Day (Kenkoku kinen-no-hi). According to Nihonshoki – Japanese Chronicles – it is February
11, 660 BC
when the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu ascended to the throne and
by legend originated Japanese nation. It was celebrated as Empire Day till
World War II. After war this national holiday was abolished, but 20 years later
it was restored in 1966 and since 1967 all Japanese celebrate the birthday of
their country on February 11.
Though Jimmu’s existence has not been
historically proved, pre-war holiday was used for glorification of Imperial
Power. And restoration of this holiday under another sign caused sharp debates
in political circles of the country. Such debates were partly because of the
fact that opposition forces feared restoration of pre-war Japanese militarism
system. Even in our days National Foundation Day is the reason for political
battles between some parties in Japan.
For ordinary Japanese political motives of the holiday
are not crucial. They are patriots of their country devoting this time to their
families, friends or doing recreation activities outdoors.