|The Emperor's Birthday|
Well-wishers waving flags at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on Emperor Akihito's birthday in 2016
|Official name||Tennō tanjōbi (天皇誕生日)|
|Also called||Tenchōsetsu (天長節) (–1948)|
|Significance||Marks the birthday of the Emperor of Japan|
|Celebrations||Public ceremony at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, imperial greetings|
The Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日, Tennō tanjōbi) is an annual national holiday in the Japanese calendar celebrating the birthday of the reigning Emperor, which is currently 23 February as Emperor Naruhito was born on that day in 1960, enforced by a specific law, "The Law for Special Exception of the Imperial House Law concerning Abdication, etc. of Emperor " of 2017.
During the reign of Emperor Hirohito (the Shōwa period, 1926–1989), the Emperor's birthday was observed on 29 April.That date remained a public holiday, posthumously renamed Greenery Day in 1989 and Shōwa Day in 2007.
Until 1948, 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 idiom in Chinese :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 holiday. Thus, there exists a small chance that the former Emperor's birthday may come before the change can be made.
On the Emperor's Birthday, a public ceremony takes place at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, where the gates are opened (the 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 greetings of well-wishers waving Japanese flags. Only on this occasion, and during New Year's celebrations on 2 January,are members of the public permitted to enter the inner grounds of the palace.
When the emperor completes his greetings, the crowd resumes the waving of flags, and the imperial family waves back.
In 2021, the visit of the general public to the Imperial Palace grounds on the day to celebrate His Majesty the Emperor's Birthday was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the appearances in the morning and the Signing of the Visitors' Book in the afternoon were canceled.
The Emperor of Japan is the head of state and the head of the Imperial Family of Japan. Under the Constitution of Japan, he is defined as "the Symbol of the State and of the Unity of the People" and his title is derived from "the Will of the People, who are the Sovereign". Imperial Household Law governs the line of imperial succession. The Supreme Court does not have judicial power over him. He is also the Head of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō, literally "Emperor, who the God approves". The Japanese Shinto religion holds him to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. The Emperor is also the head of all national Japanese orders, decorations, medals, and awards. In English, the use of the term Mikado (帝／御門) for the emperor was once common but is now considered obsolete.
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Empress Kōjun, born Princess Nagako, was a member of the Imperial House of Japan, the wife of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) and the mother of Shigeko Higashikuni, Princess Sachiko Hisa-nomiya, Kazuko Takatsukasa, Atsuko Ikeda, the Emperor Emeritus Akihito, Prince Masahito Hitachi-nomiya and Takako Shimazu.
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Naruhito is the current Emperor of Japan. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 1 May 2019, beginning the Reiwa era, following the abdication of his father, Akihito. He is the 126th monarch according to Japan's traditional order of succession.
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Golden Week or Ōgon Shūkan (黄金週間) is a week from the 29th of April to early May containing a number of Japanese holidays. It is also known as Ōgata Renkyū.
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The Empress of Japan is the title given to the wife of the Emperor of Japan. In Japanese, the empress consort is called Kōgō (皇后). The current empress consort is Empress Masako, who ascended the throne with her husband on 1 May 2019. The term "Empress of Japan" can also mean a female imperial ruler.
Shōwa Day is a Japanese annual holiday held on April 29. It honors the birthday of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), the reigning emperor from 1926 to 1989. Shō (昭) means “shining” or “bright”, and wa (和) means “peace”, signifying the "enlightened peace" that citizens receive. According to the now defunct Democratic Party of Japan, the purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign.
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Shigeko Higashikuni, born Shigeko, Princess Teru, was the wife of Prince Morihiro Higashikuni and eldest daughter of Emperor Shōwa and Empress Kōjun. She was the eldest sister to Japan's Emperor Emeritus Akihito.
Akihito is a member of the Imperial House of Japan who reigned as the 125th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, from 7 January 1989 until 30 April 2019, Heisei era. He succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father, Emperor Showa (Hirohito). Upon his abdication due to his age and declining health, he became Emperor Emeritus. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Naruhito.
On 7 January 1989, Hirohito, the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, died in his sleep at 6:33 am after suffering from intestinal cancer for some time. He was 87. The late emperor's state funeral was held on 24 February, when he was buried near his parents at the Musashi Imperial Graveyard in Hachiōji, Tokyo.
Tokuzō Akiyama was a Japanese chef who served as Emperor Taishō's and later Emperor Shōwa's imperial chef. He is regarded as an influential figure in spreading French cuisine in Japan. His life was adapted into a novel and several television series. He is regarded as the "Japanese Escoffier".
After 30 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne, the then 85-years old Emperor Akihito of Japan abdicated on 30 April 2019, being the first Emperor of Japan to do so since 1817. This marked the end of the Heisei era and the inception of the Reiwa era, and saw numerous festivities leading up to the accession of his son and successor, Emperor Naruhito. The Enthronement Ceremony took place on 22 October 2019. Akihito's younger son, Prince Akishino, is his brother's heir presumptive.
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