National Foundation Day

Prasenjit Das
Dec 22, 2023 By Prasenjit Das
Originally Published on Feb 08, 2022
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
On this National Foundation Day, learn more about Japan and its culture.

Where is National Foundation Day celebrated?

It is celebrated in Japan, but with very little enthusiasm from many people. Before the Second World War, National Foundation Day was known as Empire Day, after Emperor Jimmu.

It was celebrated with much vigor and patriotism. Throughout the country, at the Imperial Palace and Shinto Shrines, large parades and festivals were conducted. Empire Day was considered one of the four major holidays in the country.

But after the war, various factors led to its abolition. Even though the event was later reinstated in 1966, it failed to regain the old enthusiasm and patriotism.

Who is National Foundation Day celebrated by?

The day is celebrated by Japanese people. Every year, the national flag of Japan is raised on this day, followed by a speech by the Prime Minister of the nation.

It is a memorable day for every Japanese person as the day represents the foundation of the country. On one occasion, the Prime Minister spoke about the purpose of this event: 'recalling the founding of the nation and cultivating a mindset of the love of the nation.'

When did National Foundation Day first start?

National Foundation Day started with the establishment of the country in 660 B.C. After the Second World War, the day was removed from the list of national holidays for some reason for a few years.

During this period, a few attempts were made by the ruling party to reinstate the holiday.

The Japan Socialist Party, leading the opposition, criticized the event by describing it as 'a return to a prewar period and the prime example of reactionary conservatism'. But in 1966, National Foundation Day was finally restored, and from 1967 onwards it was observed annually.

Who started National Foundation Day?

Emperor Jimmu, a descendent of the sun goddess the Amaterasu, was the founder of National Foundation Day or the Empire Day, as it was known before. The event was abolished for a few years after the Second World War and was reinstated again in 1966 by the Japanese government.

(Celebrate the day by participating in a parade and carrying a mikoshi to a shrine.)

History And Timeline

Foundation Day is a national holiday in Japan. The day is very old and has many controversies around it. Yet, it is observed every year by the Japanese people.

Founding Of Japan

The day signifies the formation of Japan as a country and the enthronement of Emperor Jimmu.

660 B.C.

Emperor Jimmu's Death

ccording to the solar calendar, the Emperor died on April 9, 585 B.C.

585 B.C.

Beginning Of Meiji Era

The enthronement of Meiji marks a new era in Japan. It was also proclaimed by some people that Meiji was a heavenly descendent of Jimmu. In this period, Japan shifted from the lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar.


A National Holiday

After making some amendments to the National Holiday Law, Nation Foundation Day was again added to the list of national holidays in 1966.


First National Foundation Day

There were objections before and after reinstating this day as a national holiday. Empire Day became National Foundation Day. Japan again celebrated this day on February 11.


Traditions And Customs

National Foundation Day is a public holiday. It commemorates the feats of the Japanese emperor, Jimmu, and the establishment of the nation.

The day is filled with patriotic passion and pride for all the achievements of the country. There are many activities that suit the spirit of the day, like learning new things about Japan's history and appreciating its culture.

Ways To Observe Or Celebrate National Foundation Day

 If you want to celebrate this day, then participate in a National Foundation Day parade, wave flags with other patriots, and carry portable shrines. You can also visit the place where Jinmu became Emperor, Kashihara Shrine, and experience the history that is associated with the foundation of the country.

Finally, you can take part in Kigen-sai where many parades are held at the same time as thousands of spectators watch.

Facts And Stats

  • 'Nohonshoki' or the Chronicles of Japan, records the enthronement of Emperor Jimmu and the foundation of Japan. It is the origin of National Foundation Day.
  • This year, we will celebrate the 55th National Foundation Day.
  • Before the Second World War, National Foundation Day was known as Empire Day. The name was changed because the Japanese government thought it had some negative connotations about the country's past.

Why do we celebrate National Foundation Day?

To recall and celebrate the establishment of Japan in 660 B.C.

What is Japan's National Foundation Day?

It is a day to celebrate the country's foundation by Emperor Jimmu.

How is National Foundation Day celebrated in Japan?

Many parades are conducted and festivals are held across the country to celebrate the day.

What is the legend behind National Foundation Day in South Korea?

National Foundation Day in South Korea represents the legendary formation of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C.

What are some of the benefits of celebrating National Foundation Day?

By celebrating the day, every Japanese person can have a feeling of brotherhood. They can sense the patriotic spirit of the country.

What are some important things we need to keep in mind while celebrating National Foundation Day?

That the day represents the foundation of the country, not its history of imperial orders.

Who invented the idea of National Foundation Day?

The event is very old, and it originates from the enthronement of Japan's first emperor to mark the foundation of the country.

When Is This Day Celebrated

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • Thursday, February 11, 2021
  • Friday, February 11, 2022
  • Saturday, February 11, 2023
  • Sunday, February 11, 2024

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Written by Prasenjit Das

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Prasenjit Das picture

Prasenjit DasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Having obtained a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature from West Bengal State University - Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College, followed by a Master's degree in English language and literature from Calcutta University, Prasenjit has several years of experience as a content writer, Prasenjit has mastered the art of producing cohesive and coherent copy. To further refine his skills and continuously challenge his creativity, Prasenjit successfully completed the "Introduction to Creative Writing Course" offered by British Council. Outside of his professional pursuits, Prasenjit finds inspiration in engaging in various creative activities, including writing poetry.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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