Meiji setsu (the birthday of Emperor Meiji) (明治節)

The Meiji-setsu is one of the four grand national holidays in the former public holiday system: the Kigen-setsu (the National Foundation Day), the Shiho-setsu (New Year's Day), the Tencho-setsu (the birthday of the present emperor), and the Meiji-setsu (the birthday of Emperor Meiji). It is November 3 in the new calendar. It is September 22 in the old calendar.

It was originally Emperor Meiji's birthday and the day called Meiji-setsu was established in 1927. This day used to be called Tencho-setsu during Emperor Meiji's reign, and the anniversary called Meiji-setsu was established according to public opinion and consensus in memory of Emperor Meiji, who was regarded as a great ruler who laid the foundations for modern Japan. It was abolished in 1948.

Although this day is called 'Culture Day' at present, it was in fact established to celebrate the promulgation of Constitution of Japan of 1946. It was issued in 1948 and has no direct connection with Meiji setsu. However, according to the Diet Record of February 26, 1948, there was a statement that people should remember what the Meiji period was like forever through the Meiji-setsu, during a discussion about the national holiday system change. It is not necessarily true that there is no direct connection between the Meiji-setsu and the establishment of Culture Day.

Meiji setsu is the first public holiday which was established to commemorate the birthday of an emperor.


The song named 'Meiji-setsu' (lyrics by Shuan HORIZAWA, music by Shu SUGIE) was designated as one of the school songs for public holidays in 1928.

[Original Japanese]