The 20th anniversary of the emperor’s enthronement

By TERRY - Last updated: 金曜日, 11月 13, 2009 - Save & Share - One Comment

  Today (or yesterday: November 12th)   the  celebration  and  the festival of  the 20th anniversary of  the present Japanese emperor’s were held in the front square of the Imperial Palace and other nearby places.


 This year in Gengo(元号/name of  a Japanese era) is  Heisei(平成:meaning “achievement of  peace”) 21. I do remember the very first year of  Heisei  when I was a graduate student.  At the festivity venues of the  celebration,  traditional  Japanese parades of carryning miniature Shinto shrines, performances of brass bands and other events were held. 


 At the main venue , there was a perfomance of singing and dancing  by EXILE . 

 EXILE is said to be  one of the most popular music groups  in Japan especially among young people at the moment.   I watched the TV news show in which their performance was broadcast live.  The EXILE members are actually very excellent singers as well as dancers and actors.

The title of  the song is ” TAIYO NO KUNI”(太陽の国/ the nation of the sun ). The song is a suite which consists of three chapters; Chapter 1

“TAIYO NO TANE” (太陽の種/ the seed of the sun), Chapter 2 ” TAIYO NO ME “(太陽の芽/ the sprout of  the sun), and Chapter 3 ” TAIYO NO HANA”(太陽の花/ the blossom of  the sun) .  The total performing time is 14 minutes but only the third chapter has lyrics which were sung by two vocalists; ATSUSHI  and TAKAHIRO. ATSUSHI always wears sunglasses but this time he doesn’t , and for the first time he doffed a mask to the public, paying deference to the emperor and the empress.  Actually He looks younger than I expected him to be, which surprised me a little…    Anyway, their singing was very good as usual.

 The song was composed by Taro Iwashiro(岩代太郎) and written by Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康). Iwashiro is known as a composer of many popular movies and dramas, such as “Red Cliff”. ” KUON NO KAWA” (久遠の河/  river of  eternity), the theme song of Red Cliff  composed by Iwashiro is sung in Japanese  by alan, a young female Chinese singer, who is rapidly becoming popular  here in Japan.   

And  Akimoto is known as a lyricist of  popular enka(Japanese popular ballads) and idols’ songs.  He is known also as the producer of  popular idol groups, such as Onyanko Club and AKB48.  I personally really like AKB48 !   AKB48  is a young girls idol group that was created and still mainly performing in Akihabara, mecca of  contemporary  Japanese pop culture.  

 Anyhow,  TAIYO NO KUNI is a very  beautiful and soulful ballad that praises Japan, as ” Nippon” or ” Nihon”  which means “Japan”  in Japanese  also means  ” the origin of the sun” or ” the land of the rising sun” as well.    The supreme deity of  Shintoism, the indigenous religeon of Japan is the goddess of the sun and she is said to be an ancestor of  the Japanese imperial family.   Moreover, the family crests of  the emperor and the imperial families have  shapes of  chrysanthemum which are thought to be shapes of the sun as well.


 In many countries the sun may  be thought to be a symbol of power or glory but some say  that Japan’s  using it as its emblem can be  justifiable because of the geographical  location of  Japan in the Far East in  the world map.


 Speaking of the emperor and the sun,  I saw a movie whose title was ” SHIZUMANU  TAIYO” (「沈まぬ太陽」/ the sun that never sets)  recently.   The hero’s part was played by Ken Watanabe(渡辺謙) who is a very popular actor  worldwide  mainly through  some of his works from Hollywood,  such as “The Last Samurai” , ” SAYURI ~ Memoirs of a Geisha), and ” Batman Begins ” .    I’ll write about  SHIZUMANU TAIYO on another occasion but  here, I write about  one thing of  the movie.  The story is based on a novel which is half-fictitious and half-factual  describing heroic and nasty aspects of  businesspeople of  an airline and  a huge aircrash.  There was a model of the hero of the story. He was a  real person  who was an employee of a real airline.  He was so familiar with ecology of the wildlife in East Africa that once he taught the study to the present emperor when he was a crown prince as he  was a biologist besides a prince. 

  In addition,  the model person of the hero actually was  a  friend  of mine !  

 Unfortunately,  He passed away 7 years ago but he told me that the crown prince (the present emperor) was an excellent student.  The emperor’s specialty is the taxonomy of dikkops (of fin) but he took an  interest in the ecology and the zoology of African animals, too.


  Today  watching the celebration on TV, I reminisced about my friend who had become a model of a bestseller novel and its film and was gone…☆ 

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