Tag Archives: Emperor

Emperor’s birthday

24 Dec

Today is Christmas Eve.

In many ways X-mas and New Years are exact opposites of each other in Japan and Western countries.

In Western countries, Xmas is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering Xmas cards, many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts to children.
And then New Years is celebrated on New Years Eve and quietly ends the next day.

In Japan, it’s the other way around.
Here, Christmas is often celebrated in Xmas Eve by couples going on a date and families having a dinner of chicken and Xmas cake for dessert (just as many people have this dinner on Xmas Day as do on Xmas Eve). But Xmas ends quietly and people get ready for New Years…Japan’s biggest holiday.
Just like Xmas in the West, in Japan New Years is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering 年賀状 (New Years postcards), many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts (お年玉) to children.

Click here to read the post I wrote about Japanese Xmas last year.

Also, yesterday was 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday).
Christmas isn’t a legal holiday in Japan…it’s a regular work / school day, but the Emperor’s birthday is a legal holiday.
It’s also one of the only two times a year that the public is allowed inside the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace (the other time is just after the New Year).
People who go into the Palace grounds can see the Japanese Royal Family and hear the Emperor give his annual birthday speech.

Last year, I wrote a post about the Emperor’s birthday too. Click here to read it.

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Completely unrelated, but I heard about a website called 「美人時計」 (“Beautiful Girl Clock“).

It show a new photograph every minute of a pretty girl in the Tokyo holding a board with the current time (of course in Japanese Standard Time (JST)).

This site is extremely popular. So they decided to make another version…now there’s a 「ギャル時計」 (“Gal Clock“) too.
Gal” is a type of 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo) girl fashion.

Click here for the 「美人時計」 (“Beautiful Girl Clock“).
And Click here for the 「ギャル時計」 (“Gal Clock“)

“Tara-chan”

14 Nov

Last November 12 was the Emperor of Japan’s 20th anniversary on the throne (I mentioned it on this post).

A special ceremony was held to mark the occasion. The Emperor gave a speech at the ceremony…he said, among other things, that he hopes that the younger generations won’t forget the horrors of WW2 and repeat the mistakes.

The Japanese Emperor & Empress at the ceremony to mark the Emperor's 20th anniversary on the throne.

The Japanese Emperor & Empress at the ceremony to mark the Emperor's 20th anniversary on the throne.

And U.S. President Obama was in Tokyo yesterday and today. He met with Japan’s Prime Minister and also with the Emperor of Japan.

emperor-obama

U.S. President Obama meeting the Emperor of Japan.

If you’re in Japan this weekend, you may notice children who are three, five and seven years old dressed in kimono and visiting shrines with their families.

That’s because it’s now the time of the 「七五三」 (“7-5-3 Festival“).

As I wrote on my main website’s FAQ page, on or around November 15, girls aged 3 and 7 and boys aged 5 are dressed up (girls in kimono, boys in kimono or suit) and go to a shrine with their families for blessings for a long healthy life.
Afterwards, they are given special candies and are often brought by their parents to a photo studio to have their portrait taken.

And also, Quintin Tarantino and Brad Pitt were in Tokyo together recently to promote their new movie “Inglourious Basterds“.

tara-pitt

Brad Pitt and Quintin Tarintino promoting "Inglourious Basterds" in Tokyo.

This movie will premiere in Tokyo on 20 November…the same time that the new TV commercial for the Japanese cell-phone company “Softbank” will air.
Quintin Tarintino will appear in this new commercial.

Last year, Brad Pitt was in the Tv commercials for Softbank…but then Softbank began making a commercial “series” that showed the adventures of the “White Family“.

The father in the “White Family” is a dog! The son is an African-American. The wife and daughter are regular Japanese though.

They’re kinda funny commercials.

And now in the newest Softbank commercial, Quintin Tarintino will play the White Family’s uncle, “Tara-chan“!

tarachan-softbank

Still from the new "Softbank" commercial featuring Quintin Tarntino.

Culture Day

3 Nov

Today is a Japanese holiday called 「文化の日」 (Culture Day).

On this day, the Emperor Of Japan give medals in a special awards ceremony to people who have contributed to Japan.
Today nearly 700 people who be awarded various medals for things ranging from people who conducted rescue operations in a boating accident to athletes to a video-game developer.

My wife’s grandfather received a medal from the Emperor years ago for having served in the volunteer fire department for fifty years.

Also on this day, there are numerous “culture festivals” around Japan.
I have been to many of them. Last year I wrote a post about a festival I attended on Culture Day. Click here to see that post…there are many photos and videos I took at the festival.

And some places around Tokyo will begin putting up their Christmas illumination and trees.
Tokyo Tower and some branches of the Mitsukoshi Department Store will have their giant Christmas tree up from today until Xmas day.

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day. The high temperature was only 16° Celcius.
Today is forecast to be a sunny day…but a little colder than yesterday (the high temp will be 15° C).

Weather forecast for Tokyo, Japan (2009 Nov 3-9)

Weather forecast for Tokyo, Japan (2009 Nov 2-9)

Japanese prince turns 3

6 Sep

悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito), the youngest prince in the Japanese royal family, turned three today.

He is third in line to become the Emperor of Japan.
Next in line behind the current emperor is the Emperor’s oldest son (Prince Hisahito’s uncle) Prince Naruhito, and second in line is the Emperor’s youngest son (Prince Hisahito’s father) Prince Akishino.

If the current Emperor’s oldest son (Prince Naruhito) had a son, he would be in line to the throne before 悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito)…but he has a daughter (Princess Aiko) and no other children.

And 悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) has two older sisters, but no brothers.

So before 悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) was born, the Japanese government was in a quandary about who would succeed the throne.
They considered changing the law to allow Japan to be headed by a female empress, so that Princess Aiko could eventually take the throne…but her cousin 悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) was born, so that issue became moot.

悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) was born on 2006 Sept 6.

悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) was born on 2006 Sept 6.

悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) now at age 3.

悠仁親王 (Prince Hisahito) now at age 3.

終戦記念日

15 Aug

Today is 終戦記念日 (V-J Day).
The 64th anniversary of the day that Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces and ended World War Two. (I wrote about this last year too. Click here to read that post.)

1945 August 16 newspaper headline

1945 August 16 newspaper headline

Did you know that the Emperor of Japan addressed the people of Japan over the radio to tell them that Japan was surrendering?
It was the first time any Emperor of Japan addressed the public personally.

Here’s an English translation of part of his speech to the people of Japan:

The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which, to do damage, is indeed incalculable, taking toll of many innocent lives.
If we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization…

昭和天皇 (Showa Emperor of Japan), August 1945

昭和天皇 ("Showa Era" Emperor of Japan)

昭和天皇 ("Showa Era" Emperor of Japan)

Commemorative coins

12 Aug

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Click here to read it), this year (2009) is the twentieth anniversary of the date that the current Japanese emperor took the throne.
The Emperor and Empress’ 50th wedding anniversary was also this year.

So to mark the occasion, two commemorative coins will go on sale from the Bank Of Japan this November.

These coins are a special gold ¥10,000 coin and a special silver ¥500 coin.

The price to purchase the coins will be ¥80,000 (about US$800) for the ¥10,000 coin or ¥82,000 (about US$820) for both coins.

I have a few mint commemorative Japanese coins for various occasions…but ¥80,000 is too steep a price for a coin in my opinion. If they sell the ¥500 coin alone, maybe I’ll buy one…but not the ¥10,000 coin.

Top: front and back of gold commemorative &10,000 coin.  Bottom: front and back of silver commemorative ¥500 coin.

Top: front and back of gold commemorative ¥10,000 coin.Bottom: front and back of silver commemorative ¥500 coin.

On this day…

9 Apr

Do you know the famous Japanese dog 「忠犬ハチ公」 (Faithful Hachiko)?

Probably every Japanese person knows the story of Hachiko.

Hachiko was an 秋田犬 (Akita-inu dog) who moved from 秋田県 (Akita Prefecture, Japan) to Tokyo with his owner because he (his owner) got a teaching job at 東京大学 (University Of Tokyo).

Hachiko would see his owner off every morning at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station (in Tokyo)) and then go back to the station in the evening to greet his owner when he returned.

One day, though, his owner didn’t return because he died while at work. But Hachiko continued to return to 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) every evening at the same time to wait for his master.

It’s a true story of loyalty and friendship.

There’s a famous statue of Hachiko at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) in Tokyo. (There’s also another lesser-known statue of Hachiko in his hometown in 秋田県 (Akita Prefecture, Japan)).

The statue of Hachiko in front of 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) was erected on April 8, 1934.

So, every year on April 8th there is a memorial ceremony for Hachiko at the statue at 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station).

Hachiko statue in Shibuya on the April 8, 2009 memorial ceremony.

Hachiko statue in Shibuya on the April 8, 2009 memorial ceremony.

There’s a Japanese movie about Hachiko…and now Richard Gere is promoting a Hollywood remake of this movie that he stars in.
(Click here to read my post about this movie and a bit more about the dog.)

The movie, titled “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story“, will debut in Japan on August 8, 2009.

On May 12, 2009, a new statue of Hachiko will be erected at お台場 (Odaiba, Tokyo). This date was chosen because it will be 88 days before the new Hachiko movie’s release date.*
(Eight in Japanese is 「」 (“hachi“)…which sounds like Hachiko.)

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April 10, 2009 (tomorrow) will be the 50th wedding anniversary of Japan’s Emperor and Empress.
And last January 7 (2009) was the 20th anniversary of the day he became the Emperor (his father (the former Emperor) died on January 7, 1989).

So this year*, November 12 will be a legal holiday in Japan. It will be to celebrate both the Emperor’s twenty years on the throne and fifty years of marriage.

November 12 was chosen rather than January 7 or April 10 because it was decided it would be better to celebrate both on a separate date…and the Emperor’s 戴冠式 (coronation ceremony) was on November 12, 1990.

(*November 12 will be a holiday this year (2009) only).

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