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National Foundation Day facts for kids

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National Foundation Day (建国記念の日, Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) is a national holiday in Japan celebrated annually on February 11, celebrating the legendary foundation of Japan and the accession of its first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, at Kashihara gū.

In 2015, the Junior Chamber of Commerce International Japan did a survey of 10,000 Japanese people and found that only 2 out of 10 knew that National Foundation Day was on February 11.


According to Shinto tradition, Emperor Jimmu ascended the throne in 660 BC. During the Meiji period, historians said this was February 11, 660 BC.

The holiday was celebrated for the first time in 1873 c.e. They called it National Empire Day. Historians believe the Meiji government did this to make the Meiji Emperor look like a successor of Emperor Jimmu. The Meiji-era constitution was announced on February 11, 1889.

During the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, the Allies cancelled the holiday. However, Douglas MacArthur did approve the new Japanese constitution on February 11, 1946.

After the occupation ended, nationalist groups in Japan tried to convince the government to bring back the holiday. After a few years, they did. They called it National Foundation Day instead of National Empire Day and removed most of the imperial imagery.

Today, some groups in Japan like National Foundation Day and other groups protest it because they think it is too close to the actions that led up to World War II.

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National Foundation Day Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.