Year-end Presentations of Waka Poems

2001, The Thirteenth year of Heisei

Year-end Presentation of Five Waka Poems by His Majesty the Emperor

Accompanying the King and Queen of Norway
As a welcome for
The noble King of Norway
At Enoshima,
The trainee children gathered,
Maneuvering the yachtsails.

His Majesty the King of Norway, in 1964 when he was still Crown Prince, participated in the yachting competition held at Enoshima, as a member of the Norwegian team to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Revisiting the areas stricken by the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake
After six long years
Of enduring great hardship,
In the city streets
Now rebuilt by the people,
Fresh,rich greenery abounds.
Visiting the Memorial Park of Tamozawa Imperial Villa in Nikko
Filled with memories
Of the time I had to spend
An entire year there,
Now that it has been repaired,
I go all around the rooms.

His Majesty the Emperor spent one year from July 1944 to July 1945 at Tamozawa Imperial Villa, in war-time evacuation.

Visiting Niijima and Kozushima
Any number of
Tracks of rockfall and landslides
Whitely visible,
On these isles that underwent
The evils of fierce earthquake.
Afghanistan becomes a War Theater
In Kabul City
With the war over at last,
From the people seen
Walking up and down the streets
A great joy is welling up.

Year-end Presentation of Three Waka Poems by Her Majesty the Empress

Poem 1
All unconsciously
Have I too not fired a shot? -
With Spring well along
On the plains of Bamian
The stone Buddhas are no more.
(March 2001)

With Spring well advanced on the plains of Bamian, the great stone statues are now seen no more. "If I take it that the destruction of the Buddha statues is a manifestation of the hatreds and intolerance lurking in the human heart, must it not be said that I too, all unaware, could have fired a shot?" Struck by such thoughts of awe and sorrow, Her Majesty composed this poem.

In 1971 Her Majesty composed the following poem after going to Bamian in the company of His Majesty the Emperor during Their official visit to Afganistan. At that time, already the faces of the stone statues had been split off, but this time, the statues have been shot to pieces by the Taliban and utterly destroyed.

  • There at Bamian
    Under a moon faintly red
    The great stone Buddhas,
    Their sacred faces shattered,
    Are still awesomely standing.
Poem 2
While He invited
Foreign countries' winds of change,
Still guardian He urged
That the pillars of our Land
Be kept ever stout and strong.
(July 2001)

At the time of the opening of the country in the Meiji Era, His Majesty Emperor Meiji encouraged the people to seek wisdom far and wide and learn from foreign countries, but at the same time, he exhorted them to preserve and foster the thought and principles accumulated since ancient times in Japan. Her Majesty composed this poem in reverent homage to His effective guardianship of the country's foundations.

In July 2000, for the occasion of the Eightieth Anniversary of the enshrining of Emperor Meiji at the Meiji Jingu, Their Majesties were requested to compose commemorative poems. But the demise of Empress Kojun occurred in June, and the dedication of the poems was deferred until this year.

Poem 3
My loving thoughts go
To the mother soon-to-be,
Housebound and waiting,
On this night when wild winds blow
The first cold blasts of Winter.
(November 2001)

In November this year, on a night when the first Winter stormwinds were blowing fiercely. Her Majesty's thoughts went out to the Crown Princess waiting for the day of giving birth.

The Imperial baby arrived on the First of December.