On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan as well as other members of the Imperial family participated the annual Ceremony of the Utakai Hajime (Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading) held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

According to the IHA, this year’s theme: Sei (Quiet).

A  Waka poem by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito:

Spreading beyond

The memorial monument

I see before me

The sea of Minamata

So blue, so calm, and so still.

Ireihi no

Saki ni hirogaru

Minamata no

Umi aokushite

Shizuka narikeri

A Waka poem by Her Imperial Majesty Empress Michiko::

I now leave to serve

The deity soon to be moved

To a newly built shrine”

So saying with eyes serene

Our daughter left for Ise.

Miutsuri no

Chikaki miyai ni


Hitomi shizukani

Ko wa iite tatsu

A Waka poem by His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito:

The graceful sound of singing is heard in the stillness of the Sanctuary during the Niiname-sai.

A Waka poem by Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Masako:

As though it enwraps even the sorrow, the sea off Kamaishi lies in tranquility.