National Foundation Day is a holiday in Japan celebrated on February 11th. This day celebrates the legendary foundation of Japan and the accession of its first emperor, Emperor Jimmu at Kashihara gū on 11 February 660 BC, over 2,600 years ago.
Today, it is one of the 4 main holidays in Japan, and people celebrate it by hanging the white flag and hosting parades all over the country. It is a patriotic time for Japanese nationals, although they don’t feel as nationalistic as would Americans on the 4th of July. This holiday is actually still controversial because it adorns the imperial system of emperor worship. Most Japanese people just view this day as more of a family day, where extremely busy company workers can take the day off and enjoy some relaxation with their family.
Emperor Jimmu is actually a mythical person, as there is no evidence that this emperor actually existed. The day was originally the same as New Year’s Day according to the Chinese calendar and it is believed that Emperor Jimmu took the throne on this day. On the Gregorian calendar, this day fell on January 29, which is the date when the festival was originally celebrated. At this point in history it was called Empire Day. In 1873, the Japanese Government decided to shift the day to 11th February, in order to make people realize the importance of the Foundation Day, although most people don’t idolize the emperor these days as they may have once done.