Imperial Couple release ‘waka’ poems to mark New Year’s Day

Kyodo

The Imperial Household Agency released on Thursday several 31-syllable “waka” poems written by the Imperial Couple in 2014 to celebrate New Year’s Day.

In one of his three poems, Emperor Akihito expressed the feelings of gratitude he felt when he visited the Ise Grand Shrine in March toward people who were engaged in major repair work, carried out every 20 years.

Thinking of the support
Offered by many people
I visit the Shrine
Its newly rebuilt sanctuary
Of plain wood, clean and clear.

He composed a waka on his thoughts on 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and expressed his resolve not to forget the ravages of the bombings.

At the cenotaph
On ground zero we offer
White chrysanthemums
Pledging never to forget
That day in the distant past.

He also composed a waka on his feelings when he visited Hiroshima in December and saw the aftermath of areas stricken by the torrential rains in August.

How fierce must have been
The force of raging water
From torrential rains
Where the trees were ripped down
A straight path can be still seen.

In one of her three poems, Empress Michiko described how many athletes lost and had to head home in the Sochi Winter Olympics held in February, not having been able to make that day their special day.

Many an athlete
Departing without a day
They can call “My Day”
The Sochi Olympic Games
Now passing the half-way point.

The Empress composed another waka on Prince Katsura, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, after the prince died on June 8.

How deep it must be
I can only imagine
The father’s grief
I am told he laid a hand
On the shoulder of his son.