Year-end Presentations of Waka Poems

2009, The Twenty-first Year of Heisei

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

Hearing the Imperial Guard Band play on the occasion of the 50th wedding anniversary
As I look back
On the days and years gone by
My beloved by my side
What joy it is to hear
The Grand March "Celebration."
On the visit to Canada
Here I am again
In Canada where I journeyed
In my days of youth
Greatly impressed am I to see
The new face of this country.
At the People's Festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Enthronement
In the gathering dusk
I am deeply moved to hear
With the people
Who have flocked to the Plaza
The suite, "The Land of the Sun."
In the Garden of the Imperial Residence
After layering
And planting in soil, branches
Of the cherry tree
Happy am I to see
Winter buds, signs of life.
Recalling the days of the Accession to the Throne
If he were here
What would my father have thought,
I wonder to myself,
Of the world and its ways
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(Notes to His Majesty's Waka) :

Note to poem 1 :
On April 10, 2009, Their Majesties celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Amid many celebratory events, Their Majesties took time to go out to the register-signing booth set up in front of the Imperial Household Agency. With the people who were there to sign the register to congratulate Their Majesties on their golden anniversary, they heard, among others, the Grand March "Celebration," composed by Ikuma Dan to celebrate Their Majesties' wedding 50 years ago. This poem describes His Majesty's feeling on that occasion.

Note to poem 2 :
His Majesty visited Canada in 1953 on his way to attend the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This poem describes his impressions on revisiting Canada in July 2009, after 56 years.

Note to poem 3 :
The People's Festival on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of His Majesty the Emperor's Enthronement was held in the Imperial Palace Plaza on November 12, 2009. Their Majesties made their appearance on Nijubashi Bridge, overlooking the Plaza, soon after 6:30 in the evening and returned the many well-wishers' welcome by swinging the lanterns in their hands. Their Majesties heard the celebratory suite, "The Land of the Sun," the dance and song of which were performed by the male group EXILE. This poem describes His Majesty's feelings on that occasion.

Note to poem 4 :
His Majesty tried layering the cherry tree, Prunus jamasakura, for the first time last year, following the instructions of the staff of the Gardens Division of the Imperial Household Agency, but the branches did not produce roots. His Majesty tried layering ten branches this year, and the two which produced roots were planted in the ground. They now have healthy winter buds, showing that they are alive and well. This poem describes His Majesty's feelings about the cherry trees.

Note to poem 5 :
In November, 1989, the year Emperor Showa passed away, the Berlin Wall came down and transformed the world. In this poem, His Majesty looks back on that big event which happened in the year of his Accession to the Throne and wonders what Emperor Showa would have thought of this if he were alive.

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

On the visit to Canada
I set foot on this land
Thinking of the journey
About to begin
When, lo, over Harrington Lake
The arch of a large rainbow.
The astronaut's return
On your return to
Our planet, lush with summer grass
First, you astronaut,
You spoke of "the scent of grass"
Pouring into the shuttle.
The day of Enthronement: recollection
Blessed and beloved
You proceed among the people
As they behold
Your celebration parade
With You in the glow of the sun.
(Notes to Her Majesty's Waka) :

Note to poem 1 :
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress made a visit to Canada in July 2009. After arriving in Ottawa, Their Majesties spent the weekend at the Prime Minister's summer retreat at Harrington Lake in the Province of Quebec, which was also meant to give them time to recover from jet-lag. This poem describes the scene in the late afternoon, sometime after their arrival at the estate.

Note to poem 2 :
The astronaut Koichi Wakata returned to earth safely, after completing a four-and-a-half month stay at the International Space Station. At the press conference just after his return, he said that it was when the hatch opened and he could smell the grass that he felt he had been welcomed back to earth. Moved by those words, Her Majesty composed this poem.

Note to poem 3 :
His Majesty the Emperor's Enthronement Ceremony took place in November 1990. After the Seiden no Gi Ceremony of the Enthronement in the State Hall, Their Majesties took part in the Imperial Procession by motorcar. Amid the cheers of more than 100,000 people thronging the streets, Their Majesties returned to the Akasaka Imperial Residence in a convertible, blessed with the tender autumn sunshine. In this poem, Her Majesty remembers how His Majesty appeared then.