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Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇; Jimmu Tennō; given name: Kamuyamato Iwarebiko) was the mythical founder of Japan and is regarded as a direct descendant of the Shinto deity Amaterasu. The goddess reportedly had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi no Mikoto. She sent said grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventualy married Princess Konohana-Sakuya. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto also called Yamasachi-hiko who married Princess Toyotama. She was the daughter of Owatatsumi, the Japanese sea god and brother of Amaterasu. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and concequently raised by Princess Tamayori, a younger sister of his mother. They eventualy married each other and had a total of four sons. The last of them would grow to become Emperor Jimmu. The current Imperial house of Japan bases its claim to the throne on its descent from Jimmu. His posthumous name literally means "divine might."
Emperor Jimmu's existence cannot be verified by standard historical means, but the mythology surrounding him places him in the 7th century BC. February 11, 660 BC is the traditional founding date of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.
New year's day in Japanese lunisolar calendar was traditionally celebrated as the regnal day of Emperor Jimmu. In 1872, the Meiji government proclaimed that February 11, 660 BC in the Gregorian calendar was the foundation day of Japan. This mythical date was commemorated in the holiday Kigensetsu ("Empire Day") from 1872 to 1948, which was resurrected in 1966 as the holiday Kenkoku Kinen-bi ("National Foundation Day") In 1889, Kashihara Shrine was built to enshrine him in Kashihara, Nara.
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