Japan’s Emperor Naruhito recited his poem at the Imperial New Year’s poetry reading, through which he expressed the hope that people’s lives, disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, will return to normal.
The ceremony in the Imperial Palace was attended by Empress Masako, as well as Crown Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, and the number of attendees was limited due to the epidemiological measures still in force in Japan.
The theme of this year’s poems read by members of the imperial family was “tomo”, which means “friend”.
The 62-year-old emperor’s song was inspired by the events at the National Cultural Festival held in Wakayama Prefecture in 2021. Naruhito, in fact, was delighted to listen to the high school students, who were members of the brass band, talk about their joy at being able to continue playing instruments with their friends despite various restrictions due to the pandemic.
In a poem, Empress Masako expressed her gratitude for the care shown by her close friends over the years, while Princess Aiko, the 21-year-old daughter of the imperial couple, fondly recalled in a poem how she used to return from school with a friend on a road covered with leaves.