Hiroshima’s hero: MLK Day Celebrations from Japan to London
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Hiroshima’s hero: MLK Day Celebrations from Japan to Buckingham Palace

Carmela De Simone January 25, 2022

On what would have been Martin Luther King’s 93rd birthday, heartfelt tributes poured in from around the world last week.

While not generally a recognised holiday outside the US, tributes were paid globally on Monday 17th January to honour the freedom fighter. Jamie Foxx, Mariah Carey and Queen Elizabeth were among those who paid homage this year.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national holiday in America to commemorate the birthday of one of the most prominent figures in the civil rights movement in America. It is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year.

Coming of Age Day in Japan is a celebration not many know is linked to the legacy of Martin Luther King. Hiroshima’s ex-mayor, Tadatoshi Akiba, was an ally and admirer of MLK and hosted an annual banquet on his birthday until his term ended in 2011.

Celebrated across the globe

As well as being a civil rights campaigner, he was also an active participant in anti-nuclear efforts following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that took place in 1945. Every January, 20-year-olds in Hiroshima, Japan, observe the holiday by wearing kimonos and suits and congregating among school friends in celebration of the youth afforded to them through advocates like MLK, who campaigned for non-violent social change.

Many notable figures made gestures and posted on social media in commemoration, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They were thanked by King’s daughter Bernice on Twitter for providing Local Black-owned food trucks to volunteers of the King Day Community Service Project.

Queen Elizabeth also hosted a Grenadier Guards performance during the Changing of the Guards ceremony. The Guards played Stevie Wonder’s version of Happy Birthday at Buckingham Palace last week. Fans branded the gesture sweet as onlookers gathered outside the palace.

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I am a journalism graduate from Brunel University. My background is in property lettings and the motor industry. I’m obsessed with all things health & beauty, travel, music and Turkish food. You will most often find me drinking vodka lime sodas and watching Shrek.