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 (2004) : HAPPINESS

His Majesty the Emperor
Forever praying
For the people's happiness,
I have traveled far
All up and down the country
While these fifteen years went by.

Since His accession to the throne also, His Majesty has continued to visit the various regions of Japan. From the 1st through the 15th Year of Heisei(i.e. 1989-2003), He has visited all of the forty-seven prefectures in Japan. The municipalities visited by Him number 401, and the distance covered by Him on these travels was approximately 120,000 kilometers, roughly three times the circumference of the globe. In this Imperial poem His Majesty looks back on the accumulated journeys of the past fifteen years, which he made while praying for the happiness of the people.

Her Majesty the Empress
"All the best be Yours!
Good health, happiness and all!"
Voices wafting forth
From people out to greet Him
Going through their towns and cities.

Even this year, which opened with a surgical operation for His Majesty the Emperor, both Their Majesties made several journeys to places as farflung as Hokkaido and Amami-Oshima. Her Majesty's poem tells of how everywhere the Imperial visits took them, voices of people calling out good wishes for His Majesty's health and happiness, accompanied them as their car went through the towns and cities.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
As I embrace my child growing up in blooming good health,
my prayer is that she will be blessed with happiness.

His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince watches gently over the healthy growth of Princess Aiko, who has reached her second birthday. This poem expresses his hopes that she will continue to grow up in sound health and lead a life filled with joy.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
In the moments I spend talking together with my daughter
before she falls asleep, she smiles, filled with happiness.

In addition to her official duties, Her Imperial Highness The Crown Princess has been trying to do her utmost in Princess Aiko's upbringing, and she greatly cherishes the time they spend together before the Princess goes to sleep each evening.

In this poem, Her Imperial Highness recalls how, when she returned after being away from the palace for official functions last autumn, she sat at Princess Aiko's bedside and talked about various things that the Princess might enjoy. As she saw the Princess's innocent face smiling with happiness, she felt relieved and made this poem in wish for the future happiness of Princess Aiko.

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako
One, then another
Now lift up their eyes and smile:
Through rain-season gloom
For a brief while, happiness-
A great rainbow has come out.

This poem, composed by Her Highness Princess Sayako, evokes a scene during the rainy season when the rain leaves off for a while and a great big rainbow spans the sky. People, one after another, become aware of it and relish this moment of happiness.