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 (2009) : SEI (life)

His Majesty the Emperor
Observing creatures
How their lives are closely linked
And interwoven
For fifteen years we have lived
Here in the Imperial Palace.
Ikimono no
Orinashite ikuru
Sama mitsutsu
Kokyo ni sumite
Jugonen henu

(Background of the poem)
Their Majesties moved to the present Imperial Residence in the Imperial Palace Grounds in December 1993. This poem describes His Majesty's feelings about the fifteen years he has lived there, observing how the diverse creatures live and influence each other.

Her Majesty the Empress
How sad and dear
The creatures living their lives-
In early spring light
The midges dance, forming
An ephemeral column.
Inochi aru
Mono no kanashisa
Soshun no
Hikari no naka ni
Yusurika no mau

(Background of the poem)
In the garden of the Imperial Residence, Her Majesty saw a column of midges swarming and dancing in the soft sunlight of early spring. In this poem, Her Majesty describes the tenderness she feels for the tiny and transient creatures as they dance their way through their ephemeral lives. Midges grow up in water and once they emerge from their chrysalis and blow eggs, they end their life in a day or two. During this time, they do not feed at all.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
How vigorous the life of the flower blooming in the waterless desert of Arabia.

(Background of the poem)
In November of 1994, Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess paid a good-will visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As Their Highnesses were taking a walk in the desert, they noticed at their feet a tiny plant with a lovely flower taking strong root in the sands of the immense expanse of desert. This poem recalls how moved His Highness was by the blossom's strength of life in such a barren setting.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
With a red necktie on her uniform, my daughter has become a first- grader.

(Background of the poem)
Last spring, Her Highness Princess Aiko entered Gakushuin Primary School. This poem expresses Her Imperial Highness's joy and deep emotion at her daughter's first step as an elementary school pupil with a red necktie on her new school uniform.