– Celebrate Japan’s National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinenbi) on 11 February

From: DirectRooms
Published: Fri Jan 21 2011

According to legend the first Japanese Emperor Jimmu was a descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaerasu. He was crowned emperor in the year 660 BC. Myths may not be historically accurate, but it is generally agreed that emperors have reigned in Japan for over 1,500 years and they were all descended from the same imperial family.

In the Meiji period the day was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government. The purpose of the holiday was to promote national unity by focusing attention on the emperor. Originally the holiday was called Empire Day (Kigensetsu) and was marked by large festivals and parades. It was considered to be one of the four major national holidays in Japan. After World War II the holiday was abolished, but many voices were raised in protest so the holiday was re-established as National Foundation Day.

Today the holiday is still controversial and celebrations on the day are generally muted. It is viewed as a day for reflecting on the meaning of Japanese citizenship, Japanese flags are raised, but overt displays of patriotism or nationalism are rare. However, with Japan’s nationalist and Shinto past the event does occasionally attract some members of right-wing Japanese groups.

It is worth noting that in Japan if a national holiday falls on a Sunday then the following day is taken as a holiday in lieu. Although celebrations for National Foundation Day are muted visitors staying at a hotel in Kyoto may find this event of interest.
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