Bonenkai (year-end party) (忘年会)

Bonenkai (literally, forget-the-year party) is an annual event held at the end of the year by an organization or group to give those attending a chance to look back at the past year and show their appreciation for the hardships they have each endured, before forgetting the current year and committing themselves to making a fresh start in the upcoming year. If an organization or a group mainly consists of adults, Bonenkai is held as a party to drink together, therefore, it is a big opportunity along with Shinnenkai (new year party) for izakayas (Japanese-style pub) and party halls. Believing in omens, Kanji 望 (to hope) is used for Bo of Bonenkai in some cases instead of 忘 (to forget) as usual.

History of Bonenkai

It is said that the history of Bonenkai of Japan began in the Kamakura or Muromachi period and it is thought that behavior of people at Bonenkai was quiet and solemn such as composing waka poems. During the Edo period, it became an event for venting among the privileged class.

It was the Meiji period when the present Bonenkai, a festive event was established; it was widespread with catchphrases such as Bureiko (unrestricted binge).