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The Emperor's Birthday

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The Emperor's Birthday 天皇誕生日, Tennō tanjōbi is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar celebrated on 23 December of each year The date is determined by the reigning Emperor's birthdate1 Emperor Akihito was born on 23 December 19332

During the reign of Emperor Hirohito Shōwa period, 1926–1989, the Emperor's birthday was observed on 29 April3 That date remained a public holiday, posthumously renamed Greenery Day in 1989 and Shōwa Day in 20074

Prior to World War II, it was called Tenchōsetsu 天長節, "Tenchō Festival" Tenchōsetsu paralleled Chikyūsetsu 地久節, "Chikyū Festival", which referred to the Empress consort's birthday The two names originate from the Chinese idiom 天長地久, borrowed from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching during the reign of Emperor Kōnin, meaning "The sky and the earth, the universe is eternal", and expressed a hope for the eternal longevity of the reigning Emperor After the war, the new government renamed it to Tennō tanjōbi, in less formal language with a more literal meaning in 1948, when it was established as a holiday by law Under the law, the National Diet must convene and change the holiday date before the reigning Emperor's birthday becomes a public holiday5 Thus, there exists a small chance that the former Emperor's birthday may come before the change can be made

On 23 December, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace, where the gates of the palace are opened to public traffic the Imperial Palace is usually off limits to the public The Emperor, accompanied by the Empress, and several other members of the Imperial Family appear on a palace balcony to acknowledge the birthday congratulations of crowds of festive well-wishers waving tiny Japanese flags Only on this occasion and on 2 January may the general public enter the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace5

When the Emperor ceases his greeting, the crowd starts waving the flags again and the Imperial Family wave back6


  1. ^ "Japanese Holidays" japan-guidecom Retrieved 2009-12-23 
  2. ^ "Akihito" Britannica Online Encyclopedia Retrieved 2009-12-23 
  3. ^ "Emperor Hirohito" Spartacus Educational Retrieved 2009-12-23 
  4. ^ "Golden Week" japan-guidecom Retrieved 2009-12-23 
  5. ^ a b "Tenno No Tanjobi celebrates the Emperor's birthday in Japan" TokyoTopia Or Tokyo Made Simple Retrieved 2009-12-23 
  6. ^ "Traditional Annual Events" Japan National Tourism Organization Retrieved 2009-12-23 

External linksedit

  • The Imperial Household Agency
    • His Majesty's Birthday Receptions
    • Visit of the General Public to the Palace for His Majesty's Birthday

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The Emperor's Birthday

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