If you are the impatient type, who can’t wait for the national anthem to end so your favorite sporting event can begin, then Japan may be the place for you. It holds the distinction of having the shortest national anthem on record.
Officially referred to as “Kimi ga Yo,” the anthem of the Land of the Rising Sun is only four lines long. These lines consist of 32 characters and run for eleven measures.
Not only is “Kimi ga Yo” the world’s shortest national anthem, but it is also one of the oldest. The origin can be traced to a poem written sometime in the Heinz period, between the years A.D. 794 and 1185.
The title translates in English to “His Imperial Majesty’s Reign.” Its lyrics, in English are:
May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders lush with moss.
Listen to and see the lyrics to “Kimi ga Yo” here: