Kimigayo is both one of the world's shortest national anthems and one of its oldest. The song is 11 musical phrases in length, and the entire lyrics are 32 characters, or kanji, in length. The lyrics praise the Japanese emperor and wish for his long reign, and they come from a poem written in the early Heian era (794-1185), and as such are over a thousand years old. The Dutch national anthem has existed longer as a definite combination of lyrics and music, but the Japanese anthem has the oldest words. The music for the anthem was composed in the 1880s.
As a result of the anthem's brevity, it is often repeated twice when sung or played in public.
May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand, generations,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss
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