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山川异域 风月同天: Japan sends aid packages to China with a Classical Chinese poem

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, a Japanese institution sent aid packages to China with messages of encouragement in modern Chinese (中国加油) and more interestingly in Classical Chinese.

According to Xinhua:

“The batch of aid included 20,000 masks and a number of infrared thermometers donated by the Japanese HSK Bureau to colleges and universities in the central Chinese province of Hubei, whose capital Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic. … The passage is said to be a Chinese poem that Japan’s Emperor Tenmu’s grandson Prince Nagaya (684?-729) sent to the Tang Dynasty’s high monk Ganjin (Jianzhen) (688-763) about 1,300 years ago.”


The Classical Chinese message consists of two lines from a poem written in Japan by 長屋王 (Prince Nagaya) during China’s Tang dynasty: 山川异域,风月同天。

Here is an English translation and annotation of the full poem:

山川异域, Shān chuān yì yù, [mountain] [river] [different] [region] Among mountains and rivers of different lands;

风月同天。 fēng yuè tóng tiān. [wind] [moon] [same] [Heaven] the winds and the moon are the same under Heaven.

寄诸佛子, Jì zhū Fó zǐ, [Send] [all] [Buddha] [child] Send word to all disciples of Buddha,

共结来缘。 gòng bind láiyuán. [together] [bind] [future] [fate] bind together in future fate.