Year-end Presentations of Waka Poems

2004, The Sixteenth year of Heisei

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

Looking at the heads
Of the already tall-grown
Stalks of sugar-cane
In the fields stretching away
where I go the island road.
At the Imperial Residence:Two Poems.
I am spending time
Sitting at my microscope
On a Summer's night
In my laboratory
While a scaly-cricket is sings.
As the dread typhoons
Come one after another
So relentlessly,
I spend Summer's days thinking
Of all the stricken people.
Out of Shohdoshima Heading for Takamatsu Harbor
As our ship draws near
To Ohshima Island,
We and the peple
On the beach at SeishohEn
Wave hands to one another.

(Note) :
SeishohEn(Green Pine Gardens) is a facility for Hansen's diseasepatients in Kagawa Prefecture.

Visiting the Earthquake Disaster Areas of the Chuetsu Region in Niigata Prefecture.
Ravaged by earthquake
The valley's terraced rice-fields
Are ruined wasteland-
My heart sore pained, I see them
A Yamakoshi hamlet.

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

Visiting the Inmates of the Nansei Homefootnote1
Well before its timefootnote2
The beach-mallow in a vasebr
Already in bud
At the Nansei Hansen's Home:
The serene noonday quiet!
  • footnote1 Throughout the country there are thirteen national Convalescent Homes for patients with Hansen's Disease, and this one is on Okinawa's Miyakojima Island.
  • footnote2 The word 'tokijiku' in the original has two meanings: 'toki o towazu', meaning 'regardless of the time', but in this poem the second meaning 'toki ni arazu' meaning 'at the wrong time', or 'out of its season' applies. The season was too early for the Okinawan beach-mallow which would not normally be in the bud at that time. Because this was so, Her Majesty composed the above poem.

Reference :
Suffering great pain,
But gently tender-hearted,
People living here
On this isle where mallow blooms
As I climb up the hill slope.

(poem composed on the occasion of Their Majesties' visit to the Airaku-En, the Hansen's Disease patients' Home in Nago on the Main Island in 1975.)

To greet His Majesty
In Kyoto, His ancestral place,
The Yase-dohji,
The palanquin bearers, dancefootnote1
Tonight under the young moon.

footnote1 Throughout the country there are thirteen national Convalescent Homes for patients with Hansen's Disease, and this one is on Okinawa's Miyakojima Island.

The Infant Brought Back Alive
The Great Dogstar toofootnote1
Might have kept an eye on him
There inside the earth
Even though all hope seemed vainfootnote2
The infant was found alive
  • footnote1 In the original 'Tenroh' (Heavenly Wolf). This is the Chinese name of the star also known in Japan as Rohsei.
  • footnote2 In the original 'yukurinaku' is a word used in referring to unexpected, unhoped-for good things.
(Notes to Her Majesty's Waka) :

Note to poem 1 :
In January of this year, Their Majesties visited a Convalescent Home for patients with Hansen's Disease on the Okinawan Island of Miyakojima. To welcome Their Majesties to the Nansei Home, perhaps because Her Majesty had composed a poem referring to this flower in a previous visit to a similar institution on the Main Island, there was a flower arrangement containing one out-of-season beach-mallow (a yellow hibiscus-like flower of the mallow family) in the bud. Combining thoughts of this and of Her quiet conversation with the inmates, Her Majesty composed this poem.

Note to poem 2 :
In August of this year, when Their Majesties visited Kyoto, the people of Yase danced for them in the courtyard of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Her Majesty composed this poem remembering the thin crescent moon she had seen that night together with the dancers, calling it the `young moon'.

Note to poem 3 :
One of the victims of the Chuetsu earthquake was an infant child. On the fourth day, the little boy was rescued from under the rocks and earth, and Her Majesty composed this poem to express Her joy at his return alive. It was the time of year when Sirius, the Great Dogstar, brightest star of the Canis Majoris constellation, rises. Her Majesty composed this poem imagining that at times, Sirius too was watching over the child.