This is kind of meaningless but could be inconvenient. People already take holidays around this time, as stated in the article, but with an official holiday, people will be forced to take the vacations that include Aug. 11th--further concentrating the Obon holidays. It would have been much better to have designated a holiday in June.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yes! August is such a long month with no holidays; a holiday in Aug would be TOTALLY welcomed. Can't we start this this year?

4 ( +4 / -2 )

Fixing a random holiday to an arbitrary day gives us meaningless days off in the middle of the week. Why not make it the third Friday or Monday of August each year? At least then we'd be able to benefit from long weekends!

10 ( +9 / -0 )

The government doesn't need to fix national holidays. It needs to enforce and mandate that workers take all of their eligible days off with pay at the companies they work for. For far too many workers in Japan, many of the national holidays are meaningless non-events because they have to go to work and don't even get an exchange day for their efforts.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I suppose a random holiday anytime is welcome, but tagging it onto Obon does no one any favours. Companies that traditionally give their workers Obon off will begrudge the extra day (or extra two days, if workers start taking the 12th off as well) and will have to find a way to cope with the longer holiday, while the Obon season will continue to be far too expensive and crowded for reasonable travel for people who think holidays are for enjoyment. And people who choose to avoid the Obon holidays and holiday at less hectic times will miss out on an extra day off.

Instead of wasting time and taxpayer money fiddling around with the calendar, the lawmakers would do better if they passed some real laws with teeth in them that guaranteed workers their full quota of days off at times of their own choosing without the corporate bullying that goes on at present.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Once Mountain Day is enacted, June will become the only month in Japan without an official public day off.

Well something needs to be done about this.

5 ( +4 / -0 )

Ex-pats............even finding something to complain about when being given an extra day off work! Lighten up guys. I for one welcome any extra time off work, regardless of when it is.

-2 ( +7 / -8 )

These days off need to be coordinated with week ends or other days off/; Too often they have a holiday break with a couple of days then a couple of days of work then another day off or some sort of thing, streamline the days off so they can actually be used in consecutive lots.

Typical over complicated un coordinated organisation by those who sit at a desk trying to arrange everyone else's life's but have no clue about reality.

2 ( +4 / -1 )

Aopreciate the mountains... that will be PACKED to the point of you questioning why you stepped outside at all...

3 ( +5 / -1 )

'Instead of wasting time and taxpayer money fiddling around with the calendar, the lawmakers would do better if they passed some real laws with teeth in them that guaranteed workers their full quota of days off at times of their own choosing without the corporate bullying that goes on at present.'

Yes. I remember a manager at my company boasting that he hadn't used a paid holiday in three years as if that was something to emulate and some of our newer workers are terrified of using any of their entitlement. I've also heard the gallows humour of other workers telling me that Japanese workers can take a two-week holiday but their desk will be cleared when they return. Laws may be the only way to stop this unhealthy and entrenched working culture.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean.

"Arbitrary affairs" descibes so much of Japan thinking/decision making. Japan will never be confused with a "deep thinking" culture.

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

The holiday was originally scheduled to be August 12th to add on to the consecutive holidays of Obon, but before it could be put up for legislation someone fortunately realized that the 12th is the anniversary of the infamous plane crash of flight 153 in Japan (next year being the 30th anniversary) -- yes, where they crashed into a mountain -- so they changed it to the 11th.

Anyway, I welcome the extra holiday, but as usual unless I have days off before and after Obon ends I won't be going anywhere in the mass panic.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What happens on holidays in Japan? Of course you know the answer. People leave their homes, go out and spend money. Now isn't that a smart way to get money moving around? Oh, except that everywhere you go it's too crowded.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

I thoroughly agree with hereforever, but I've also heard what Jimizo says :

other workers telling me that Japanese workers can take a two-week holiday but their desk will be cleared when they return.

I guess that's what I miss about working in Europe... although I guess I couldn't really complain when I worked for a couple of Embassies where "western style" holidays are honoured, allowing me to take a whole month off every year whenever I wanted to..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sadly, it just means more unpaid overtime for many people.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I propose a name change: "Workers Too Oppressed/Cowed to Request Personal Vacations Day."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Great news but they should have put it in June because most companies already give O-bon holidays. June feels like the longest month since there's no national holiday.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We need some holidays in June. Pigeon day should be in June, I think!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about a gaijin appreciation day for June? After all, we do contribute a lot back to the Japanese economy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean

How did that thing come to surround the archipelago anyway?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a guy who runs a company, the endless number of meaningless holidays in Japan is getting to be a problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As a guy who runs a company, the endless number of meaningless holidays in Japan is getting to be a problem.

Meaningless as I just want to work all the time, or as in I can't fathom the part that mountains have and continue to play in Japan?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Daijoboots: "Meaningless as I just want to work all the time, or as in I can't fathom the part that mountains have and continue to play in Japan?"

While it may have some arrogant connection to Mt. Fuji being granted UNESCO status, if you honestly think they made a holiday so people can go and praise mountains, you're kidding yourself. Mountains play a HUGE part in Japan -- they take up more than 70% of the overall land in Japan, leaving only 21% of the land lived on. Other than that, and decorative and/or volcanic purposes, what role do they play?

I'm all for another holiday, as I've said, but pretending it's because 'mountains play a part in Japan' is just silly. This is clearly a commercial move to get more spending by trying to connect it with the Obon holidays.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I like mountains more already... Now give me my Beer Day in June and we're all set.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

More national holidays doesn't mean much in a country that either ignores them or demands workers work the following Saturday to make up for the holiday...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Bass 'I don't care how many holidays they come up with. They can can call it "feeding the pigeon" day if they want, as long as they company will pay for my off days, I'm cool with it.'

For a member of the American right who has criticized the lazy Europeans in the past, that comment could have come from the keyboard of a French leftie or layabout ; )

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought this was going to be about Mountain Dew.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mountain Day. Give me strength. This is obviously timed to coincide with O-bon to allow extended breaks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is One of the major reasons I liked living in Japan.... lots of Public Holidays. They added Umi no Hi many years back and now this. Gotta love it... I know the Japanese work hard and tend not to take many of their actual vacation days... but the abundance of Public Holidays makes up for it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree with the posters suggesting the 3rd Monday or Friday. Midweek holidays are much less useful.

smithinjapan wrote:

the infamous plane crash of flight 153

I think you mean JAL 123 which hit a mountain in Gumma in 1985.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

this would be during the kids summer break - and if this day becomes an official holiday, then the "gakudo" will be closed... it just means I will have to use my paid holiday (because I don't get holidays off from work) - wonderful (NOT).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

but the abundance of Public Holidays makes up for it. How? Nearly everyone I know has to make up those holidays at some point so they really aren't holidays. I don't get them off because there are "too many" so they get ignored. My husband's company ignores them as well. If any of my friends get them, they work the following Saturday to make up for the day off.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

but the abundance of Public Holidays makes up for it. How? Nearly everyone I know has to make up those holidays at some point so they really aren't holidays. I don't get them off because there are "too many" so they get ignored. My husband's company ignores them as well. If any of my friends get them, they work the following Saturday to make up for the day off.

The person you were replying to was most likely an ALT. Schools get all national holidays, plus a lot of time during August, December, January, and March off. It's nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of posters here want to see holidays on Fridays or Mondays to create three-day weekends, but I'd like to see at least a few of them locked to the middle of the week, particularly Wednesdays. I have not-so-fond memories of being an exhausted, overworked young salaryman for whom a mid-week day off to recharge one's batteries was very welcome indeed.

The recent switch to moving many of them to Mondays makes me think that the government was more interested in getting people to travel on three-day vacations (read: SPEND MONEY) than in keeping the poor beleaguered office workers healthy and energetic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Moondog: "I think you mean JAL 123 which hit a mountain in Gumma in 1985."

You are correct, thank you. I know it was flight 123 but for some reason it came up 153 -- must have auto-corrected, though I don't recall typing 153 anywhere recently. Regardless, still a good thing that someone noticed the anniversary and they changed the date for Mountain Day.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Schools get all national holidays, plus a lot of time during August, December, January, and March off. It's nice.

Foreign ALTs get the days off but many schools either offer classes on Saturday to make up for the lost lessons (at least my old private school used to do this) or they hold teacher meetings on a Saturday to make up for it. Universities here, unless national, pretty much ignore these holidays - too many on Mondays and too many PT teachers so they can't make up the lessons. Just because classes aren't in doesn't mean teachers aren't at work.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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