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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Home Life - HolidaysHolidays Arrow to Emperor's Birthday Emperor's Birthday - Japan

Emperor AkihitoA national holiday in Japan, December 23rd is a day for celebrating the Emperor's Birthday - by a throng of Japanese (and just as many tourists!) - who flock see the Emperor on this special day.

Banners, flags, well wishes, and a special address by the Emperor himself usually mark the occasion.

The day is also traditionally observed by the entire imperial family who smile and wave back at adoring crowds from the window of their official home at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The national holiday, called tenno no tanjobi, changes to celebrate the birthday of each new Emperor who "rules." Since today the seat of empire only extends to the Japanese islands, the role of modern Emperor is solely a ceremonial one in Japan.

The country is now a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government similar to Great Britain, but the tradition of Emperor is still very important symbolically to the Japanese, and the person who holds the seat still very much beloved.

Emperor Akihito

Born on December 23, 1933, Emperor Akihito was the first in the royal line of succession allowed to attend a grade school outside the walls of the palace.

He grew up to shock the nation by marrying Michiko Shoda, a mere commoner. Like any other normal family, they would later raised their children at home with them.

Ascending to the throne in 1989 after the death of his father Emperor Hirohito, Akihito became Japan's 125th emperor following a long lineage of Japanese imperial history dating back almost 2,000 years.

Continuing the new tradition of throwing off royal trappings, the imperial couple's only daughter Princess Sayako made world headlines when she also married a commoner, in November 2005.


More about the Emperor's birthday around the Web:

Japan Imperial Household

Emperor Akihito of Japan Profile

Royal News from Japan

also see in Travel -> Japan Tourist Attractions

also see in Holidays -> Children's Day in Japan


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