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 (1999) : AO(Color blue, green, sometimes having nuances of youth and freshness)

His Majesty the Emperor
Foulness in the air
Long endured and overcome,
The fir-tree flourishes
Greenleafed boughs against bright sky
Go on growing more and more.

At a time when air pollution was severe in Tokyo and fir-trees, particularly vulnerable to atmospheric impurities, were withering away in various places, on the occasion of ritual visits to the Kashikodokoro(palace sanctuary), His Majesty, then Crown Prince, noticed one fir-tree in the grounds, that seemed to be surviving safely.

Today, with improved control of atmospheric pollution, that fir-tree is growing better than ever, sending out a profusion of green leaves on all sides. This is poem which His Majesty composed on the subject.

Her Majesty the Empress
On snow and on ice
Athletes in their green year's prime,
Strength strained to utmost-
As they give their all, I am
So muved, my heart for them.

Her Majesty composed this poem on Her impressions of the young people she saw at the site of the Winter Olympics, straining their strenght to the limit as they competed on the snow or in the ice arena. In the original, the theme-word, green, is contained in the compound`seinen`meaning `young people`. The word `kanashi` written with the character for `love`, is a word expressing a poignancy so keenly moving it makes the heart feel a kind of pain.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
Swaying in the mountain railway, I climb Jungfrau
The blue glacier soars above me.

From June of 1983 until October of 1985, His Highness the Crown Prince pursued his studies in Great Britain. While there, His Serene Highness the Crown Prince of Liechtenstein invited him for a visit during winter vacation in January of 1984, His Highness visited Liechtenstein and enjoyed skiing three. He also took the opportunity to board a mountain railway in Switzerland. From Kleine Scheidegg, he could see such mountains as Jungfrau and Eiger, and was especially impressed with his first view of the glittering blue glacier of Jungfrau.

He recalls this magnificent sight in this poem.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
Looking down from the peace monument on the hill of Mabuni-
I see the serene sea, blue than the sky.

During Her Highness the Crown Princess's visit to Okinawa in 1997, she visited the Peace Memorial erected in 1955 on the hill of Mabuni, where the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War came to an end. From the monument upon which are inscribed the nemes of all those who lost their lives the battle, she gazed out over the calm blue sea.

Her Highness recalls in this poem the sufferings undergone by the people of Okinawa, as well as the blessings of peace today.