Each year, the Japanese Imperial family hosts an annual celebration of poetry at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. This year, as they have in years previous, Emperor Nahrutio, Empress Masako, and Princess Aiko all read poems they had written. Per Kyodo News, "The theme of this year's poems at the reading was 'wa,' which primarily means 'peace' and 'harmony.'" In addition to poems read by the royals, members of the public who were selected also read poetry.
Emperor Nahrutio's poem was about visiting various districts throughout Japan: "Seeing the smiles of the people / I meet during my many journeys / Throughout the country / Fills my heart with peace." According to the Imperial Household Agency, "Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and the Empress have visited almost every prefecture in Japan, including the period when they were the Crown Prince and Princess." They added, "During each visit, Their Majesties were delighted to receive a warm welcome from the local people. His Majesty the Emperor composed this poem expressing his feeling of peace when he saw the smiles of the people they met in every place."
Empress Masako's poem was about her daughter Princess Aiko, saying "How moved I was to read / My daughter’s deep feelings for peace / After her first visit / To Hiroshima." The Imperial Household Agency noted the poem references Princess Aiko's visit to Hiroshima during her third year in junior high school, and how it inspired her to speak out about peace. The palace notes, "As Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and the Empress always wish for peace and hope that sentiments toward the importance of peace be inherited by the next generation and beyond, they were touched by Princess Aiko’s graduation composition. Her Majesty the Empress composed this poem to express such warm feelings."
Meanwhile, Princess Aiko's poem was a reflection on the form of waka poetry, "Surviving centuries of hardship / The words of Waka poems / Touch my heart today." According to the Palace, she wrote the poem "to express her fascination with old Waka poetry." The Princess is currently a fourth year in the Department of Japanese Language and Literature in the Faculty of Letters at Gakushuin University.
Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Akishino also recited poems—the Crown Prince's was about foliage in Lake Towada, and the Princess's was about a sports festival she attended.
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