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Tenno Heika Tanjoubi

Tenno Heika Tanjoubi

Or, better understood by Westerners "The Emperor of Japan's birthday."     It's not often you get to offer well-wishes to an Emperor, who was, and has been to all Japanese, a living god for centuries to all of his subjects, especially  with a lineage that stretches back thousands of years, the oldest unbroken reign in recorded history.    

1% of the nation is Christian whereas the  99% either claim Buddhism or Shintoism as their faith, Shinto being the indigenous faith of Japan which is centered around the Emperor of Japan and Buddhism being more associated with matters of the dead by many.   Still the mystique surrounding the Imperial lineage leaves much to be learned and understood even by Japanese.   I love the continuity of tradition and I love how Tenno Heika embodies all that there is about his own country and people.   There is something so paternal and beautiful in it all.  

The reality is that all Japanese in Japan are  still experimenting with the notion that the prime minister governs the country Democratically, and that Democracy is supposed to work purely in the interest of the Japanese, and in addition, adhere to a constitution written and formed mostly by a dead white general,  which tells them that their god is no longer a god,  and that they are free to worship a fat white man in the sky because it's Christmas instead, speaks volumes.   But that's crazy talk, right?   Maybe xmas is the reason for the season in December for some people.    I hope not, but what I do hope is that with Mr. Abe the current day constitution will be thoroughly reviewed and re-written with his own people in mind.   


It took me years to finally get around to coming here, to the Kookyo, the Emperial Palace and  residence of the Royal Family for well-wishing.     I have also often wondered what it would be like to walk in the Kokyo-Gaien National Park, and  amongst its many Japanese black pines and open spaces,  right in the center of Tokyo adjacent to the palace.     The park used to be the private garden of the Imperial family up until 1949 when it was opened  as a national park to the public.   

On the train ride up I was thinking about what it would be like to walk across Nijubashi bridge too, across that iconic moat, like what you see in picture postcards of Japan.   And then through its main gate and up a long incline to the viewing area.    Security was tight as expected; pat downs and baggage checks .    Everybody there received complimentary hinomaru flags to wave and shout bonzai.

 I was surprised to see so many foreigners up there, plus it was my first time, too.   Actually, I was a little peeved today on the way up.   I was tweeting today with a person that goes by the handle @yurikageyama over Fukushima and about the radiation fears being tweeted.    That on Tenno Heika's birthday this would be the most dominate tweet of the day in Japan by certain media outlets and social media sources.   It was quite disgusting how misguided some media sources have become, and over such hype and propaganda, fear, and hysterical reporting.    Never any good news from them.


The most profound and beautiful impression was seeing Tenno Heika with my own eyes and seeing him stand there with his family.     Hearing his voice come through the speakers was soothing, reassuring, and reaffirming all at the same time.   There was hope in what he said, and promise of a better tomorrow.   He had recently recovered from surgery and is back to normal.   He mentioned, of course, about the people of Tohoku and how his prayers are with them and the displaced.    I think everybody who attended today was moved by the eloquence in his speech and could feel the history and power of an entire nation.    I think I left another person today, reaffirmed and reassured.   All the pessimism and doubt normally associated with weak reporting by the press and negativity  was washed away.   The Monarch was in good form and very healthy.

What had surprised me on my walk around were the pink blossoms on the trees, and on such a bitter cold winter morning.   Many onlookers were captivated by so many and stopped to take pictures.   I though it offered a brilliant contrast with the overall autumn scene.    Yellow leaves and grassy areas spread out wide was wonderful.  

The Peach Blossom Music Hall is a rare sight to behold because it is octahedron shaped and with beautiful reliefs and mosaics on every side.   It was built in 1964 for the late Empress Kojun, Tenno Heika's mother,  Empress consort to Showa Tenno, the longest lived Empress in Japanese history.  


I do not know if I will be attending  next year.   One time was a enough.   I have completed just about everything in Japan.   But certainly, at the top of my list, was to pay respects to the Royal Family.

On a final note:

I do believe Japan has many great years ahead.    I am not the doubter or the pessimist.   Radiation fears should be put to rest, and off comparisons between Chernobyle (Sp?) and Fukushima should be completely off the table.   It takes time to right the wrongs brought on by nuclear energy.   There is enough blame to go around, but blame alone will not solve the problems facing Japan.     People are not fleeing Fukushima.   If anything they are displaced and many will be returning to rebuild their lives and will not be swayed by popular media sources that paint this bleak picture of the world they live in.

I have learned that the good Japanese people have the strength and power to overcome all sorts of adversity, and they will overcome this one.


Yes.  I am the sentimentalist you love to hate!


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