New Year's Imperial Poetry Reading Event Held after Delay


Tokyo, March 26 (Jiji Press)--Japan's "utakai hajime" New Year's poetry reading ceremony was held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Friday morning, after being postponed for about two months due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

With "jitsu," or fruit, chosen as the theme for this year's ceremony, "waka" Japanese poems created by Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, other Imperial Family members and guests as well as selected works by the general public were recited with special intonations in a traditional style at the ceremony, originally scheduled for Jan. 15.

As part of efforts to prevent coronavirus infections, poems were read out by people wearing face shields, with acrylic boards placed in front of them.

In their poems, the Emperor and the Empress expressed hopes for the pandemic to be contained.

Yasuyo Sugisaki, a 77-year-old resident of Obama, Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, whose poem was among the 10 pieces selected from 13,657 written by commoners, attended the ceremony online via a monitor.

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