Japanese Mother’s Day Gifts and Celebrations
Have you ever wondered to yourself how Mother’s Day is celebrated in Japan? Well, this post provides the answer. Whether your mother is Japanese, or you simply wish to treat her to something a little different this year, a Japanese-style Mother’s Day celebration is a wonderful way to show her just how much you care.
Does Japan Celebrate Mother’s Day?
Yes! Japan does celebrate Mother’s Day, which translates as ‘Haha No Hi’. It is commonly believed that the first Mother’s Day celebration in Japan occurred on 6th March, the birthday of Empress Kojun, who was the mother of Akihito (Japan’s emperor at the time). The celebration later became fully established alongside the organisation of the Imperial Women’s Union in 1931. During the Second World War, the Japanese were prohibited from celebrating Western customs and Mother’s Day was brought to an abrupt end.
At least, until 1949, when the war was over and Mother’s Day saw a revival. The date changed to the second Sunday of May, which means this year, it will fall on Sunday 8th May. (However, you might wish to celebrate it on your national Mothering Sunday instead, just in case your mum thinks you’ve forgotten… for those celebrating in the UK, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 27th March).
Since its revival, Mother’s Day has been celebrated widely across Japan. Nowadays, many festivities are undertaken in celebration and it has become one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants and shopping malls.
How Is Mother’s Day Celebrated in Japan?
Although Mother’s Day in the UK is celebrated in March, Mother’s Day in Japan is celebrated in May – however both are celebrated on Sundays. Just like in the UK, the Japanese also don’t work on a Sunday and so people can share this day with their families.
Japanese children use this day to show their love and appreciation, and to give presents to their mothers. So, if you wish to follow Japanese customs to the letter (or to the kanji, you might say), you should rise early and greet your mother with a big bunch of flowers. Red carnations are the most popular choice in Japan, as they symbolise a mother’s purity, sweetness and endurance (qualities that we’re sure your mother possesses!)
Throughout Japan, many businesses decorate their shop windows with carnations to celebrate the day. Although carnations are not native to Japan, their symbolism has become synonymous with Japanese culture and society.
How to Treat Your Mum to a Japanese Mother’s Day
- Kanji (calligraphy art) prints
Young artist Saren Nagata has some beautiful pieces expressing sentiments that will bring a tear to your mother’s eye, such as ‘you made a difference’ and ‘sparkle with happiness’. She has also released a collection depicting a mother and baby (pictured, left), which are simply perfect for Mother’s Day. You can discover more of Nagata’s beautiful pieces over on our shop.
- Lacquer jewellery boxes
These ornately decorated boxes are made from the finest Japanese lacquer and will make the perfect place for your m
other to put her most prized jewellery and trinkets. Our selection of lacquerware includes our popular Butterfly Japanese Lacquer Jewellery Box, which features a delicate mother of pearl effect butterfly and floral design. There are many reasons why this makes the perfect gift but if you’re still wondering what’s so special about lacquerware from Japan, our informative blog post has the answers.
- Kokeshi dolls
Why not complement your flowers with a floral design kokeshi doll? The Camellia Flower Wooden Authentic Kokeshi Doll is a beautifully handcrafted piece with colours and patterns that hold a sentimental meaning. The red camellia is a Japanese symbol of love and the bottle-green dress and contrasting red floral detail give a striking, organic effect.
All of these Japanese Mother’s Day gifts (and many others!) are available from our website and come beautifully wrapped in a traditionally Japanese way. You can find some more Mother’s Day gift ideas on our other blog post.
Make Mum feel extra special this Mother’s Day by rustling her up an authentic Japanese feast. In Japan, many people celebrate Mother’s Day by making dishes with eggs; our top three eggy dishes for this Mother’s Day are oyakodon, chawanmushi and tamagoyaki.
- Oyakodon: This chicken, egg and rice dish is easy to make and tastes fantastic! The name literally translates to ‘parent and child donburi’ – so you can see why this dish is so popular on Mother’s Day. Check out this Oyakodon recipe to make your mum this tasty dish.
- Chawanmushi: Literally translated, chawanmushi means ‘steamed food in a cup’ (chawan means teacup/rice bowl and mushi means steamed). This Japanese dish looks and tastes like a savoury egg custard and is flavoured with soy sauce, dashi and mirin. Discover the chawanmushi recipe here and there’s even a step-by-step video on how to make it.
- Tamagoyaki: This Japanese rolled omelette is traditionally eaten at breakfast time. So, if you’re opting to make your mother a Japanese-style breakfast in bed, a good tamagoyaki recipe is the way to go!
How Do You Wish a Happy Mother’s Day in Japanese?
If you would like to really impress your mum this year and show her your appreciation, learning these helpful Japanese Mother’s Day phrases is a sweet gesture:
- Okaasan daisuki da yo – I love you, Mum.
- Okaasan itsumo arigatou – Mum, thank you for everything.
- Itsumo kansha shiteimasu – I’m always grateful.
Discover more traditional Japanese gifts on our shop.