Japanese anthem- Kimi Ga Yo - May your reign last forever
The lyrics of this very short anthem were written by an unknown second century poet. They were recited during various outstanding events and ceremonies in Japanese history. The music was composed much later, in the XIX century, by Hayashi Hiromori, a royal court musician.
It was on November 3, 1880, that Kimi Ga Yo was presented to Emperor Meiji, who was celebrating his birthday. It was performed several times during the century that followed, but was only made the national anthem on June 29, 1999, when the solar disc Japanese flag Hinomaru was also officialised. It should be noted that some Asian countries, which saw it as a symbol of the Japanese imperialism and expansionism they had suffered, somewhat protested.
Kimi Ga Yo, which means Your Reign initially talked about the worship of the emperor, who was considered and honoured like a semi-god. Japan was then governed by a very strict life code, consolidated by Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism. In this spirit, the fundamentals to be respected were caution against dangers and death, love for one’s fatherland and the person of the emperor, moral and culture, including in social relations. Bushido (the warriors’ course), the code of honour, which the life of samurai had to respond to, required their loyalty and unshakable faithfulness.
During the Second World War, the anthem was used to glorify Japanese militarism. This song was modified when it had to be adopted as the national anthem, and Kimi Ga Yo, today for Japan, represents the cradle of martial arts, the permanent quest for peace and prosperity.