Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever. So they donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and from overseas, and they worked voluntarily to create this forest. Thus, thanks to the sincere heart of the people, this shrine was established on November 1, 1920.
Meiji Jingu, a shrine of national prayer for peace and prosperity was built as a result of combinated his virtues. The shrine building was lost by fire during the last war, but was reconstructed in 1958, being supported by all loyal Japanese. The feelings of reverence and yearning of the people for the Empreor and Empress are ever increasing.
Enshrined Emperor and Empress in Meiji Jingu
Emperor Meiji (1852 - 1912) is the 122nd emperor of Japan, the great- grandfather of the current Emperor. He ascended to the throne in 1867. When Japan was facing unprecedented conditions such as the opening of the country to the world after its long isolation and the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Emperor Meiji took the initiative to promote friendship with other countries, and to introduce western civilization and developed technology from overseas while preserving japanese identity, and thus laid the foundations of modern Japan.
Empress Shoken (1850 - 1914) not only supported the Emperor behind the scenes but also devoted herself to promoting national welfare and women's education. She was also concerned about world affairs, and she donated a fund, named after her, to the International Red Cross, which has been used for international welfare activities until today.
The sincere heart of the Emperor and Empress towards the people can be seen directly in the Waka Poetry they composed throughout their lives.
Waka Poetry by Emperor Meiji
"If every nation
Could be fully protected,
And the four seas
Rested in tranquility,
Ah, the joy of such a world!"
Waka Poetry by Empress Shoken
"By helping each other
With the means we each possess,
We can come to know
That the four seas of this earth
Were born of one mother."
For more information
Official web site:http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/index.html