Year-end Presentations of Waka Poems

2003, The fifteenth year of Heisei

Year-end Presentation of five Waka Poems by His Majesty the Emperor

Days in hospital
While in hospital,
It gives me comfort and joy
To see what people
With caring concern for me
Came to sign the greeting books.
After His release from Todai Hospital
Back at home once more
Along with my wife I go
Out to the garden
where now Spring is in the air
And pick butterbur flower-buds.
Visiting the volcanic eruption disaster area at Mount Usu
Only a thin line
Of trailing smoke remaining
All quiet once more-
I see the people climbing
Up the sides of Mount Usu.
The Ohinata reclaimed settlement at Karuizawa
When I went to meet
The people who worked so hard
To open that land,
I could see Mount Asama
With its cloud crown at the top.

When Their Majesties, then Crown Prince and Princess, used to sojourn in Karuizawa, they often visited Ohinata, land reclaimed and settled by returnees from Manchuria. During their stay in Karuizawa this year, they revisited this same area.

The Visit to Amami-Oshima
At ceremonies
Celebrating reversion
Fifty years ago,
What struck deep chords in my heart-
Voices raised in island songs.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect on 28 April 1952. The Amami Islands which came under American military occupation and administration after World War II had to remain in that same situation until the islands were finally returned to Japan on December 1953.

Year-end Presentation of three Waka Poems by Her Majesty the Empress

Knowing You now healed,
Seeing you pick the young greens
Here alongside You,
I greet spring
Joyfully and gratefully.
Visiting the Grand Shrine of Izumo
I meditate on
Okuninushi's mystic act
of giving up all-
Country and sovereignty-
Here enshrined with great reverence
At Amami to celebrate the 50th anniversary of reversion to Japan
Banks of purple cloud
Stretching away in streamers-
Above Amami archipelago
Now indeed fresh morning breaks,
A bright new day is dawning.
(Notes to Her Majesty's Waka) :

Note to poem 1 :
The term 'okenaku' in the original indicates a deep sense of gratitude, so deep as to seem undeserved, and is used by Her Majesty to indicate her indescribable thankfulness.

Note to poem 2 :
Her Majesty composed this poem when she was moved to ponder the mystery of Okuninushi-no-mikoto, who gave up the country to the heavenly gods and of his own volition is enshrined in Izumo as guardian of the peace and tranquility of the people.

Note to poem 3 :
On the morning following their attendance at the ceremonies for the 50th anniversary of the reversion of Amami-Oshima, Their Majesties went out early from their lodging in Kasaricho to walk on nearby Tomori beach, and saw the sunrise. Her Majesty's third poem is about that occasion.