International royalsJapan

Imperial couple introduce their poems at annual New Year ceremony

The traditional “Waka” poems, penned by the Imperial Family, and ten selected works from the public, were recited at the annual New Year event in the Matsunoma main hall in the Imperial Palace. The theme of this year’s poems was “no”, which translates as “field.”

Emperor Akihito’s poem recalls the chirping of tree crickets near the Omei pavilion where he stayed in the autumn at the Imperial Villa in Nasu. Researchers were invited to explain the sounds of the autumn insects, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Empress Michiko’s poem is about the nature-rich grounds of the Imperial Palace. Her waka poem reflects on her love for the wide variety of the wild plants on the palace grounds and also mentions how she gathers horsetails plants in the spring and gingko nuts in the autumn.

Crown Prince Naruhito’s poem recalls his official visit to Mount Kasatoriyama in Koshu in 2008, while Crown Princess Masako’s poem describes how she felt as she walked around a hill with family members at the Imperial Villa in Nasu.

Meanwhile, the Imperial Household Agency has cancelled the release of Emperor Akihito’s New Year Thoughts, which had been published every year so far, as part of the measures to decrease his public activities.

The English translations of these poems were provided by the Imperial Household Agency.

Poem by Emperor Akihito:

Kantan no/ Naku ne kikanto/ Nasu no no ni/ Tsudoishi yoru wo/ Natsukashimi omou (To hear the sound/ Of tree crickets singing/ In the field of Nasu/ We gathered together/ How fondly I recall that night.)

Poem by Empress Michiko:

Tsukushi tsumi/ Nobiru wo hikite/ Sanagarani/ No ni aru gotoku/ Koko ni sumikoshi (Picking field horsetails/ Plucking wild rocamboles/ Here we have lived/ In the heart of the city/ As if living in the field.)