New alternative holiday systemKIM HYUN-YE
The author is the head of P Team of the JoongAng Ilbo.
A war lasted for more than 20 years. It is the battle between Crayon Shin-Chan and Detective Conan. Theater version of Crayon Shin-Chan based on Yoshito Usui’s manga series challenged Gosho Aoyama’s Detective Conan feature films every year for more than 20 years, except for 1997, and Conan has won the movie battle. The rivalry begins every year, on the third Friday of April, the so-called Golden Week.
In Japan, the holiday from late April to early May is called the Golden Week. The term was coined by a Japanese movie company to attract viewers during the holiday in the 1950s, and it has become widely used to refer to the period.
Film companies compete to release their movies for the Golden Week, and hits like My Neighbor Totoro and Romeo and Juliet opened at this time. The Golden Week has become a major tourist season in Japan and other countries.
While it is not as long as the Golden Week in Japan, Korea is to have more long weekends from August. A bill on holidays was passed by the National Assembly on June 29. When a holiday falls on weekend, people can take the following Monday off. This year, Koreans will have four additional weekdays.
The controversy over the alternative holiday goes back a long time. The name for the Lunar New Year changed from “Folk Day” to “Seollnal” and was made a holiday. The system of designating an alternate holiday if one falls on weekend was considered in the Roh Tae-woo administration in 1989, a year after the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
In the Park Geun-hye administration, the alternative holiday was allowed only for New Year’s Day, Chuseok (Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving Day), and the Children’s Day (May 5) in 2013. The government made the decision after industries protested that it has little effect in boosting domestic demand and only adds burdens on businesses.
Workers welcome government’s generous holiday policy, but some are sighing. Workers at businesses with fewer than five employees do not get August 16 off according to the Labor Standard Act. Also, people who don’t have money to spend on the holiday are complaining. As it is hard to get a job and housing lease prices are on the rise, the holiday gap is growing further. People need work-life balance, but what is needed now is a solid economy that creates jobs for the people.