From Castle Day to Haircut Day, there’s an old-school, black-and-white video for any occasion!

NHK pulled off the covers of their newest daily video service at the beginning of the month and it’s actually a pretty cool concept!

No, you won’t be getting the hottest new shows in eye-searing virtual reality, and, no, there’s little chance you’ll actually have much use for these videos after you’ve watched them once. But for anyone acquainted with Japan’s calendar or who simply likes historical videos, this new “service” is a fun way to start your day!


Calling it a service may be stretching the definition of the word a bit, but NHK has started posting daily videos from their expansive archives. The topical videos are all quite old — seemingly ranging from the beginning of the 1940s to the mid-1950s — and are chosen to go with whatever day it is. In case you haven’t spent much time looking at a Japanese calendar, this might require some explanation — every day is some special day. For example yesterday, April 4, was Shishi Day, a day to celebrate the “lions” found at the gates of Japanese shrines and temples. So, NHK posted a 1949 video of actual lions being delivered to Ueno Zoo from the United States.


You can currently browse all the days for April, allowing curious people to see what things are celebrated this month! There’s a day for haircuts (April 5), the Boy Scouts (April 13), and textbooks (April 10).

▼ The 1946 video for textbooks shows how the books were once manufactured.


There’s even a Beer Day this month — April 23 — though we imagine none of our readers would be interested in something like that…

Of particular note is the video for Good Bath Day — the 1953 video was taken at a Gunma Prefecture onsen where the owners had adopted and raised two bears that had lost their parents. The video shows patrons bathing with the bears and, fortunately, no one being eaten.


The videos are often fascinating glimpses at daily life in Japan during the war and immediate post-war years. For example, the video for Beer Day features Japanese soldiers in China in 1941 while the video for Showa Day features a 1958 video of Japanese citizens celebrating the Emperor’s birthday.

▼ The video for Bread Day (April 12) features a video of bread being made with the wheat flour imported as part of the US military’s goodwill efforts in 1946.


Sadly, the site seems to be Japanese only, but even if you’re not feeling terribly confident in your Japanese language skills, you can still have fun browsing the various videos. We have a feeling history buffs in particular will enjoy digging through all these relics of the past!

If you’re still craving more old videos of Japan and Asia, we can help you with that!

Sources: Japaaan, NHK Archives
Images: NHK Archives