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 (1998) : The Road (or the Way)

His Majesty the Emperor
Viewing the display
Of Todai's hisitory
Led me to ponder
The road our country traveled
With the advance of learning

On seeing the displays of "The University of Tokyo Exhibition: Past, Present, and Future of Academic Activities", held in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Tokyo, His Majesty composed this waka poem as He thought on the way in which the Arts and Sciences have come to develop in Japan.

Her Majesty the Empress
Along that far road
Trodden by you immigrants
On you hardwon way,
Oh! How many times till now
Have the yipe flowers bloomed?

This was composed in Brazil which Her Majesty revisited after a lapse of thirty years since Her first visit there and of nineteen years since Her second visit. She composed this waka poem as She turned Her thoughts concurrently to the long distance the immigrants had severally covered in their lives, and the many times the yipe flowers had come to blossom in their season on that way.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
With the name of a road written on a signpost, the road of my pursuit of academic studies began.

As a child, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince noticed on the grounds of his residence in Akasaka, an old road sign upon which was written "Highway to Oshu". This experience become his motivation for begining study of his present research theme, the history of transportation in Medieval Japan and in Modern Britain. This poem conveys his sentiment under the topic of "michi", road.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
The long dirt road leading to Rwanda--Much hapiness to those walking it.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess has a deep concern for the plight of refugees who for various reasons have had to leave their homelands. In this poem, she calls to mind the sight of those people who had became refugees from Rwanda on their long walk back home, and in thinking of all the troubles they must overcome, expresses her wish for their happiness.