National Foundation Day in Japan falls every 11 February. This holiday was originally observed on the first day of the first month of the Japanese lunisolar calendar, but now it is kept according to the Gregorian Calendar.
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National Foundation Day celebrates the founding of Japan as a unified nation upon the beginning of the reign of Emperor Jimmu in 660 B.C. This occurred during the Meiji Period of Japanese history, but it was a long process before the Japanese Islands were truly unified.
The holiday’s roots hail back to the days when worship of the sitting emperor was promoted by the national government as a way of unifying the country. This method was used because of the numerous local loyalties and local gods worshipped throughout Japan as part of the Shinto religion.
It wasn’t until 1872 when National Foundation Day became an official holiday, and it was originally called “Empire Day”. Today, this is the day above all others when people think about the meaning of Japanese citizenship. There are also many flag-raising ceremonies throughout the land. Other than that, there aren’t a lot of public events to mark the day.