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What do the lyrics of  the Japanese National Anthem mean?

日本国歌の歌詞はどんな意味なの?

We have a chance to listen to National Anthems of each country at sporting events,before playing games or in award ceremonies,such as soccer,baseball, figure skating and the Olympic games. Any national anthem sounds impressive. Athletes and also spectators listen to it with open ears or sing it together.It makes me realize again a patriotic spirit and I have a feeling of solemnity at the time.But honestly, I can’t understand what other countries anthems’ lyrics say…Then,I got a request “Tell me what the Japanese national anthem -Kimi ga yo-is about!” from Wan-kun. 
The basic lyrics of the Japanese national anthem,"Kimi ga Yo" came from the 10th-century(the early Heian period) anthology “Kokin wakashu(古金和集)as a poem.No one knows who wrote it.
But there was not a national anthem until Meiji period,where Japan started as a modern nation.On this occasion,the Meiji restoration and the opening of the country to the world,British people told for the necessity of a national anthem.A man who was a British military band instructor made to go with the above-mentioned poem, because its meaning “live long” sympathized with people.
The national anthem was just made in haste in1869(Meiji period 2).However, because it was made in such a hectic schedule, the melody didn’t quite match the lyrics.So,the music was recomposed in 1880(Meiji period 13) by an Imperial Court musician and was arranged by a German bandmaster. “Kimi ga yo"became the current Japanese national anthem officially in 1888. Actually, Japanese national anthem was born under the hybrid of circumstances!

<Lyrics>
君が代は/Kimi ga yo wa :Mature men and women continue over the ages
千代に八千代に/chiyo ni yachiyo ni:For thousands of years, If you are reborn
さざれ石の巌となりて/sazare ishi no iwao to narite:Unite and cooperate for mighty rocks shall grow
苔のむすまで/koke no musu made:connected with a strong tie and trust until the moss shall overgrow them all

In summary,this means everybody helps each other and builds a happy world that can take a thousands of years.This is where pebbles grow to big rocks and become covered with moss.
The Japanese national anthem expresses this kind of wish in the lyrics.

 

サッカー、野球、フィギュアスケートなど、スポーツの試合開始前や表彰式では世界各国の国歌を聞きますよね。どの国歌も印象的なメロディで、選手はもちろん観客もじっと聞き入ったり、口ずさんだり。愛国心を改めて感じ、厳粛な気持ちになります。でも、他国の歌詞の意味はよくわからないのが正直なところ……。ワン君からは「日本の国歌『君が代』の内容を教えて!」とオーダーを受けました。

「君が代」の原型は、10世紀の初頭、平安初期の『古今和歌集』に「詠み人知らず」として採録された和歌です。1869年(明治2年)、日本が開国を期にイギリス人から「国歌はないの?」と聞かれ、慌てて「健康で長生きしていこう」という内容のポピュラーであったこの和歌にイギリス人の軍楽隊教師が曲をつけました。しかし、バタバタで制作したのでメロディと歌詞のマッチングはイマイチ。そこで、1880年(明治13年)、宮中の雅楽の楽人がメロディをつけ直し、ドイツ人の編曲で誕生したのが現在のバーション!日本国歌はハイブリットなんですよ~。

<歌詞>
君が代は=完璧に成長した男女が時代を超えて
千代に八千代に=永遠に生まれ変わっても
さざれ石の巌(いわお)となりて=協力し団結して
苔(こけ)のむすまで=固い絆と信頼で結びつていこう

要約すると、誰もが力を合わせて、小さな石が大きな岩になってそこに苔が生えるぐらい、長いながーい時間をかけて、平和な世の中を作っていこう!という願いが日本人ならではの表現に込められています。