The Emperor's Birthday in Japan in 2021

The Emperor's Birthday in Japan in 2021

  Dates of The Emperor's Birthday in Japan
2022 Japan Wed, Feb 23 National Holiday
2021 Japan Tue, Feb 23 National Holiday
2020 Feb 23, Feb 24
JapanMon, Feb 24National Holiday (additional day)
JapanSun, Feb 23National Holiday
2018 Dec 23, Dec 24
JapanMon, Dec 24National Holiday (in lieu)
JapanSun, Dec 23National Holiday
2017 Japan Sat, Dec 23 National Holiday
  Summary
The birthday of the current Emperor of Japan is always celebrated as a national holiday

When is The Emperor's Birthday?

Known as 'Tennou Tanjyobi', this holiday is celebrated on the birthday of the current emperor. Thus, if the emperor changes, the national holiday will change to the birthday of the new emperor.

Emperor Akihito's birthday was on December 23rd and this was the date of the holiday between 1989 and 2018. In April 2019, Akihito became the first living monarch to relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne in nearly 200 years.

His successor, Emperor Naruhito's birthday is on February 23rd is now the date of the Emperor's Birthday holiday from 2020.

The timing of the change in Emperor meant that this holiday did not take place in 2019.

History of The Emperor's Birthday

According to myth, Japan's first Emperor Jimmu, a descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, was enthroned in the year 660 BC.

While the historical dates may not be entirely accurate, it is a commonly accepted fact that emperors have reigned over Japan for more than 1500 years, and that they have all descended from the same imperial family.

Despite the fact that the effective power of the emperors was limited or purely symbolic throughout most of Japan's history, all actual rulers, from the Fujiwara and Hojo regents to the Minamoto, Ashikaga and Tokugawa shoguns respected the emperor and were keen in having the imperial legitimization for their position as rulers of Japan.

With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown, and Emperor Meiji became the head of state. Under the new Meiji constitution, the Emperor held sovereign power, and his political and military power was theoretically close to absolute. In praxis, however, the real power first laid with the oligarchic genro and later with the generals and admirals.

The postwar constitution of 1946 states that the emperor has only a symbolic function. He now mainly participates at ceremonies and diplomatic meetings but has no effective political power.

In May 2019, Emperor Naruhito became Japan's 126th emperor. The imperial family resides in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Princess Aiko, the only child of the imperial couple, is not an heir to the throne as the 1947 Imperial House Law states that only males in the paternal line can ascend the throne.

On the day of the emperor's birth, it is customary for the emperor, empress and the rest of the imperial family to make about three appearances on the veranda of the Chowaden hall in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

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