Japan’s Candle Night

Japan’s Candle Night initiative simply suggests that people switch off their lights for two hours, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on the night of the summer solstice to enjoy some time by candlelight. On June 21, 2009, major facilities and businesses in Japan turned their lights off from 8 to 10 pm. This year’s summer solstice also marks the sixth anniversary of an event called Candle Night since it was started in 2003. The idea of holding Candle Night in Japan, where people turn off their lights and light candles in unison, was originally inspired by the Voluntary Blackout movement in Canada, launched in 2001.

During the summer of 2008, businesses and facilities all over Japan to turned out their lights during two events. One was Black Illumination 2008, held on June 21. The other was Lights-Down at the Star Festival on July 7. Between the two events, a total of 149,939 facilities joined the campaign, reducing the amount of electricity used by approximately 2,371,786.51 kilowatts. This translates into 925 tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the total daily emission of 64,000 households.

The event now spreads across the world. The Korean Environmental Women’s Network, a non-governmental organization in Korea, worked closely with Japanese Candle Night organizers to hold their own Candle Night. Events were also held in Taiwan, Australia, China (Shanghai), Mauritius, and many other countries. The Candle Night Committee now sends out newsletters in English to over 70 countries in its bid to connect activities and shared feelings in each country and around the world.

For more information, visit the Candle Night website.