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National Day in Japan, February 11

I'm blogging again because today we have a national holiday in Japan.  Today is National Day or National Foundation Day.

Some people think that the origin of National Day dates back to 1946 when the new Japanese Constitution was approved by US General Douglas MacArthur on February 11.  It was no coincidence that the Constitution was approved on this date because it had been considered to be the founding day since the first known written history and had religious and national significance.

This holiday is actually very ancient and goes back to Japanese origin myths. The first Emperor of Japan is said to have ascended to the throne on the first day of the first month. That date was New Years Day under the traditional Chinese Lunisolar Calendar.

When the Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Japan, the government had to decide on a date for National Day in the new calendar. February 11 was agreed upon in 1873. At this time the Emperor was god and all powerful.

After a major war and changes in government in the 1940's, National Day was not as widely celebrated and most references to the Emperor were removed for a while. But, in 1966, the holiday was re-established as National Foundation Day and it kept the February 11 date for celebration.

Before 1946 the celebration focused on the Emperor as a god and was very nationalistic in tone. Today the celebration is more about loving your country and being a good citizen of Japan.

Personally, I am just happy to have a Wednesday off from work.  I get to blog and read other people's blogs. I also get to swim in the Community Pool. Last night after work I finished swimming 1 km in 36 minutes, while doing the backstroke. It is my fastest swimming stroke. Last year it took 40 minutes (not bragging on my new time).

I really love holidays.  Happy National day to all my Japanese friends.


Here are some links where I verified dates and things my students told me: 

Words or phrases to consider:





Lunisolar Calendar 

Gregorian Calendar 


Views: 161

Tags: Gregorian, calendar, emperor, lunisolar

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Comment by Expector Smith on February 12, 2015 at 13:17


Yes, the year of the sheep is just a few days away. My son was born in the year of the sheep, so he'll soon be 24 years old - his "recurrent year" in the twelve-year cycle. 

I wish you a very happy lunar New Year, too. 

Comment by Mr. Bob on February 12, 2015 at 4:04

Thank you Afro and Doc.  I wish you a happy New Year in China. Maybe this will be the year of the ram or sheep? It is the year of the sheep in Japan. I was born in the year of the rabbit which may be why I like vegetables so much :p

Comment by Expector Smith on February 11, 2015 at 11:41

Nice blog!

By the way, the Chinese Lunar New Year is around the corner (only a few days away).  We're preparing for the New Year celebrations. 

Comment by bet on February 11, 2015 at 5:28

Worthy blog..

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