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 (2013) : RITSU (stand)

His Majesty the Emperor
Thinking of the past
I walk around Manzamo
Lo in the distance
I see Mt. Onnadake
Standing still and clear.
Manzamo ni
Mukashi wo shinobi
Meguri yukeba
Agata Onnadake
Saya ni tachitari

(Background of the poem)
In November 2012, on the occasion of attending the National Convention for the Development of an Abundantly Productive Sea held in Okinawa Prefecture, Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress visited Manzamo in the village of Onnason. In this poem His Majesty describes how He reflected on the days of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, as Okinawa was then called, in the 18th century when Manzamo and Mt. Onnadake were often sung in Ryuka, the 8-8-8-6 syllable poetry composed in the islands.

Her Majesty the Empress
Something in the air
Showing the first signs of spring
Ah, the day is nigh
When His Majesty can step out
And stand in the budding field.
Ametsuchi ni
Kizashi kitareru
Mono arite
Kimi ga haruno ni
Tatasu hi chikashi

(Background of the poem)
After the coronary artery bypass surgery last February, His Majesty had fluid buildup in His chest and was not very well for a while, but the doctor predicted that His condition would improve in the spring. Her Majesty pinned Her hopes on the doctor's words and earnestly waited for the arrival of spring. In this poem, Her Majesty describes Her excitement when one day She felt the whiff of spring in the air and thought that His Majesty would soon be well enough to go outside into the springtime field.

His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
The huge ginkgo tree that has watched over so many youth as they start out into the world stands tall in the schoolyard.

(Background of the poem)
Last autumn, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince visited his alma mater Gakushuin Primary School which his daughter Princess Aiko now attends. There he saw the tree fondly known as the "Great Ginkgo" in its beautiful yellow autumn colors with many children playing beneath it. This poem recalls how moved he was when recalling the many young people this ginkgo tree has been sending out into the world since the early Showa Period.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess
In the night eleven Decembers ago when my child was born, the seventeen day old moon shone brightly.

(Background of the poem)
Princess Aiko was born the afternoon of December 1, 2001. That night, the brightly shining moon left a deep impression on Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess.
Later, Her Highness learned that that moon was the "tachimachi-zuki", literally "the moon that rises as you stand waiting", the seventeen day old moon occurring two days after the full moon.
This poem recalls Her Highness's happy memories of the night of the day her daughter was born.