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Kimi Ga Yo

"Kimi Ga Yo" (May 1,000 Years of Happy Reign Be Yours) (君が代) is the official national anthem of Japan as was unofficial until 1999. It is in the form of a Waka, an ancient Japanese style of poem, from the Heian period. The author is unknown.


Kimi ga yo wa
Chiyo ni,
Yachiyo ni
Sazare ishi no,
Iwao to narite,
Koke no musu made.

May my Lord's reign,
Continue for a thousand,
Eight thousand generations,
Until pebbles
Grow into boulders,
Covered in moss.


There is a theory that this lyric was once a love poem.

In 1869 Oyama Iwao and other Satsuma military officers selected Kimi Ga Yo as a national anthem and made an Englishman John William Fenton write music for it. However, due to bad reputation, it was abandoned in 1876. The present music was composed by Hayashi Hiromori in 1880.

See also: Japan, Hinomaru