Also known as Kenkoku Kinen no Hi, National Foundation Day is celebrated in Japan every year on the 11th February. It is a National Holiday that marks the ascension of the legendary first Emperor of Japan, Emperor Jimmu.
Striking! An impressive large, Bronze Okimono of Emperor Jimmu (Circa 1880)
It is believed that Jimmu became the Emperor on New Years Day (in the Lunisolar calendar) in the year 660BC and there are records of Foundation Day being celebrated as far back as the 7th Century when two ancient Chronicles of Japan (The Kojiki and Nihon Shoki) were written.
The Chronicles tell that Jimmu was a descendent of the Gods, however there are contrasting opinions among scholars as to whether he actually ever existed. There is sadly no actual compelling evidence to suggest he did.
Emperor Jimmu is believed to have descended from the Sun Goddess Amaterasu
In 1872, and as an attempt to promote the sense of National Unity, the government of Emperor Meiji declared 11th February to become an official National Holiday.
Despite the ongoing debate over the authenticity of Emperor Jimmu, Foundation Day remains an important date in the Japanese calendar and many people see it as an opportunity to learn about the country’s past, present and future.
On Foundation Day, thousands of Japanese people visit Shrines and Temples around the country to offer prayer for the Nations well-being and to listen to performances of traditional Japanese music.
You can read more about Emperor Jimmu by clicking here.
From the archives, this masterful depiction of Jimmu as an Archer
We would like to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy National Foundation Day to all our Japanese friends and followers around the world.
An Okimono group depicting Emperor Jimmu by the Miyao Company