Japanese Song Lyrics

My Relationship With Japanese Music & Song Lyrics

Over my years of playing music and touring through Japan, I’ve come across many Japanese songs, lyrics, and artists that I’ve come to love. Since around 2019 I’ve been actively making English language translations of some of these. I’ve also been recording English versions of the translations. So many of these are “singable” translations. This means that often the translations are not “literal” as some people might make them. 

What I am trying to do is to create a fairly accurate impression, or one possible interpretation, of what I believe the original song is trying to achieve. Ultimately, I believe there is always an element of interpretation in any good translation. Doing a so-called “word for word” translation often doesn’t reveal a true and meaningful rendition.

My musical philosophy is also based on interpretation. Even in a standard, non-translating cover version, I prefer versions that take the original to an entirely different place. Why recreate the wheel?

Tranlsating Japanese Music Hits

Since 2021, I’ve been doing regular translations of the top songs on the Japanese Oricon charts. Song lyrics form an intriguing insight into a culture’s norms, values, and dreams. Song lyrics are a direct vein leading to a culture’s heart. People sing about the things that they can’t say. Songs make the soundtrack to the ever-evolving zeitgeist.

A-Z List of Japanese Song Lyrics

With that in mind here’s a list of some of the lyrics I’ve translated. I’ve also presented research on the background to many of them.

The songs range from the very old, to very new, from popular to underground. They are all either songs that I personally like or find interesting, or songs that there has been a large amount of demand from others to have translations done of.

Romanised  TitleTitle in JapaneseEnglish title translationComposerLyricistArtistSong TypeEnglish Language Performance made?
Ai Wo Tsutaetai Da To Ka愛を伝えたいだとかI need to Communicate My Love To YouAimyonAimyonAimyonPopN
Chi, Ase, namida血、汗、涙Blood, Sweat and TearsBTSBoy BandN
Boku wa chotto僕は一寸I’m a little…  Haruomi Hosono Y
Einstein Yori Dianna Agronアインシュタインよりディアナ・アグロンForgot about Einstein, How about Dianna AgronFireworksYasushi AkimotoHKT48Idol PopN
Gurenge紅蓮華Crimson Lotus FlowerLiSA/草野華余子 Kayoko KusanoLiSA/草野華余子 Kayoko KusanoLiSAAnime Song (Demon Slayer)Y
Hoshi to HanaホシトハナStars & FlowersTetsuichi OkabeKanata Nakamura中村彼方Sanshu Junior High School Hero ClubAnime Song(Yuki Yuna is a Hero)結城友奈は勇者であるN
Ii Yu Danaいい湯だなThe Water Feels So Good  The Drifters  
Imjin-gawaイムジン河Imjin River高宗漢Kazuhiko Kato朴世永Pak Se-yong松山猛Takeshi MatsuyamaThe Folk Crusadersザ・フォーク・クルセダーズ60s FolkY
Kaze Wo Atsumete風をあつめてGather up the windHaruomi HosonoTakashi MatsumotoHappy End70s Folk-RockN
Kimi Ni Shikarareta君に叱られたTold Off By YouYasushi Akimoto 秋元康Nogizaka 46Pop (No. 1 Sep 2021 Oricon)N
Kimi Wo Nosete君をのせてRide With MeJoe Hisaishi久石 譲 Miyazaki Hayao宮崎 駿Azumi Inoue 井上杏美Anime Song (Laputa Castle In The Sky)Y
Korin光輪HaloTakashi Ueno植野隆司Takashi Ueno植野隆司TenniscoatsテニスコーツIndieY
Mayonaka No Doa (Stay With Me)真夜中のドア (Stay With Me)At Your Door In The Middle of the Night (Stay With Me)  Miki MatsubaraCity PopY
Onibi鬼火Will-O-WispKoji Shibuya Yumbo N
Omoide思ひ出Remembrances  Tsunekichi SuzukiAcoustic FolkSoundtrack (Midnight Diner)Y
Pon Pon PonぽんぽんぽんPon Pon Pon  Kyary Pamyu PamyuPopY
Sailor Fuku Wo Nugasanaideセーラー服を脱がさないでdon’t take off my sailor-style school uniformHitoshi Sato
Yasushi Akimoto 秋元康Onyanko ClubIdol PopN
Shukujitsu祝日Day Off  Kaneko AyanoAlt-folkY
Slow BalladスローバラッドSlow Ballad  Kiyoshiro ImawanoRockY
Suki Suki Daisuki好き好き大好きI love you, love you, really love you  Jun Togawa80s Alt-PopY
Japanese lyrics list