So, I might technically be a day (or two) early, but this way there is no way that I can be considered late. So, before going into a mini Father’s Day in Japan post, I just want to say Happy Father’s Day! to my dad and perhaps any other dads that might be reading this blog.
Now, onto some details. Father’s Day in Japan falls on the same day as it does in America. However, the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) is still new. Both holidays came from the United States, and came to be celebrated in the years following the end of World War II. However, compared with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is not celebrated with quite as much enthusiasm. According to one survey about 70% of households celebrated Mother’s Day by giving presents or going out for a special meal, while only about 50% of that 70% did something similar for Father’s Day. Florists in Japan are trying to get people to give roses to their fathers in June, just like they give carnations to their mothers in May, but the practice doesn’t seem to be as popular. This is probably because most Japanese fathers would rather sit down to a nice cool glass of beer instead of a tall vase of flowers. Department stores say that the most popular gifts given on Father’s Day are polo and other casual shirts, followed by belts, wallets, and other leather accessories, with neckties coming in third. Not all presents are store-bought, of course. Many children say thanks to their dad in more personal ways – by writing him a letter, drawing him a picture, or cooking him a meal. I think we can all agree here that this does not stay far from what we do in America. I still remember going shopping with my mom when I was little and picking out neckties with matching work shirts. Here are the top gifts for Father’s Day 2009 in Japan according to one website:
⑥Beer glasses and sake cups
④Traditional Japanese Sweets
②Personalized beers and liquors
①Kids original ideas
Here is a TV spot from Fuji TV about shopping for Father’s Day in Japan to find that special and unique gift for daddy.
The first is a fruit vinegar drink (Citrus and Ginger Vinegar), strategically positioned in the men’s clothing section of a store to remind us that fat father’s need to slim down to wear polo shirts. The man actually says it is to “support the father to make a nice body in the coming year.” Nothing says Father’s Day like telling dad they need to lose weight! The second item shown is a stylish man purse for new fathers! It’s got a baby bottle holder and a pocket at the bottom for diaper storage. It is hoped that older parents will give this as a gift to their sons who have just become fathers. The final gift listed is, of course, sake/alcohol and snacks for the father who can’t go out drinking as much these days because of the bad economy.
What is a little different in Japan is that some elementary and middle schools mark Father’s Day by holding special classes on a Sunday in June. For dads who spend all their weekdays working (read every adult Japanese male), this is a rare chance to see firsthand how their kids are doing in class.