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The National Anthem

        The words of Kimigayo, which is sung as Japan's national anthem, were taken from a waka poem found in Kokinwakashu, Imperial Anthology Japan, collection of waka poems dating back to the tenth century. The poet's name is unknown. The anthem's melody was written by Hayashi Hiromori, an imperial court musician with a German musician early in the Meiji era. Over the years, this became the song the Japanese traditionally sang together as their national anthem. 

           The words of the anthem mean: "May the reign of the Emperor continue for all generations and for all eternity that it takes for small pebbles to grow into a great rock and become covered with moss.” Kimigayo became Japan's national anthem by law in 1999. The English philatelist of Japan translated it to English as followed.

"A thousand years of happy life be thine!

Live on, my Lord, till what are pebbles now,

By age united, to great rocks shall grow,

Whose venerable sides the moss doth line."