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 (2007) : TSUKI (the moon)

His Majesty the Emperor
My day's duties done
And I quicken my footsteps
On my way back home
While the light of the moon
Shines down whitely on the path.

Note: This poem describes the scenery as His Majesty saw it on the way home from the Imperial Palace to the Imperial Residence where he lives after the ceremony of the appointment of senior officers, whose appointment His Majesty attests, was over in the evening.

Her Majesty the Empress
Each year
I look up to verify
The moon's position
As I see the Emperor off
For New Year's Ritual at dawn.

Note:Every year on New Year's Day very early in the morning at the Imperial Residence, the Empress sees off the Emperor who goes to the Palace Sanctuary to perform the first ritual of the year. Then, at the time when His Majesty prays, she herself goes outdoors and prays with him from afar. This poem describes her custom of many years of looking up at the sky first, when she goes outdoors, looking forward to seeing the age of the moon as well as the alignment of the moon and the stars that change year by year.

NoticeSince becoming Emperor, His Majesty performs the Prayer to the Four Quarters (Shihohai) just before the New Year's Ritual (Saitansai). In this poem, however, "Each year" includes the Emperor's years as Crown Prince as well and, therefore, Her Majesty refers to the New Year's Ritual (Saitansai) which His Majesty has performed from the time when he was Crown Prince to this day.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
Illuminated by the moonlight pouring down from the skies, the trees stood out boldly in the snowy wilderness.

Note: This poem recalls a night during one of His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince's ski trips. Amid the chill and silence, the trees covered with snow were conspicuous in the brilliant bright moonlight enveloping them.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
"I want to see the moon", said the little child. Hand in hand we entered the garden, and the moon shown brightly.

Note: On an evening around the time for the Autumn Moon Viewing last year, Her Highness Princess Aiko asked to see the moon, so Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess took her out into the garden of the Akasaka Palace.

They watched the moon shining brightly in the garden, and in the warm grasp of the young Princess's hand, the Crown Princess felt the happiness of living together day to day with her daughter. She expresses her joy in this poem.