National Foundation Day in Japan in 2021



  How long until National Foundation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 141 days.
  Dates of National Foundation Day in Japan
2022 Japan Fri, Feb 11 National Holiday
2021 Japan Thu, Feb 11 National Holiday
2020 Japan Tue, Feb 11 National Holiday
2019 Japan Mon, Feb 11 National Holiday
2018 Feb 11, Feb 12
JapanMon, Feb 12National Holiday (in lieu)
JapanSun, Feb 11National Holiday
  Summary
Japan's National Day marks the traditional date on which according to legend Emperor Jimmu founded Japan in 660 BC
  Local name
Kenkoku Kinen no hi

When is National Foundation Day?

February 11th is National Foundation Day (Kenkokukinen-no-Hi), a national holiday for Japanese people to remind themselves of the nation's founding and foster their love for the nation.

History of National Foundation Day

It marks the traditional date on which according to legend Emperor Jimmu founded Japan in 660 BC.

Japan switched from the traditional Japanese calendar - a lunar calendar based on the waxing and waning of the moon - to the Gregorian calendar starting in January 1873.

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 Empire Day (Kigen-setsu). February 11th 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.

Emperor Jimmu is considered a direct descendant of the ultimate Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu. Ancient literature says that Jimmu was born in Miyazaki prefecture, Kyushu. He defeating every clan he encountered and thus united Japan. The Japanese Monarchy is considered the world’s oldest and longest-serving. There are many monuments and historic sites of the first emperor all over Japan.

However, many historians now believe that Emperor Jinmu's enthronement, as described in the Chronicles, was probably not a historical fact but merely folklore. The celebration of the legendary enthronement was probably done – at least in part – as a way to legitimize and enforce its new rule by making the Meiji Emperor a divine descendant of Jimmu.

Before the second world war, Empire Day was considered one of Japan’s four major holidays. It was celebrated with a great passion, pomp and circumstance. Large parades and festivals were held at the Imperial Palace and major Shinto shrines throughout Japan. Governmental offices and schools across Japan held many celebrations on Empire Day, but after the war, the holiday was abolished for several reasons.

However, there were so many complaints about the removal of the holiday that as soon as the allied occupation ended in 1952, legislators began lobbying to reinstate Empire Day. After nine bills, countless amendments and even a public survey, the day was reinstated as a national holiday, renamed as National Foundation Day in 1966 and first observed in 1967.

During public holidays, tourist attractions and public transport are generally more crowded. Hotels may charge a holiday pricing premium of up to 50% on normal rates.

Usually, a National Day of a country means plenty of pomp and patriotism. National Foundation Day does things a little different. Firstly, many think the date is so mythical that it makes it hard to relate to.  Secondly many think the original holiday was instigated to promote the Emperor and as such, led directly to the mindset that would result in Japan's disastrous role in the second world war.

The result is that there are no official celebrations of the day. In 2015, a spokesperson of the National Cabinet Office’s holiday section said: "This national holiday was designated by a government ordinance to reflect on the establishment of the nation and nourish a love for the country.

"Definitions of the National Holidays Law suggest that each citizen may observe national holidays in accordance with each position and condition," the spokesperson continued. "So, although private organizations run events to celebrate the holiday or express their objection to it, the government has never hosted any event relating to the holiday."

Did you know?

Three facts about National Foundation Day

Black cats are seen as a good luck charm in Japan.

In 1633, the shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, created a law that made it illegal to leave the country under the penalty of death. He also made it illegal for any foreigner to enter Japan.

Many Japanese words have been incorporated into the English language including the following - tycoon, tsunami, sumo, origami, soy and sushi. They even coined the word “emoji”, which is the name for the images that you see in your texts.

More facts about National Foundation Day

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