On January 12, 2012, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan along with Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino attended the annual New Year’s Poetry Contest held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The theme for this year’s reading of “tanka” Japanese poems was “shore.” The Imperial family along with dozens of attendees sat silently inside a large room in the palace, as a choir of several men around a table read each of the 10 winning works in sing-song, dragged-out tones.

Source: Associated Press

Photo courtesy of Daylife/K.Nogi/AFP