Holidays [February 2018]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Holidays [February 2018]

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

When the month of February approaches, the various events at the end of the year and the beginning of the year come to an end and our hearts are filled with a little sense of relief.

The ceremony which celebrates the arrival of adulthood used to be held on January 15th. At the time, it was commonly known as "the little New Year's Day" and was considered an opportunity to take a short rest after resuming work after the New Year break and the courtesy calls made at the beginning of the year. While this holiday originally had this importance ascribed to it, the Japanese government decreed that this day would now be a flexible holiday to allow people to enjoy more consecutive days off, the majority of Japanese do not know the origins and meaning of this holiday. Changing important things in such an opportunistic manner seems to be characteristic of the rootless and wavering nature of Japanese society today.

While I will concede that it is important to be open minded and flexible, these are quite different qualities from being irresolute and opportunistic. I do not think it is necessary to create a holiday to ensure consecutive days off. If having a series of holidays with one or two workdays in between is inconvenient for some, then this is something not for the government but for the private sector to address. The government ought not to decide what days should or should not be holidays but ought to judge what should or should not to be changed.

I understand that the government plans to make the first of May, 2019, the date of the Crown Prince's ascension to the throne, a national public holiday or an ordinary holiday. Making it a national public holiday would mean the holiday would only apply in that year. Whichever form is chosen, this would mean there would be ten consecutive days off. Since the last enthronement was declared a holiday, the next one should be treated in the same way. In this case, April 30th and May 2nd would not be holidays.

It is important to me that all Japanese people celebrate the enthronement of the Crown Prince and so from this point of view, the day should be a holiday. My personal opinion, however, is that it is not necessary to take into account other considerations. In the future, when we look back to 2019, it will be much more interesting to say "Oh, May 1st was the day emperor took the throne!” than to say it was “ten consecutive days off".
It should be up to us to decide whether or not to have ten days of consecutive leave.