Welcome to the first day of Japan’s much-anticipated Golden Week, Shōwa no Hi — a day dedicated to remembering the past. Unlike other holiday celebrations, Shōwa Day in Japan is a moment to remember and reflect on Emperor Hirohito’s reign. Let’s take a look at the national holiday that has created controversy, enlightenment, and debate.

To begin, Shōwa Day is a Japanese national holiday that honors Emperor Hirohito’s birthday. He was the 124th Emperor of Japan, reigning from 1926 until 1989. Following his death in 1989, Emperor Hirohito was given the posthumous name “Shōwa.” Emperor Hirohito’s 63-year reign, which encompassed the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, is remembered today as Shōwa no Hi. The festival is supposed to be a remembrance of the past, not for celebration, but to allow people to reflect and look back. To understand Shōwa no Hi, let’s break down the language. “Shō” (昭) means “bright” or “shining,” and “wa” (和) means “peace.” As a result, Shōwa reflects residents’ knowledge, especially as they reflect on Emperor Hirohito’s reign.

Visit the National Shōwa Memorial Museum at Kudanminami, Chiyoda City, Tokyo, for a more in-depth look at the complexities surrounding the Shōwa period. You can dig into the rich and complex past through the museum’s library of books, publications, maps, and permanent exhibition spaces.