What are the do's and don'ts of baby showers in Japan?
By Tokyo Families | Ask the Expert
Photo © Elena Derevtsova
Question: My husband's Japanese work colleague and his wife are are expecting a baby soon and we'd like to throw them a baby shower. Are there do's and don'ts in Japan that we should know about?
Answer: The birth of a baby is always a joyous celebration regardless of where one comes from. Western traditions are celebrated in Japan like Christmas, Valentine's Day and Halloween, but baby shower is not one of them. Unlike in the US where a shower is held before the baby is born, the Japanese people do not celebrate until a month or two after birth. Most people claim that it is due to a superstitious belief that rejoicing before a baby is born might tempt fate and is therefore best avoided. Some argue that it is merely logical to receive well wishers at home and accept gifts only after mom and baby are confirmed healthy and have taken enough rest.
Baby shower may not be a customary tradition in Japan but doing so will be appreciated as an act of kindness. Before you do so, make sure that the parents of the baby are comfortable with the idea and that you are not imposing your own will on them. Gifts that are usually given to newborn babies in Japan range from cash to practical things like infant toys, baby wear, strollers, crib, feeding set, baby blankets, etc. Giving gift certificates from department stores or baby specialty stores is also common nowadays. Baby goods that you can get abroad and are not common in Japan may also be a good present.