Last week, Emperor Hirohito, on a dais in front of a gold-leaf screen, facing 35 morning-coated members of the Imperial Household, heard a chorus singsong through five winning poems in the annual Imperial Poetry Party.
In 1938 the Emperor had been a little careless with his keynote poem:
Peaceful is the morning in the Shrine garden;
World conditions, it is hoped, also will be peaceful.
Hirohito's soldiers in China took him seriously, began deserting. Though the annual poem is usually widely distributed, this one was squelched.
In melancholy 1946 the Emperor took more care in setting the theme"Snow on the Pine":
Man should be like the manly...