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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #1: February 6, 2002

Koizumi Quotes Hirohito Snow Job

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Koizumi quotes Hirohito snow job"

"Koizumi dismisses criticism over quoting emperor's poem"
TOKYO, Feb. 4 Kyodo - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Monday dismissed criticism he used the words of a former emperor for political purposes when he quoted one of the emperor's poems in his Diet speech in a bid to convey encouragement to the public during the economic downturn.

"Waka" poem, the "thirty-one syllable verse", is a traditional Japanese culture that dates back more than a thousand years. No wonder the Imperial Family has considered it to be an important part of their life, formulating good "waka" is an essential ability for every member of the Family.

The late emperor Hirohito had left a quite a number of waka poems, often displaying his pure literary talent. The one Mr. Koizumi cited is among the most famous, intended to encourage the people in the ruins after the war, but many interpret it as also to encourage the Emperor himself during probably the most depressed period of his life.

It is understandable for Mr. Koizumi to choose this verse then, when the prime minister himself seems to be depressed by the tumbling support rating. Under the present Constitution of Japan, proclaimed in 1946, the Emperor is merely "the symbol of the State and the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power." (First Article of the Constitution) Logically speaking, the Emperor has no political power that the Prime Minister could employ to strengthen his own position. But it has been the sentiment of many Japanese that because the war was fought under the flag of the Emperor, which led to disaster, people still tend to become nervous whenever the doings of the Imperial Family is mentioned in any way in the political arena.

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