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You're reading: Poems on Japan disaster win Palace poetry contest
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Coincidentally, the theme for this year’s reading of "tanka," or traditional five-line Japanese poems that date back to the shogun periods, was "shore."

Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, their two sons and other royalty in gowns sat silently inside a large room in the palace, as a choir of several men around a table read each of the 10 winning works in singsong, dragged-out tones.

The imperial family also offered their poems for the event. One of Akihito’s, released Jan. 1, expresses his sorrow and horror in watching the dark waves of the rolling tsunami on TV news footage.

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