Waka Poems by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess

Theme for the New Year's Poetry Reading (1997) : SUGATA

His Majesty the Emperor
One after other
Rice-field stretching far and wide
In their full rich green
What a gladsome sight to see
The rice-ears at the ripening!

In early autumn, during the course of a visit to the provinces, His Majesty saw the far-spreading paddy fields along the road and composed this poem to express His joy in the sight of the rice-heads all come into the ear.

Her Majesty the Empress
"It was a blue planet,
Distinct in darkness,
Bearing signs of life."
So describing the earth from afar
The astronaut has returned.

Much relieved at the news of astronaut Wakata's safe return and later recalling to mind the words in which he counched his description of the Earth as seen from Outer Space, Her Majesty composed this poem.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
Though people's features all be different, they with single heart yearn for a world without strife.

News of conflicts throughout the world causes His Highness the Crown Prince deep sorrow. This poem describes his fervent wish that, though people's features differ from land to land, as the same human race they may unite in heart to build a world of peace.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
Enduring the sorrows of the great quake, the people strive to rise again, their features eager and bright.

In January of last year, their Highnesses The Crown Prince and Princess attended the first memorial ceremony of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, held in Hyogo Prefecture. In Kobe, they inspected the progress of the reconstruction efforts and encouraged the earthquake victims. Her Highness was moved deeply by how the people she met there were striving so eagerly to make a new beginning. Also hearing subsequent reports of the rebuiding efforts, Her Highness expresses in this poem her heartfelt wishes for the recovery of the area.