Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letter from Tokyo

HM Fourth King and the Emperor
Simple gestures can move the world. This is what seemed to have happened when Fourth King of Bhutan, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck visited Japan to attend the funeral of Showa Emperor in February of 1989.

According my friends and people I talked to, that day was misty and cold – almost freezing. US president Bush (the senior), French President Mitterrand, Prince Charles etc. were all there heavily dressed, furred and well-covered. Our King was there too but with our knee-length gho.  No gloves, no hats, no mufflers or anything - besides our simple gho.  The world leaders were all seated on the VVIP stand besides the Showa emperor’s body that lay-in-state.

As the leaders were called upon, one by one, to pay their respect in front of the casket, they got up, paid homage and immediately left after doing that. The cold, I guess, was unbearable.  But the King returned to his seat. And was the only one to do that.  He sat there braving the cold in the most dignified manner - for hours till the ceremony was over.

The NHK camera, that was giving live telecast of the event to the world, kept zooming back on him. And the whole country was amazed and kept asking, kare wa darey deska? (who is he) Soon they found out, as the commentator introduced him as the King of Bhutan.  This simple gesture moved a nation - already in grief.  23 years laters people still talk about it vividly.  It has procured immense goodwill that continues to genuinely bond the Japanese and the Bhutanese people - no matter where they are or what they do. 

We often think that one has to carry out extraordinary deeds to be noticed or to change the world. Wrong. Listening to this story over and over again here in Tokyo from different sources, I couldn’t help thinking about how fortunate we were to have had a King like him. 

His Majesty just turned 56 - day before yesterday. May the heavens shower him with good health so that he continue to inspire us and touch more lives and hearts in a world that is increasingly becoming nonsensical.

(At the time of writing this article, the Japanese people are waiting with great excitements the visit to Japan of His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun.  His Majesty's gesture following the Japan earthquake, the royal wedding and the discovery of a new butterfly species in Bhutan by Japanese researchers are already making rounds)


  1. simply A stroke of genius! Thank you sir for sharing this event with us...when i told about this to a remote community of Trashiyangtse, their love and respect for HMK4 increased even more...
    Thank you once again.

  2. Wow, truly a great soul and leader on the planet. we are very fortunate beings :) Thanks for sharing it here.

  3. Thank you for posting this sir Dorji....I feel proud to be bhutanese when i read all these....all your previous articles as very good as well....thumbs up....looking forward for your next article ....:)......
    HMK5 is extraodrinary....I get this sense that he can do magic.....I mean, howcome everything goes accordingly......Long live HMk5...

  4. sory i wrote k5 i guess...its k4 i was talking bad

  5. wonderful...simply lies in doing simple things....we are truly blessed to have a leader like him.....and thank you for sharing the story with us sir...

  6. profound inspiration exhilarated my heart and reminded me again of being so fortunate in having a kings who always left legend to the world...loved it la sir...:))

  7. wow good collection and good post too. thank u for sharing it...

  8. we are all blessed to have OUR KING as a leader...

  9. To all of you,

    Thanks. I couldn't help but write this to pay tribute to our Living Legend. There are more and because of my killing schedule here, I could only write this story.

    Stay tuned for more....


  10. Whenever I hear stories about K4 I get goose bumps.I feel fortunate to live in such an interesting time, when such a man live in flesh and blood, help, touch and walk across the face of globe.
    Thanks for the update!