In Japan, November 3 is Culture Day, or “Bunka no Hi“. The present incarnation dates only to 1948, but Bunka no Hi follows a much older tradition. November 3 was the birthday of the Meiji Emperor (1852-1912) which was celebrated by the whole nation during the Emperor’s reign. The Meiji Emperor is credited for, among other things, ushering Japan into the modern era.
November 3 is also the anniversary of the creation of the post-war Constitution in 1946.
On Bunka no Hi the government awards the Bunka Kunsho—Order of Culture Awards. These are the highest academic and cultural achievement awards in the nation.
Each region has its own ways of celebrating the holiday, but throughout Japan, many communities host parades on November 3. Participants wear the uniforms and dress of olden days and remember the traditions of a bygone era.
“Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.”
— Kozan Ichikyo