Since His accession to the throne also, His Majesty has continued to visit the various regions of Japan. From the 1st through the 15th Year of Heisei(i.e. 1989-2003), He has visited all of the forty-seven prefectures in Japan. The municipalities visited by Him number 401, and the distance covered by Him on these travels was approximately 120,000 kilometers, roughly three times the circumference of the globe. In this Imperial poem His Majesty looks back on the accumulated journeys of the past fifteen years, which he made while praying for the happiness of the people.
Even this year, which opened with a surgical operation for His Majesty the Emperor, both Their Majesties made several journeys to places as farflung as Hokkaido and Amami-Oshima. Her Majesty's poem tells of how everywhere the Imperial visits took them, voices of people calling out good wishes for His Majesty's health and happiness, accompanied them as their car went through the towns and cities.
His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince watches gently over the healthy growth of Princess Aiko, who has reached her second birthday. This poem expresses his hopes that she will continue to grow up in sound health and lead a life filled with joy.
In addition to her official duties, Her Imperial Highness The Crown Princess has been trying to do her utmost in Princess Aiko's upbringing, and she greatly cherishes the time they spend together before the Princess goes to sleep each evening.
In this poem, Her Imperial Highness recalls how, when she returned after being away from the palace for official functions last autumn, she sat at Princess Aiko's bedside and talked about various things that the Princess might enjoy. As she saw the Princess's innocent face smiling with happiness, she felt relieved and made this poem in wish for the future happiness of Princess Aiko.
This poem, composed by Her Highness Princess Sayako, evokes a scene during the rainy season when the rain leaves off for a while and a great big rainbow spans the sky. People, one after another, become aware of it and relish this moment of happiness.