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 (2003) : Town

His Majesty the Emperor
Over and over
Traveling through the country,
I well remember
That with every passing year
The towns looked ever better.

From the time He was Crown Prince on up to today, having visited so many parts of the country, His Majesty composed this poem to express His feeling that with every year that went by He could see in the various regions, the aspect of the towns improving in every way.

(Reference : from "His Majesty's Thoughts" released at New Year, 2003)

As we look back, exactly fifty years have passed since the New Year right after the Peace Treaty came into effect. Bearing in mind the great efforts the people have made during the past 50 years in building the Japan of today, I hope that we can unite in utmost efforts to pursue a better future.

Her Majesty the Empress
People here and there,
Lingering as if to share
A moment of joy,
Gazing where at close of day
The blossoms fall in the town

After going through the town and seeing from the car windows the Spring scene at close of day, with people here and there who seemed to be sharing a moment's happiness, standing still and enjoying the view on an evening when the cherry petals were falling, floating as they fell, Her Majesty composed this poem.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
As I approached my Oxford lodgings,
the evening bell echoed through the town.

From October of 1983 until October of 1985, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince pursued his studies at Merton College, Oxford University. In this poem, he fondly recalls how on his way back to his residence in the early winter twilight, the evening bell echoed through the old town of Oxford.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
As we walk along the gingko-lined road,
our infant daughter answers the people of the town with a smile.

One morning last autumn, Their Imperial Highnesses took their daughter Princess Aiko on a walk through the Outer Gardens of the Meiji Shrine along a road lined with gingko trees in their beautiful fall colors. This poem calls to mind how the young Princess replied with a smile to the smiles and greetings of the passers-by.