Japanese Language Blog

Japanese Culture: Kenkoku Kinen no Hi (建国記念の日) Posted by on Feb 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

Kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日) is a national holiday celebrated every year in February.  When translated into English, kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日) means ‘National Foundation Day’.  Kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日) is a day celebrating the creation of Japan as a nation under the emperor Jimmu (神武天皇).  It’s a day of patriotism for many Japanese citizens; the funny thing being that it’s a day that may be based on legend than actual fact.  Although Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇) is considered to be the first emperor of Japan by the Japanese people, there are doubts among Japanese scholars as to whether Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇) really existed.

Before the unification of Japan as a nation under the supposed Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇), the Japanese people identified themselves by their clans.  The tradition of identity through clan membership continues to this day, but not to the degree that it used to.  On kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日), the Japanese people proudly raise the hinomaru (日の丸) to show that they are one nation rather than a group of clans. 

The hinomaru (日の丸) is a Japanese flag.  It’s one of the simplest flags I have ever encountered.  A reddish cicle lies in the center of a white background, and there you go, that’s the hinomaru (日の丸).  If only filing taxes were this simple!  Although the design of the hinomaru (日の丸) is simple, the controversy surrounding the hinomaru (日の丸) is not quite so simple.  To some nations, particularly the East and Southeast Asian ones, the hinomaru (日の丸) represents a militaristic time in Japan’s past. 

Not wanting to offend these nations out of economic and political reasons, the Japanese government is taking pains to avoid any further controversy.  You’ll find that the kenkoku kinen no hi (建国記念の日) ceremonies are somewhat low key to avoid controversy.  Despite this, it’s still celebrated every year.

This gives you more of an idea of what goes on for this holiday:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6UbTIRRrHQ

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  1. Jugem:

    Hi, I’m Japanese.
    I think the YouTube link in the bottom is infelicitous for this article.
    Men in the video are ultraright-wing group of people.
    Ordinary Japanese don’t do the action like this.

  2. Ginny:


    The important thing is the article and if you read the article and understood it, you’ll see no mention of a right wing group or any comment about what Japanese do or don’t do. Please don’t take this post out of context. Thank you.

  3. Peter SC:

    I heard an interesting conversation between a Japanese lady and her americanasian daughter.
    ‘ Mommy , I like Miko . She is first Japanese I ‘ve got to know. ‘

    ‘Thats nice , are you glad to meet her.’

    ‘Yes! can I invite her to our halloween party?’

    ‘Ok!’ ‘ Can I invite her daddy too?’ ‘ No! ‘ ‘But why?’

    ‘He is Japanese and your father don’t like Japanese.’

    ‘ But mommy , you are Japanese?’

    ‘ Shut up , and I say no.’ End of conversation.
    Sounds familiar? Can any white American tell her why