Marine Day (海の日, Umi no hi), observed Thursday, July 22 this year, celebrates the ocean, its products, and the island nation that owes it much of its sense of identity.
A holiday called Marine Day seems fitting for a country that is surrounded by oceans, which have helped define a country and people. The relatively small country of Japan has the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market, the Toyosu Fish Market. Japan remains a major harvester of pearls. Sushi, a Japanese original, is enjoyed around the globe. Marine Day however is more than just a day to appreciate the ocean and its products.
Marine Day is one of three Japanese holidays that pay special tribute nature: Greenery Day (May 4), Marine Day (third Monday of July), and Mountain Day (August 11). To understand the importance of nature in Japan it helps to know a little about its native religion Shintoism, and the connection to animism, a belief that all things in nature have a soul, and are worthy of respect.
People familiar with the Miyazaki classic, My Neighbor Totoro, might remember the scene when the Kusakabe family pay a visit to the camphor tree near their new home, in a similar show of respect. Marine Day expresses respect in an almost religious way.
Marine Day, established as a national holiday in 1995, but existed before that not as a holiday, but as a day to commemorate the 1876 voyage of Emperor Meiji aboard the Meiji-Maru, the first iron ship build for the Japanese government, which played a major role in modern Japanese history. In keeping with the Happy Monday law, the holiday was moved to the third Monday of July beginning in 2003.
Many people visit the beach on the Marine Day long weekend. It’s also an opportunity for aquariums, fishing gear stores, and other businesses to hold special sales and events. In this spirit, StoutSensei.com will discount subscriptions 25% from today until Marine Day, July 22, 2021.