5

建国記念日 BUT 憲法記念日

In the names of almost all Japanese national holidays we can see  の日 (成人の日、春分の日、昭和の日, etc.).

Why is 憲法記念日 different?

  • 5
    「記念日」とは、歴史的事実として日付が確定している日を記念するという意味があり、 「記念日」とは、日付は確定していないけれどそのことを記念する日という意味になります。 jpnculture.net/kenkokukinennohi – DXV Mar 18 at 0:35
  • 1
    @DVX すごく合致している答えで、Answerで書いたら?! – sazarando Mar 18 at 1:33
2

記念日 is a common set phrase which refers to "anniversary", or the day when a certain event actually happened, e.g., 結婚記念日, 終戦記念日, 開港記念日. The promulgation of the current Constitution happened precisely on May 3, 1947, so it's safe to call it 憲法記念日.

However, most Japanese national holidays are not associated with actual historical events or events whose date can be reliably determined. 建国記念の日 (February 11) is usually translated as "National Foundation Day", but this date is not reliable because it is based on the ancient Japanese mythology and lot of calculations. The situation is different from American 独立記念日 (precisely July 4, 1776).

~の日 and ~記念日 are naming conventions that allow people to establish a "memorial/celebration day" with an arbitrary date by avoiding the nuance of "n-th anniversary". To take another example, 成人の日 ("Coming of Age Day", second Monday of January) is associated with no particular historical event. It is not called 成人記念日 because 成人記念日 would sound like someone's birthday. Another example is ポッキーの日 which was determined merely because the appearance of the number 1111 resembles four pieces of Pocky.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.