Keiro No Hi, translated in English as “Respect for the Aged Day,” is a Japanese public holiday celebrated every third Monday in September. It is a day to honor older adults, to express appreciation and gratitude for their contribution to society, and to celebrate their longevity and vitality.
Keiro No Hi originated in a small village called Nomadani-mura (known as Taka-cho today) in Hyogo Prefecture. The village hosted an “old folks gathering” on Sept. 15, 1947. It is said that the date was selected because the weather was fairly moderate and farmers were less busy.
Masao Kadowaki, the 35-year-old village mayor at the time, invited all villagers ages 55 and older to enjoy food and entertainment in the village auditorium. It was his wish to express respect and appreciation for the elder members of the village and to create a place where they could pass down their wisdom and share their experiences with the next generation. Masao felt that the wisdom these elders had would be the key to rebuilding and revitalizing the village.
Masao hosted the event again the following year on the same day and suggested making it a holiday. The movement eventually spread across Japan, and in 1966, the government officially announced “Respect for the Aged Day” as a national holiday.
Keiro and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) will co-host the fourth annual Keiro no Hi Festival, in honor of the Japanese national holiday, in a virtual format on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 2 to 3 p.m.
The festival’s video premiere brings together community members, organizations, and leaders to celebrate older adults in the community. The virtual festival will include workshops, entertainment, an arts showcase, and more for older adults and their loved ones to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes.
The festival will include:
- Performances by Asian Persuasion
- Rajio taiso demonstration by the Nishi Hongwanji Child Development Center kids accompanied by Ukes for Little Tokyo
- Speeches by Consul General Akira Muto and Madam Misato Muto
- Demonstrations by three popular Ikebana schools — Ikenobo, Sogetsu, and Ohara
- Conversation on senior safety with Art Ishii of Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do
- Tea demonstration by Ito En
- Second annual fine arts showcase featuring creative work by older adults
- Spotlight features about:
- Shodo for Little Tokyo calligraphy program for older adults
- Senior Wellness Program and its impact on the Venice Japanese Community Center older adult members
- Cooking demonstration with Yoko Maeda Lamn
The theme of this year’s event is “Celebration.” There will also be a pre-registered complimentary bento lunch and gift bag pickup for individuals age 60 and older, at designated locations throughout Southern California.