Mother’s day in Japan

Japanese modern lifestyle

Hello! Do you celebrate Mother’s day in your country?

Japanese celebrate Mother’s day on second Sunday of May every year. It’s 9th May this year.

It may be difficult to express the feelings of gratitude to your moms in daily basis but you can use this day as a good opportunity. It is common to add small gifts such as flowers and sweets that your mother likes.

Also, for women who became a mother and in a position to be said “thank you” from your children, you must feel even more special days than before.

How do Japanese people spend Mother’s Day? Is there any difference from overseas? Today I would like to introduce Mother’s Day.

When and how we start Mother’s day

There are many origins of Mother’s Day in the world, but Mother’s Day in Japan is a custom that came from the United States.

The beginning of American Mother’s day

It dates back to the Civil War era of the 1860s. At that time, in the chaos of the battlefield, a woman named Ann Jarvis stood up and carried out medical assistance activities and peace activities, and saved a lot of people.

After her death on May 9, 1905, her daughter Anna Jarvis decided to hold her memorial to pass on her mother’s great achievements to posterity. Anna handed out a white carnation that her mother liked to the participants and also placed it to her mother.

This is the beginning of Mother’s Day. Carnations have become a symbol of Mother’s Day, and we are now giving away carnations on Mother’s Day.

Starts in Japan

After World War II, American Mother’s Day culture was introduced to Japan, but initially it was known only to some people attending church.

In 1973, one of Japan’s largest confectionery companies, Morinaga, launched a Mother’s Day campaign on a large scale and gradually became widely recognized.

After that, the second Sunday in May became established as Mother’s Day, and now it is as important as a birthday for mothers. There are so many colors for carnations but red is the most popular color. Red carnation means “Mom’s love”.

What do we do on Mother’s day?

So how do we spend Mother’s Day in modern Japanese family?

When kids are small

When a child is still small, she/he makes a carnation craft with origami paper at a kindergarten or elementary school and gives it to her/his mom with a message card. Or, cooking dinner with her/his dad is also a good and common idea.

When I was little, I often made “help tickets” and gave them to my mother. A help ticket was a ticket to help my mother, such as “tapping your shoulders”, “folding the laundry”, and “washing the dishes” etc. My mom could use the ticket to take a short break on days when she was tired and unable to do household works. It’s still a common gift in today.

As kids grow

When a kid reaches the upper grades or above, she/he can buy real carnations or give small sweets or hand towels etc. with the pocket money they have saved.

After she/he starts working and lives away from mom’s home, they still send flowers and invite them to dinner etc. If you have siblings, it’s common to share the idea and send a gift together.

Mother’s Day is one of the events that we want to keep celebrating without forgetting to thank our mothers.

What is it like in overseas?

There are many countries that celebrate Mother’s Day. According to my research, it seems to be like below. How about in your country?


Same as in Japan, it is customary to give flowers on the second Sunday of May.


They give chrysanthemum flowers instead of carnation. Mother’s Day is a big event in Australia and you can see people selling bouquets along the road.


Mothers do nothing on Mother’s Day. Other family members work together to do the housework, and moms spend their time going to the hair dresser, meeting friends, and doing whatever they want.


There is no Mother’s Day in Korea, but they celebrate “Parents’ Day” on May 8th. Money is said to be the most popular gift in Korea.


Mother’s Day is March 21st. In March, a set of cups, trays, scarves and other items that could be gifts for Mother’s Day will begin to line up on the street corner. It is a national even there.

Let’s spend this day as a special day!

Mother’s day is coming soon! Have you prepared well?

Nowadays, you can conveniently find gifts for Mother’s Day online, so even mothers living far away should still have gifts in time. Even if you don’t have a gift, just saying “Thank you” on the phone will surely please your mom. Let’s have a good Mother’s Day.

Happy mother’s day!!


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