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Genji Mihara Returns with Leis from Japan in 1958

Original Issue Date: Feb. 8, 1958 Translated by Minami Endo The North American Post

Genji Mihara, president of Japanese Community Service in Seattle (JCS), arrived at Seattle Tacoma International Airport directly from Honolulu via PanAmerican Airlines at 10:05 p.m. yesterday. He joined the Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading in Japan, setting the theme with “clouds.” About twenty friends from JCS, Seattle Tanka Poetry Society, Japanese Presbyterian Church and Mr. and Mrs. Consul General Takeno, Senior Counsel Yoshioka and Mr. and Mrs. Webber of the Port of Seattle welcomed Mihara who was wearing three Hawaiian leis. His wife Katsuno could not approach him because of the crowds, but Consul General Takeno guided her to Mihara, which was a pleasant moment.

“Since the welcome parties and interviews kept being held almost everyday during my one-month stay in Japan, I spoke too much and my voice is gone,” Mihara said.

“To summarize the Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading, I visited the Imperial Palace at 9 a.m. on Jan. 10, joined the ritual for the opening ceremony for an hour and half and met the Emperor and Empress in a room with the other 14 members who were selected for the honor.

“Minister of Ceremony, Chief Harada of the Imperial Household Agency introduced, me as ‘Mr. Genji Mihara, president of Japanese Community Service in Seattle from Washington State, United States of America,’ to the Emperor, and he told me, ‘You came back again.’ ”

After lunch, I had a chance to speak with the four poetry judges. They explained that they picked a few dozen poems from seventeen thousand works, and the final 15 poems were selected by the Emperor.

After the meeting, we got on a bus for a tour of the Imperial Palace and left there at 4 p.m.

Poem Contributes to U.S.-Japan Friendship, but “No need for celebration party”

Mihara’s hometown, Koryo Village in Hikawa County in Shimane Prefecture is now planning to build a memorial led by local leaders to celebrate the story of the village being told in the United States. Secretary Victor Mayer of Washington State also sent a letter to Mihara mentioning his appreciation of how Mt. Rainier was introduced to Japan and sharing his hopes of displaying the framed poem in his office.

Mr. McKay, chief staff of Mt. Rainier National Park, sent Mihara a free access pass to the park to show his appreciation for the advertisement of Mt. Rainier. The Emperor chose Mihara’s poem singing about his home village and Mt. Rainier, and that helped contribute to the U.S.-Japan friendship.

“I appreciate the kindness from everyone for the visit to Japan,” Mihara said. “I was surprised to know there would be a ‘Celebration Party,’ but I must decline it. In Tokyo, I received favors from Tetsuo Saito, Juzo Yoshikawa and Toshio Sato, and they asked me to give their best regards to everyone. Mayor Watanabe of the City of Hiroshima also shared a message that he looks forward to everyone’s visit for the Hiroshima Restoration Exposition in April and May.”