National Foundation Day

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February 11th has been a holiday in Japan since 1967. The holiday is called Kenkoku Kinen no Hi (建国記念の日), literally ‘day of commemorating founding of the nation’. My dictionary says that the laws regarding holidays (1948) didn’t include any historical holidays. As a corrective action, this day was created to awaken a sense of national pride; this is exactly why it sometimes comes under criticism today. Many right wing groups, who would return to having a god-Emperor, come out on this day. For normal folk, it’s just another day off.

Some hold that Japan was established as a country 2668 years ago, and has maintained that status continuously. Each year out photo society takes a trip on this weekend: we stay overnight, stopping at scenic points along the way; eat lots of good food; and soak in some nice hot springs (温泉 onsen). Two years ago we hit Kashiwara Shrine. Last year we headed to see ancient homes in the mountains, but it only got a cursory write-up.

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