Mother’s Day is celebrated here in Japan. I didn’t realize that this was the case. I thought that this would be the one year that we would skip Mother’s Day (perish the thought).
At Evergreen SGV, we encourage our missionaries to be culturally sensitive so I decided that I should vacate my normally insensitive self and learn how to say, “Happy Mother’s Day” in Japanese. I researched it and just in case you ever find yourself in Japan on Mother’s Day and desire to display your culturally sensitive side, this is how you to say Happy Mother’s Day in Japanese: "母の日おめでとう！”
Mother’s Day was first celebrated in the United States in the early 20th Century. It was not associated with pagan celebrations of mother deities. Rather, it was to genuinely honor mothers, motherhood and maternal influences on our society.
Our celebration of mothers was adopted around the world. If the actual day of celebration coincided with our second Sunday in May, then it is probably a direct adoption from America. Otherwise, the day would have been changed to fit pre-existing celebrations and be an adaptation rather than an adoption.
In Japan, children can submit drawings of their mothers to grocery stores who will then hang them up for display. Last year, it caused chaos in 7-Eleven stores across the nation. Yes, there are 7-Eleven stores everywhere.
One can see Western influence everywhere in Japan, from German Beerhouses to American McDonald’s. Yesterday, I walked past a store that only sold American Western clothing from cowboy hats to red bandanas (I wondered how they stayed in business).
Mother’s Day is another apparent influence from America.
It is our prayer that, someday, the entire nation of Japan will come under another influence from America…the influence of the gospel. Rather than just adopt Christianity, we pray that they would become adopted by our Heavenly Father and cry out, “Abba, Father”.
Once again, join us as we pray for the salvation of Japan and for people groups around the world. May they come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior!
And to all the mom’s reading this blog, "母の日おめでとう！”
Something to think about…
Missions Comment: Japan also celebrates Father’s Day (“父の日”or "Chichi no hi") on the third Sunday in June. Again, it shows that the Japanese are willing to adopt things from outside of their indigenous culture. Japan celebrates a secular Christmas, but does not universally recognize Easter. The Japanese people seem to be desirous of learning about Western ways and culture. Perhaps a way to share the gospel is by helping them to truly understand Christmas, something they already celebrate.