Holidays are an important part of our country’s history, culture, and tradition. Let’s learn about the Emperor’s Birthday, a special day that changes based on the birth date of the country’s current ruler.

Emperor Jimmu is Japan’s first ruler in 660 BC. In Japanese mythology, he is believed to be a descendant of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. Because of this, the Emperor’s birthday has always been a reason for celebrations. It was known as “Tenchosetsyu” (天長節), which was taken from a Chinese phrase that means “The sky and the earth, the universe is eternal.” But it was changed to “Tenno Tanjobi” (天皇誕生) after the royal family abandoned all political power following World War II (WWII). His Majesty Naruhito, the current Emperor of Japan, was born on February 23, 1960, marking this the national holiday.

The Emperor’s birthday celebration is one of the only two events when the general public is allowed inside the Imperial Palace grounds in Chiyoda, Tokyo. Meeting the Emperor may be impossible this year, but February 23 will remain a national holiday for many years to come.