.Home / New to Reiki / Experienced / Miscellaneous / Training / Contact

The Waka Poetry of the Emperor Meiji

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Last Updated: March 21, 2001  Return to Reiki in Japan
 (Source: A Japanese Reiki web page no longer on the net - author unknown)

The URR Gakkai Handbook of Reiki Treatment (Reiki Ryoho Hikkei) includes 125 Waka poetries of The Emperor Meiji.  These are called Gyosei.  The Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai recommended students read aloud one of waka poems for the first step of the way of spiritual work. 

It is not confirmed by Usui Sensei's living student (Mariko-Obaasan) that these poems were endorsed by Sensei, but here is a little information about the Meiji Emperor and some of the poems.

Emperor Meiji
1852 - 1912

Emperor Meiji, the second son of Emperor Komei, was born on November 3, 1852 in Kyoto and named Mutsuhito. Ascending the throne at the age of sixteen, he announced The Five Major Policies, and fulfilled the Meiji Restoration. During the Meiji Era (1862-1912), Japan flourished the Meiji Constitution, established parliamentary institutions, promoted friendship with  overseas countries, and fostered the development of the nation in every cultural field. It was the most glorious and prosperous period of all the Japanese history of more than 2,000 years. It was in that period that the bases of modern Japan were built up. After his demise in 1912, he was buried in the Fushimi Momoyama Ryo (Graveyard) in Kyoto, his soul being enshrined in Meiji Jingu.

From my Japanese friend, Amy Dean 
" According to one (Japanese) web site, the Meiji emperor studied from his father and started to write poetry at the age of eight. He wrote over ninety thousands poetry throughout his life (another account says 100,000). Only five hundred of the Gyosei were publicized - more likely they leaked out to the public. Gyosei was sacred and stored in "Outadokoro - The Poetry division" in the imperial palace. The staff copied Gyosei and tightly guarded them. Mr. Takasaki, a late Outadokoro administrator, decided to share some of his majesty's poetry with the general public. Without his courageous effort, we wouldn't be able to see Gyosei today. I was right, Rick. Gyosei was sacred and respected like the Sutra (Buddhism teachings). Gyosei were the  teachings of the Meiji emperor to all his subjects - military men, educators, politicians, businessmen, all level of citizens and family."

For more information on the Meiji Emperor and the memorial dedicated to him and the Empress Shoken, please go to the Meiji Jingu web site 

Excerpts from Waka poetry of The Emperor Meiji 
published by Meji Jingu Office (Meiji Shinto Shrine inTokyo)

Waka, also called tanka, are very short fixed forms containing 31 syllable, and are said to exceedingly express the feelings of the Japanese people. The writing of waka poetry has been traditionally called "Shikishima no Michi" , or the "Way of Shikishima" (A poetic name for Japan). Waka poetry, then, has a history that extends back to over a thousand years. The writing of waka was nourished and elevated through history by Imperial Court, and many of the ancient poems that have been left to us were written by Emperors themselves. the Emperor Meiji was no exception as he was celebrated by the people as "Sage of Poetry", and he has left us superb waka poems which reached the astonishing number of 100,000 composed during his lifetime. The Emperor Meiji, however, wrote occasional waka in the midst of daily life, and not as works to be read by others in appreciation. Yet, it is for this very reason that the Emperor's heartfelt sincerity touches our hearts. His literary style is one which only an Emperor could achieve. English language version of the Emperor Meiji's waka translated by Professor Harold Wright, a scholar and translator of  Japanese poetry, of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA.
For an April, 1999 Japan Echo article on 
The Meiji  Emperor and his use of Waka poetry, see 
An Imperial Poetic Tradition

For the times to come
And of meeting what must be met
All of our people
Must be taught to walk along
The path of sincerity

from Meiji Jingu web site

More Gyosei

also see the 125 poems chosen for the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei


It is our hope
That all the world's oceans
Be joined in peace,
So why do the winds and waves
Now rise up in angry rage?


The spacious sky
Spans serene and clear
So blue above,
Oh, that our soul could grow
And become so opoen!


The morning sun
Rise so splendidly
Into the sky;
Oh,that we could attain
Such a clear reviving soul!


High in the sky
There can be seen towering
A tall mountain,
Were one but wish to climb it
A path of ascent exists.


In a world of storms
Let there be no wavering
Of our human hearts;
Remain as the pine tree
With root sunk deep in ston

From page 252 of Mr.Ueno's book 

"Me ni mie nu kami ni mukaite hajizaru wa hito no makoto no koko ro nari keri" 

You have a right pure soul 
if you have nothing
ashamed of 
in front of God 
whom you cannot see.

For Information on Modern Waka Poetry - 
Contemporary Haiku: Origins and New Directions

If you have comments or suggestions, Contact Me.  I will try to answer them all.

 Goto Top of Page for Menu