Emperor's Birthday, Japan


Emperor's Birthday (tennoo tanjoobi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


The date of this special day varies with the change of each emperor.

The Saijiki lists it as a kigo for late spring (it was April 29)

tennoo tanjoobi 天皇誕生日 (てんのうたんじょうび)
Emperor's Birthday (Hirohito (1926 - 1989)
..... Tenchoosetsu 天長節(てんちょうせつ) 

koogoo tanjoobi 皇后誕生日 (こうごうたんじょうび)
Empress's birthday (Koojun, 19023 - 2000 香淳皇后)
..... chikyuusetsu 地久節(ちきゅうせつ) 
kigo for mid-spring

The present empress, Michiko, has her birthday on October 20, 1934.

Akihito and Michiko

The Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日, Tennō tanjōbi) is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar. It is currently celebrated on 23 December. The date is determined by the present Emperor's birthdate.Emperor Akihito was born on this date in 1933.

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

Previous to World War II, it was called Tenchōsetsu (天長節), or Emperor's Birthday, but after the war the new government renamed it Tennō tanjōbi, or "The Emperor's Birthday", in 1948, when it was established as a holiday by law. Under the law, the Diet of Japan 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 23 December, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace which, usually off limits to the public, opens its gates. The Emperor, accompanied by Empress Michiko and several other members of the Imperial family, appears 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 Palace.

When the Emperor ceases his greeting (however brief), the crowd starts waving the flags again and the Imperial Family wave back.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


- Shared by Hayato Tokugawa
Joys of Japan, February 2012


kigo for mid-winter

December 23rd is the Emperor of Japan's Birthday (Akihito). This is a National holiday in Japan. The Japanese trace the lineage of their Emperors back for over 2 thousand years.

Called tenno no tanjobi, the national holiday changes as each new Emperor takes power in Japan. The previous Emperor's birthday often becomes a new special holiday.
For example, Emperor Meiji, the Emperor who took power at age 15 and whose policies were the subject of the rebellion in The Last Samurai, had his birthday on
November 3rd. That is now Culture Day (bunka no hi).
(kigo for early winter)

Emperor Akihito was born on December 23, 1933. He had four older sisters, but as the first born male, he was first in line for the throne.

According to tradition, he was taken from his family when he turned 3 and was raised by tutors and nurses. However, unlike previous royalty who were strictly kept apart from all "normal people", Akihito was in fact sent to school with regular children so he would understand better their plight and needs. He was only in grade school during World War II.

In 1959, Akihito decided to ask Michiko Shoda to marry him. Many were shocked at this, as Shoda was not an aristocrat. The family brought even more modernity into their lives when they chose to raise their 3 children at home with them, instead of sending them off into the hands of others.
In 2003, Emperor Akihito turned 70 years old.


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Meiji Jinguu Sai 明治神宮祭 (めいじじんぐうさい)
Meiji Shrine Festival
kigo for early winter, November 3

In honor of the birthday of Meiji Tenno 明治天皇.

A grand solemn Shinto ceremony is held to commemorate the anniversary of Emperor Meiji's birthday. During the ceremony, Yoyogi-no-Mai is performed.

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Yoyogi-no-mai 豊寿舞 ("Dance of Yoyogi")
The words were written by emperor Meiji:

Inquire into what befalls
Through ancient history.
And render clear the many doubts
That puzzle men today!

(That means, developing new ideas based on study of the past.)

source : Meiji Jingu HP

Toyohogi no mai 豊寿舞(とよほぎのまい)
Yoyogi 代々木


Some other festivals at Shrine Meiji Jingu

Jan. 7 Musashino-Goryo-Yohaishiki
Emperor Showa Memorial Day rite

Feb. 11 Kigensai
National Foundation Day festival

Mar. 20 or 21 (vernal equinox) Koreiden-Yohaishiki
Paying respect towards the Imperial Palace sanctuary Koreiden
(also on the autumn equinox, September 23)

April 3 Unebiyama-Yohaishiki
Emperor Jinmu Memorial Day rite

April 11 Shoken-Kotaigo-Sai
Empress Shoken Memorial Ceremony

May 5 or 6 (Rikka, first day of summer) Onzosai
Ceremony of the changing of the divine robes

July 30 Meiji-Tenno-Sai
Emperor Meiji Memorial Ceremony

First Sunday in October
Ningyo-Kanshasai Festival

Oct. 18 or 19 Keneihikoshiki 献詠披講式
Ceremonial recital of poems

Nov. 1 Chinzakinensai
Meiji Jingu Enshrinement Anniversary Ceremony

Nov. 7 or 8 (Ritto, first day of winter) Onzosai
Ceremony of the changing of the divine robes

Nov. 23 Niinamesai : Harvest Ceremony

Dec. 23 Tenchosai
Celebration of the current Emperor's birthday

Meiji Shrine
dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

English HP of the shrine:
source : www.meijijingu.or.jp

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


aku-oo mo bon-oo mo ori tennoo tanjoobi

some kings are bad
some kings are normal -
emperor's birthday

Kanzemi 寒蝉


birthday kisses -
the lingering taste
of honey

November 3, birthday of Gabi Greve


Emperor's Birthday--
when time honoured traditions
join past to present

Patrick Duffey
source : my facebook friends

Related words

***** Birthday (tanjoobi)

***** . bunka no hi 文化の日 culture day

Meijisetsu 明治節(めいじせつ)Meiji seasonal festival
bunkasai 文化祭(ぶんかさい)
Third of November, a national holiday

***** . "Ten thousand years 萬歳 10000 years"  

***** . Memorial Days of Famous People



Anonymous said...

PMJS: Premodern Japanese Studies

Having assigned to my students Amino Yoshihiko's 1992 article,
"Deconstructing Japan," I recently went back to re-read some of Amino's other works.

I was struck anew by the boldness of his arguments, in particular, those regarding the mytho-notion of a Japanese mono-culture existing prior to the early modern era. There can be no doubt that Amino's work has had a profound impact on the field but I wonder if there is anyone who has taken up his torch with quite the same enthusiasm. I can't say I've seen strong echos of Amino-sensei in recent medieval scholarship.

I have a question along these lines. I recall years ago reading about how the word Tenno appeared quite early on (Asuka period?) but then fell out of use, only to reappear quite some time later.

I'd be grateful if someone could guide me back to where I might have read about this but more important, I'm curious about the broader implications of the word's invention, disappearance, then reemergence.
In particular, I'm most interested in gaining a better grasp of the significance of this "now-you-see-it, now-you-don't" type phenomenon within the context of the nexus that Amino claimed existed between the notion of a "tenno" and the "country" of "Nippon/Hi no moto."

Matthew Stavros

Read more of this discussion here

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

tennoo no sode ni hito fusa inaho kana

at the sleeve
of the Tenno one fringe
of rice . . .

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Aoyama 青山 Aoyama district, "Green Mountain"
港区 Minato ward 北青山一丁目から三丁目 Kita-Aoyama North, first to third sub-district
南青山一丁目から七丁目 Minami-Aoyama South, first to seventh district
and Omote sandoo, Omotesandō 表参道 Omotesando


Gabi Greve said...

モノが語る明治教育維新 第14回―文部省発行の家庭教育錦絵 (4)
Sanseido Word-Wise Web [三省堂辞書サイト]
Meiji Educational Reform, No. 14,
Woodblock prints of home education issued by the Ministry of Education

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