National Foundation Day, Japan

National Foundation Day, Japan

National Foundation Day, Japan

 

Celebration Date
11th February
Other Name
Holiday Type
Not National Holiday

 

The origin of 11th February National Foundation Day is New Year's Day in the traditional lunisolar calendar. On that day, the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu was celebrated based on Nihonshoki, which states that Emperor Jimmu ascended to the throne on the first day of the first month. The day originally coincided with the New Year's Day according to the Chinese calendar and it is believed that Emperor Jimmu took the throne on this day. According to the Gregorian calendar, the day fell on January 29, which is the date when the festival was originally celebrated. It was then called the Empire Day.

It was in 1873 that the Japanese Government decided to shift the day to 11th February, in order to make people realize the importance of the Foundation Day. The government did not disclose the exact calculations used but propagated this day as the day when Jimmu took to the throne.

The National Flag is raised which is followed by a speech by the Prime Minister of Japan. In the era before the Second World War, this day was celebrated with a great passion. After the abolishment and the re-establishment of this day, there is no grandeur associated with the day. The schools and offices in Japan remain closed on this day and people often restrict themselves indoors. No grand parades or ceremonies are organized on the National Foundation Day of Japan. Although people can be seen waving the Japanese flags. The day is largely seen as one with only political significance. It was on this day in 1946 that the model Constitution was approved by General McArthur.

The new holiday was brought in to help promote the imperial cult that underlined the concept of the kokutai. This coincided with the switch from the lunisolar calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1873. In 1872, when the holiday was originally proclaimed, it was January 29 of the Gregorian calendar, which corresponded to Lunar New Year of 1873. Contrary to the government's expectation, this led people to see the day as just Lunar New Year, instead of the National Foundation Day. In response, the government moved the holiday to February 11 of the Gregorian calendar in 1873.

The government stated that it corresponded to Emperor Jimmu's regnal day but did not publish the exact method of computation. February 11 was also the day when the Constitution of the Empire of Japan in 1889 with the enforcement on November 29, 1890. It was at this time that the day of the enthronement of Emperor Jinmu, the first Japanese emperor, was made a national holiday and named Kigen-setsu. 11 February 660 BC was determined as the day of enthronement by calculating the date in the solar calendar corresponding to the date recorded in the Chronicles of Japan, Japan's first history compiled on imperial orders. 


 

 

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