National Foundation Day
Japan's fascinating history includes epic battles and legendary figures, leading to the creation of a unique culture still thriving today.
Also known as Kenkoku Kinen no Hi, National Foundation Day is a public holiday in Japan that marks the country’s legendary founding by the first emperor, Jimmu, and serves as a time for the nation to reflect on its identity. From traditional ceremonies to modern celebrations, the day is filled with various activities for all to enjoy and learn more about the country’s rich history and culture. Join in the festivities and discover the significance of this important day in Japan.
History of National Foundation Day
The history of National Foundation Day traces back to the 7th century, when the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, two ancient Japanese chronicles, were written. These texts tell the story of Jimmu, who is said to have descended from the gods and became the first emperor of Japan in 660 BC. However, it should be noted that the historical accuracy of these stories is debated among scholars.
Originally called “Empire Day”, the holiday was officially established in 1872 during the Meiji period, as part of the government’s efforts to promote a sense of national unity. The Meiji government sought to establish a centralized state and to instill pride among its citizens by promoting the idea of a long and unbroken imperial line, rooted in the legendary origins of the emperor.
Despite ongoing debate about the authenticity of the stories surrounding Jimmu, National Foundation Day remains an important public holiday in Japan, and is an opportunity for people to come together and to learn about its past, present and future.
How to Celebrate National Foundation Day
National Foundation Day is celebrated on February 11th each year in Japan. The holiday is celebrated throughout the country, with events and activities taking place in cities, towns, and villages. It is celebrated by people of all ages and backgrounds, from schoolchildren to elderly citizens. Some of the ways National Foundation day is celebrated include:
Visiting a Shrine or Temple
One of the traditional ways to celebrate National Foundation Day is to visit a shrine or temple. Many shrines and temples hold special events on this day, such as performances of traditional music, and the offering of prayers for the nation’s well-being.
Participating in a Traditional Ceremony
For those who are interested in experiencing the traditional culture of Japan, taking part in a traditional ceremony on National Foundation Day is a great way to do so. The Daijosai, which is a ceremony performed by the Emperor to give thanks to the gods, is one such traditional ceremony that is open to the public.
Learning about Japanese History and Culture
One of the best ways to celebrate is to learn about the history of Japan. Many local governments and organizations hold events and exhibitions on this day, including lectures and workshops that educate the public about Japanese culture.