"Kimigayo" (君が代?) is the national anthem of Japan. From 1868 to 1945, it served as the national anthem of the Empire of Japan. With a length of 11 measures and 32 characters, "Kimigayo" is also one of the world's shortest national anthems currently in use. Its lyrics are based on a Waka poem written in the Heian period (794-1185), sung to a melody written in the imperial period (1868–1945). The current melody was chosen in 1880, replacing an unpopular melody composed eleven years earlier. While the title "Kimigayo" is usually translated as His Majesty's Reign, no official translation of the title nor lyrics has ever been established by law.

Prior to 1945, "Kimigayo" served as the national anthem of the Empire of Japan, however, when the Empire of Japan was dissolved following its surrender at the end of World War II, its parliamentary democracy successor state, the State of Japan, replaced it in 1945, the polity therefore changed from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary democracy. However, Emperor Hirohito was not dethroned, and "Kimigayo" was retained as the de facto national anthem, only becoming legally recognized as the official national anthem in 1999, with the passage of Act on National Flag and Anthem.

Since Japan's period of parliamentary democracy began, there has been controversy over the performance of the "Kimigayo" anthem at public ceremonies. Along with the Japanese Hinomaru flag, "Kimigayo" has been claimed by those critical of it to be a symbol of Japanese nationalism, imperialism and militarism, with debate over whether "Kimigayo", as a remnant of the Empire of Japan's imperialist past, is compatible with a contemporary Japanese parliamentary democracy. Thus, the essential points of the controversies regarding the Hinomaru flag and "Kimigayo" are whether they express praise or condemnation to the Empire of Japan and whether the Empire of Japan (pre-1945) and postwar Japan (post-1945) are the same states or different states.

Read more about Kimigayo:  Etymology, Protocol, Present-day Perception, Lyrics, Other Versions

Other articles related to "kimigayo":

Kimigayo - Other Versions
... The Slovenian band Laibach recorded an arrangement of "Kimigayo" for their album Volk ... As a way to avoid that type of punishment, teachers who are opposed to the compulsory singing of the anthem have tried to expand various English-language parody lyrics across Japan and through the Internet ...
Act On National Flag And Anthem (Japan) - Hinomaru and Kimigayo Before 1999
... Kimigayo is one of the world's shortest national anthems, with a length of 11 measures and 32 characters ... This was the first version of Kimigayo, which was discarded because the melody "lacked solemnity." In 1880, the Imperial Household Agency adopted the current melody of ... By 1893, Kimigayo was included in public school ceremonies due to the efforts of the then Ministry of Education ...
Ōyama Iwao - Kimigayo
... In 1869, the British military band instructor John William Fenton, who was then working in Yokohama as a o-yatoi gaikokujin, told the members of Japan's military band about the British national anthem "God Save the King" and emphasized the necessity of a similar national anthem for Japan ... The band members requested artillery Captain Ōyama Iwao, who was well versed in Japanese and Chinese literature, to select appropriate words and Ōyama selected the poem which came to be used in Japan's national anthem kimigayo ...
Act On National Flag And Anthem (Japan) - Public Opinion
... the Hinomaru as the national flag, and six out of ten supported Kimigayo as the national anthem ... Some felt that Kimigayo was an inappropriate anthem for modern Japan one respondent suggested using the song "Sakura Sakura" instead ... Another suggestion was to keep the melody of Kimigayo but replace the lyrics ...
Act On National Flag And Anthem (Japan) - Background of The Legislation
... and his teachers over use of the Hinomaru and Kimigayo ... the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to draft legislation to make the Hinomaru and Kimigayo the official symbols of Japan ... the first time legislation was proposed to make the Hinomaru and Kimigayo official symbols ...