When it snowed in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito was often painfully reminded of an attempted coup d'etat that occurred early in his reign, noting on one occasion that he still bore a grudge over the incident.

One upshot of that event, known as the 2-26 Incident, is that he rarely skied again, although it was something he loved to do.

This is one of many fascinating insights to emerge from handwritten memos recently found with a cache of "waka" poems written by the emperor in his final years.

Eight sheets of paper that record a range of reminiscences were in the possession of an individual who was close to Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa. Along with the memos were 29 sheets of paper that Hirohito used to jot down and revise 252 “waka” poems.

One of the memos reads, “I think of the 2-26 Incident.”

This refers to an attempted coup d’etat on Feb. 26, 1936, by young army officers intent on purging the government and military leadership. Several people were killed or seriously injured in the uprising, and a number of the officers were later executed.

The memos were written in pencil on sheets of paper measuring 7.5 to 10.5 centimeters by 8.8 to 15 cm.

Hirohito wrote poems and random thoughts, sometimes in sentence form. The contents were apparently written in the period between 1980 up until his death in 1989 at the age of 87.

Hirohito became emperor in 1926.

The handwriting in the memos and the waka poems is in the same hand, and unquestionably is Hirohito's, say experts who examined the trove of documents.

At least two poems in the memos were the same as those found in the 29 sheets of paper printed with the characters of "Kunaicho" (Imperial Household Agency).

One of the two poems was read during Hirohito's visit to Saga Prefecture in May 1987.

According to agency officials and other sources, Hirohito often jotted down his thoughts or wrote poems while he traveled. Later, he used to polish his poetic works on other sheets of paper.

Of the eight memos, one starts with a description of heavy snow that had fallen in Tokyo since the early hours of the previous day. The emperor noted that it was numbingly cold in January.

He then wrote, “Seeing snow, I think of the 2-26 Incident.” It goes on to say, “I regret that I stopped skiing and that I can’t stroll around.”

A different memo reads, “I’m nostalgic for the days when I skied in my garden. So, I hold a grudge against the (2-26) incident. When I enjoyably hear stories about skiing from my children and other people, I just pray for a peaceful society.”

It was snowing in Tokyo when the 2-26 Incident occurred. At that time, Hirohito was 34 years old.

According to "Showa-Tenno Jitsuroku" (Fact record of Emperor Showa), Hirohito skied every day in February 1936 from the fifth day of that month. He also skied in the afternoon on Feb. 25, a day before the incident.

But after the coup attempt, he only ever skied twice, in 1939 and in 1942.

The memos also reflect his thoughts while viewing the remains of the No. 3 gun battery built in 1921 on a reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay, while being driven to the Minami-Boso region of Chiba Prefecture outside the capital.

It reads, “When I looked at them, (the sea area around) the remains of the gun battery have become a habitat for fish. I’m happy because the society has become peaceful.”

Isao Tokoro, professor emeritus of law at Kyoto Sangyo University, said after scrutinizing the memos that they gave a clearer insight into Hirohito's thoughts and emotions than the ream of poems written on the 29 sheets of paper.

“The memos are precious materials that express his deep inner feelings,” Tokoro said.

Non-fiction writer Masayasu Hosaka said that for Hirohito, the 2-26 Incident was the second most painful event next to World War II.

“It is known that he stopped playing golf after the war. If similar feelings would have spread to skiing, painful memories must have penetrated even into his daily life,” Hosaka said.