The Emperor's Birthday

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The Emperor's Birthday
Emperorofjapan-flags-dec23-2016.jpg
Well-wishers waving flags at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on Emperor Akihito's birthday in 2016
Official nameTennō tanjōbi (天皇誕生日)
Also calledTenchōsetsu (天長節) (–1948)
Observed byJapan
TypeNational, Public
SignificanceMarks the birthday of the Emperor of Japan
CelebrationsPublic ceremony at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, imperial greetings
Date 23 February
The Imperial family on the birthday of Emperor Akihito, 2005 TennoTanjobiM1085.jpg
The Imperial family on the birthday of Emperor Akihito, 2005

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  [ ja ]" of 2017. [1]

Contents

History

During the reign of Emperor Hirohito (the Shōwa period, 1926–1989), the Emperor's birthday was observed on 29 April. [2] That date remained a public holiday, posthumously renamed Greenery Day in 1989 and Shōwa Day in 2007. [3]

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. [4] Thus, there exists a small chance that the former Emperor's birthday may come before the change can be made.

Observance

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, [5] 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. [6]

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. [7]

Related Research Articles

Emperor of Japan Head of state of Japan

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.

Hirohito Emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989

Hirohito was the 124th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, ruling over the Empire of Japan from 25 December 1926 until 2 May 1947, after which he was Emperor of the state of Japan until his death. He was succeeded by his fifth child and eldest son, Akihito. Hirohito and his wife, Empress Kojun, had seven children, two sons and five daughters. In Japan, reigning emperors are known only as "the Emperor." He is now referred to primarily by his posthumous name, Shōwa (昭和), which is the name of the era coinciding with his reign; for this reason, he is also known as the Shōwa Emperor or Emperor Shōwa. By 1979, Hirohito was the only monarch in the world with the title "emperor." Hirohito was the longest-lived and longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in the world.

Emperor Fushimi Emperor of Japan

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Empress Kōjun 20th-century Empress of Japan

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.

Emperor Sanjō Emperor of Japan

Emperor Sanjō was the 67th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Naruhito Emperor of Japan

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.

Tokyo Imperial Palace Usual residence of the Emperor of Japan

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda district of the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains several buildings including the main palace, some residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and administrative offices.

Empress Michiko Wife of Akihito, the 125th Emperor of Japan

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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.

Empress Teimei Empress consort of Japan

Empress Teimei, born Sadako Kujō, was the wife of Emperor Taishō and the mother of Emperor Shōwa of Japan. Her posthumous name, Teimei, means "enlightened constancy".

Empress of Japan

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Shōwa Day

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.

Controversies regarding the role of the Emperor of Japan

There have been several controversies regarding the role and the status of the Emperor of Japan. This is due in part to the variety of roles the Emperor has historically filled, as well as the competition for power with other parts of Japanese society at several points in history.

Imperial House of Japan Members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan

The Imperial House of Japan, also referred to as the Imperial Family or the Yamato dynasty, comprises those members of the extended family of the reigning Emperor of Japan who undertake official and public duties. Under the present Constitution of Japan, the Emperor is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people". Other members of the Imperial Family perform ceremonial and social duties, but have no role in the affairs of government. The duties as an Emperor are passed down the line to their male children.

Reigning Emperor or Majesty, according to protocol, is the honorific title used in Japan to refer to the current Emperor of Japan instead of using their personal name, as is done in the West. The only context where the personal name is used is when referring to their time before taking the throne.

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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 Emperor of Japan from 1989 to 2019

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

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".

2019 Japanese imperial transition Japanese imperial abdication and transition

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.

References

  1. "「国民の祝日」について" [About "national holiday"]. Cabinet Office (Japan) . Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  2. "Emperor Hirohito". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  3. "Golden Week". japan-guide.com. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  4. "Tenno No Tanjobi celebrates the Emperor's birthday in Japan". TokyoTopia Or Tokyo Made Simple. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  5. "Visit of the General Public to the Palace for the New Year Greeting". Imperial Household Agency.
  6. "Traditional Annual Events". Japan National Tourism Organization . Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  7. "Visit of the General Public to the Palace for His Majesty's Birthday". Imperial Household Agency, Japan . Retrieved 23 February 2021.