Jun Togawa Suki Suki Daisuki

戸川純 好き好き大好き
Togawa Jun Suki Suki Daisuki

Who is Jun Togawa?

Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an “artist”. She replied, “would it be bad if I said I was both?”.

She is one of those people that you can truly say straddles the boundary between pop and art,in a similar way to, say, a Bjork, or a Lady Gaga or even her country woman Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. In her ability to constantly change form and shape shift into various pop and sub cultural forms, there’s also a bit of Madonna or David Bowie about her. Vocally, she often uses a tight warbling vibrato that sounds to my ear similar to Johnny Rotten. Certainly, there is a punk sensibility about a lot of what she does. Like most great artists, she is an exquisite mish-mash of various seemingly disparate but somehow destined to meet elements.

日本語の解説は下記にあります。

Approx Japanese level

Themes

Suki Suki Daisuki Japanese

好き好き大好き

 

常識をはるかに超えてつのる想い

突然変異的に勃発したバラ色の恋

もはや暴力的とも言える程の純愛

既に昭和史に刻む勢いのジュ・テーム

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き

好き好き大好き

愛してるって言わなきゃ殺す

 

日常を打破して具体化するエロス

本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は

潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き

好き好き大好き

愛してるって言わなきゃ殺す

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き……

 

Suki Suki Daisuki English Translation

Love You, Love You, Really Love You

Beyond all common sense, this feeling just keeps getting worse

A sudden and strange mutation, a rose coloured love escalation

A love so pure and violent

I wonder if I can survive it

A je t’aime that could cut right through

The showa epoch too

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

Pummelling the everyday 

An eros getting more concrete 

An instinctual affair

Over and over in a hell endless

A direct premonition

Of anti-nihilism

Awakens a latent devious fixation

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

「アイドルなのかアーティなのか、どちらなんですか」とインタビュアーの方に訊かれたときも「両方、ってわけにはいきませんかね」と答えました(笑)。 Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an “artist”. She replied, “would it be bad if I said I was both?”.

Jun Togawa Background

Jun Togawa As A Purveyor of Toilet Technologies

From the early 80s, she managed to work within and without the system as an actress, a singer, creator and destroyer of aesthetic worlds. In Japan, strangely, her early career was often associated with her role in toilet commercials. She appeared in ads for the company Toto, who had just created a questionably revolutionary toilet innovation called the “Washlet”, an electronic bum cleaner that was a forerunner to the high tech toiletry that Japan has come to, also strangely, become well known for. Her television talk show appearances of the time inevitably started with hosts referencing the tagline from the commercials 「オシリだって洗ってほしい」, which translates as “Your butt wants some cleaning-love too”.  Such are the ignomonies an artist attempting to make their way in the world must endure. The thrust of the advertisements was the fairly convincing argument that “you wouldn’t just wipe your hands clean if they were covered in the bog, so why don’t you wash your arsehole you dirty slobs”. 

Jun Togawa as Singer

In appearances singing on Japanese television during this time, she often seems to be making herself up to look like many of the cute girl-idols of the time, but with a glint in her eye. Flying just south of all out parody and just north of purist sincerity, you get the sense that no one quite realised that, on some level, she must have been taking the piss.

Musically, she got her start singing at the ultra hip, Nylon 100% cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo. She impressed the cognoscenti patrons of the coffee shop such as young musician Koji Ueno by singing a 1940’s imperial Japanese ballad called Soshu Yakyoku.  A song written for the film Shina no Yoru “China Nights”, which you can see here,  and originally sung by iconic pan-asia-atlantic star Yoshiko Yamaguchi, Soshu Yakyoku isn’t what you would expect to hear a young up and coming singer cutting their teeth on.

Jun Togawa & Guernica

Togawa started a group called Guernica with Ueno, where they dressed like a couple of clean-cut war-era Japanese entertainers. They played covers and original songs based on the music of the time, but all of it was given a disembodied, and electronic, twist.

The feeling of futuristic nostalgia that pervades Guernica’s music would go on to be one characteristic of much of Togawa’s work to the present day.

Jun Togawa’s Most Well Known Song – Suki Suki Daisuki

The song Sukisuki Daisuki is the title track from the 2nd album released under Togawa’s own name. The album is number five if you include her work with ゲルニカ and ヤプーズ. Sukisuki Daisuki has become perhaps her most iconic song internationally.

Suki Suki Daisuki Meme

Suki Suki Daisuki inspired a meme of the same name in the late Twenty-Teens where various various international manga and anime artists created a myriad of more or less cute-cum-grotesque images to go with the song’s iconic pre-chorus and chorus.

Suki Suki Daisuki & The Concept of “Yandere”

The song is a precursor to what came to be known as やんでれ Yandere, predominantly in the anime world, in the new millennium. Yandere is a portmanteau of the words 病んでいる, meaning sick or suffering, and でれでれ, meaning flirting, fawning or being lovestruck. On the surface, the word sounds linguistically pretty close to the English word “Love Sick”, but it has a different nuance to it. It suggests a sort of stalkerish sensibility in a lover. It hints at something dark, sinister, and sadistic. Characters of this type, especially female characters, perhaps reflecting the male sensibility of many of the people creating the comics, are prevalent in the anime world.

Though the term ヤンデレ hadn’t been coined when Jun Togawa released “Suki suki daisuki” the song offers a good representation of the Yandere concept. Indeed, the song has played a role in the creation of the idea in Japanese popular culture. It is most clearly crystallized in the iconic end line of the chorus. “You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you.” Stephen King and Annie Wilkes couldn’t have said it better in “Misery” (though Annie probably would have been a lot cuter if the story had been set in, say, suburban Saitama).

Suki Suki Daisuki Lyric Notes

The lead up to the chorus is visceral in its imagery: 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks”

At the same time as being raw and physical, it’s also comes across as intellectually cerebral, with line like:

本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は

An instinctual affair

Over and over an hell endless

A direct premonition

Of anti-nihilism

“Anti-nihilism” isn’t a word that finds its way into a lot of pop songs.

Suki Suki Daisuki’s Strangest Line

It was probably the following line that gave me the most trouble to translate:

潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発

In my translation of the song I’ve gone with “Awakens a latent devious fixation”. But this is a bit of a sanitised, generalised version of Togawa’s original Japanese. 

The original has two interpretations that you could take, depending on where you place the “性” that comes between the words 幼児 and暴力癖.

The less confronting interpretation you get by attaching the 性 to 幼児 gives you the word “infantile” making a sentence meaning something like:

“Invites a latent infantile violent propensity” 

If you attach the 性 to 暴力, you get the word 性暴力, meaning “sexual violence” or “sexual assault”. In this translation  幼児 and 性暴力 would needed to be translated as “infant sexual violence”, or paedophilia, which you would need to translate as:

“Awakens a latent paedophilic urge.”

Ouch. I’m not sure that would fly in the Western pop charts, then or now.

But there is no shortage of Japanese people confused about this sentence also. See this thread (in Japanese) on Yahoo Answers (or Yahoo 知恵袋 in Japan) where someone has has posted a question asking what the line means. The answerer refers to a quote from Jun Togawa’s own book that (and which you can read an outstanding translated excerpt about the song here, also see juntogawaforever translation of the song here), thankfully, confirms that the line is closer to “Invites a latent infantile violent propensity” translation.

『それと言葉でいう幼児性ね。最近は全然暴力ふるいませんけど、幼児的な暴力癖があるんじゃないかという気がするので、意識の上では謙虚にしなきゃなと思いますよ。』

“The word is “”Infantile””. I haven’t exhibited any violence at all of late, but I feel like I must have some kind of infantile propensity towards violence within me, so I think I should keep a sense of modesty at the front of my mind.”

So, that is a relief.

Not that Jun Togawa seems to have many concerns about broaching taboo subjects in her lyrics. The title track from her debut, and previous to Suki Suki Daisuki, album was Tamahime-sama, which was a song about menstruation. In the intro video that accompanies the song Suki Suki Daisuki, Togawa holds a cat and tells us that she is moving from the theme of “menstruation” on the last album to the theme of “Eros” for this one. 

Now that’s a transition of themes that proves that she is indeed an “artist”, even if sonically she was aiming at something akin to an “idol”.

Other notable Versions of Suki Suki Daisuki

In 2013 the Japanese Idol girl group BiS did an unlikely collaboration with legendary noise band 非常階段 Hijokaidan to form the BiSKaidan and cover Jun Togawa’s Suki Suki Daisuki. The result sounds like this:

This inspired Jun herself to team up with Hijokaidan to form 戸川階段 Togawa Kaidan and record a version that seemed to dispense with cute veneer of the song and do a version of the song that sounds like some kind of bedraggled Yakuza hag singing the song to an unfaithful lover in a dark before committing grizzly murder.

Vampilla has also lent their slew of guitars to give the song a slow doom rock vibe as evidenced by this clip of them playing the song live in 2018:

Other Jun Togawa Connections & Stuff

Togawa has also worked with other artists we have looked at on Japanoscope including Haruomi Hosono who has produced music for Guernica. 

She has also worked with groups such as Halmens:

Jun Togawa is also written a lot including publishing several books of essays and works about her own life:

世界の「好き好き大好き」:戸川純の歌の英訳と背景

戸川純はかつて インタビューで「あなたはアイドルそれともアーティストですか」と聞かれたことがあります。そして彼女は「両方と言ったら悪いかしら?」と答えました。

 

彼女は本当にそういう2つの世界にまたがることができるアーティストだと思います。

おそらく、 レディー・ガガとかビョークとか、戸川純さんと同じく日本人の きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ、といった感じの人かもしれません。さらに彼女は全く異なるイメージになりきる能力 を持っているところはマドンナ、あるいは デヴィッド・ボウイと似ています。そして、彼女の歌い方にはひとフレーズごとにちょっとした音の震えるようなビブラートがあり、どこかジョニー・ロッテンを彷彿させます。また、彼女の振る舞いには、どこかパンク的な要素がある気がします。他の著名なアーティストと同様に彼女は様々な異質な要素を寄せ集めて、新しく絶妙で彼女独自のものを作り出します。

80年代戸川純とマスコミ

80年代初頭から芸能界の表舞台だけでなく、マスコミから離れた場所でも、彼女は女優として、歌手として、クリエイターとして 美的世界の創造者として、また時には破壊者として活動を続けてきました。

面白いことに、彼女が芸能活動を始めて間もないころ主にトイレのコマーシャルで世間一般に知られるようになりました。彼女は当時、TOTOの「顔」のような存在となっていました。TOTOは当時、革新的なトイレ「ウォッシュレット」を販売開始したところでした。これは、お尻を洗う小さなノズルが出てきて、水を吹き出すというものです。「ビデの自動化」といったようなものです。コマーシャルに出てくる彼女はとても印象的でした。そして、必ずと言ってもいいほど彼女が出演するテレビのトークショーの殆どの 司会者はそのCMの広告のキャッチコピーについて言及しました。

「オシリだって洗ってほしい。」

英語訳すとEven your bum wants to be washedという意味です。

駆け出しの若いアーティストたちにとって少し恥ずかしいものだったに違いありません。(しかし、この広告のフレーズは確かに説得力がありました。手にウンチが付いていたら自分の手で、紙を持ってきて拭いただけで終わることはないでしょう。 洗いますよね。 じゃあ、お尻も同じように洗えばいいのでは、と。)

 

しかし、当時の彼女が歌手として出演しているテレビ番組では、 アイドルのような格好で出演していました。 ところがそれは彼女がわざとそれを演じていたようにも見えます。パロディとして演じているのと、本気でやっているのと、二つが交わるところから少しずれているところで活動していました。

おそらく当時の世間一般の人々には、彼女のこのような感覚が上手く掴めなかったのでは、と思われます。 彼女とどう付き合えばいいか、どこに分類すればいいかよく分からなかったかもしれません。

 

ミュージシャンとしては、彼女は独創的な東京のカフェ「ナイロン100 %」にてデビューしました。「蘇州夜曲」という1940年代の日本の帝国的な歌謡曲を演奏しているところをミュージシャンの上野耕路さんに見つけられたのです。

それは「シナの夜」という映画の曲でした。英題は「China Nights」という映画。1940年の戦時の中国が舞台となっています。この曲は、普通なら若い新鋭ミュージシャンが歌うような曲ではありません。

それで上野さんの目に留まったのです。そして、二人がゲルニカというバンドを始め引き続き同じような音楽をやることになりました。

戦前の日本のポピュラー音楽のような音楽をやっていました。見た目もとても印象的で。当時の非常に真面目なミュージシャンに見えました。皮肉的で無表情だったからです。どことなく暗い感じがしました。

しかし、彼らはそれを未来的な意味でやっていたのです。電子音楽的な要素もあり、彼らの解釈で皮肉的に演奏していたのです。そのような美意識は、彼女のミュージシャンとしてのキャリアの中で一貫して多くの戸川さんの作品に見られます。 懐古的な未来主義とでもいうのでしょうか。

 

世界の好き好き大好き

「好き好き大好き」は彼女の名義で出したセカンドアルバムのタイトル曲です。「戸川純」として。もしゲルニカやヤプーズも含めるなら彼女の5枚目のアルバム、ということになります。彼女は、ヤプーズというバンドの一員としても活動していました。

これらのソロとバンドの間に一線を画しにくい、 ジュン・トガワとヤプーズ。時には、それが 戸川純とヤプーズ、そして時にはただのヤプーズ、そして時には 「純」、「戸川純」。いずれにしても、これは完全にソロ名義でのセカンドアルバムです。

 

好き好き大好きミーム

この曲は おそらく彼女の最も世界で著名な曲となっています。この曲がミームになった、というのも一理あります。発売されてから30年以上経っているのに。様々な人々は様々なアニメのアニメーションを のイメージをつけたりしています。ちびっこキャラのような、かわいいとグロテスクの間のようなキャラ。

いわゆる「ヤンデレ」ですね。

好き好き大好きと「ヤンデレ」

この曲は、いわゆるヤンデレの一例になると思います。これは アニメでよく見かける概念です。これは、「病気」や「苦しみ」を意味する「病んでいる」という言葉を組み合わせた造語です。そして「デレデレ」という言葉。「デレデレ」とは誰かを大げさに褒めたり、媚びたりする意味があります。あるいは、愛に打たれること。

 

それは文字通り直訳すれば「Lovesick」という言葉に近いものがあります。しかし、そのニュアンスはかなり違います。この言葉は暗い意味合いを持ち、ほとんどある種の、ストーカー的な意味合いが含まれています。少し暴力的であったり、サディスティックであったりちょっと病んだ感じで夢中になっているような、ちょっと病的なくらいに夢中になること、を指します。しかし「ヤンデレ」という言葉は、戸川純が活動していた。当時は存在していませんでした。

歌詞の中に出てくる描写には、誰かが誰かのことに夢中になって、人に暴力を振るうようになり、その人に暴力をふるってほしくなってしまう、というところがあります。

この作品は日本の現代文化、特にアニメにおける「ヤンデレ」の概念 に影響及ぼしているかもしれません。そして、そのコンセプトは最も明確に、象徴的なある一行に集約されています。サビの部分が「スキスキ大好き」で、可愛い感じになっていながら、最後の一行は、あの

「愛していると言わなきゃ殺す」

です。

愛していると言ってくれないと 君を殺すよっと。これがいわゆる、純粋に液晶化された「ヤンデレ」の典型例だと思います。おそらくスティーブン・キングの著書『ミザリー』の中でアニー・ウィルクスは、これ以上うまく言えなかったでしょう。アニー・ウィルクスがもし日本にいたとしたら、おそらくもっと可愛くなっていたと思いますが。

好き好き大好きの歌詞・英訳

 

多くのこの歌のイメージ、歌詞は、とても直感的で、生々しく、かなり暴力的です。例えばサビに入る前の部分で、

「キスミー殴るように 唇に血が滲む程」

というところがあり、英訳すると、

「Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips」

その後 「Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks」と続きます。

しかし、この歌詞は 生々しく、直感的であると同時に知的で頭脳的な ところもあります。歌詞の一部に

「本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は」

というところがあり、英訳すると、

「an instinctual affair. Over and over in a hell endless. A direct premonition of anti-nihilism.」となります。

「アンチ・ニヒリズム」

というような言葉が出てくることはポップ・ソングの中には、 欧米でも日本でも、ほとんどないでしょう、と言えると思います。

しかし、僕の中でおそらく次の一行が実際に英訳するのに一番苦労しました。

「潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発」

これはかなり奇妙です。何か問題が起きるような、ある種の心配させるようなフレーズでもあります。

「Awakens a latent, devious fixation」と訳しました。しかし、これはかなり寛大な翻訳ではないかと思います。

一般的な、クリーンな感じに訳しているものです。このフレーズにはいくつかの解釈があります。「性」という言葉をどこに置くかによっても。「性」」をどこに付けるのか。たとえば 「幼児」に付けることができます。だから「幼児性」は”infantile”になります。 しかし 、これはあまり一般的な言葉ではありません。一方で、「性」を付けられるもう一つの言葉 に「暴力」があります。つまり、「性暴力」、 その場合の意味は sexual violenceやsexual assaultを意味します。だから、「幼児」に 「性」をくっつけると次 のような翻訳ができます。Invite’s a latent, infantile, violent propensity というような。 これでもかなり変な感じがしますが、「暴力」に「性」を付けるほど問題にはなりません。この場合「性暴力」になります。これだと、おそらくawakens a latent paedophilic urge」と訳すことになります。 潜在的な小児性愛者を目覚めさせる、というようなつまり、幼児に対する性的暴力。

この場合 それ以外の呼び方はありません。

「paedophilia」になってしまいます。

多くの日本人もこのセリフに戸惑っているようです。ヤフー知恵袋で誰かが質問を投稿していました。

“この曲のこのセリフの意味は?”

これに対して、誰かが 戸川純さんの本からの引用を投稿していました。

『彼女は自分の言葉で「それと言葉でいう幼児性ね。最近は全然暴力ふるいませんけど、幼児的な暴力癖があるんじゃないかという気がするので、意識の上では謙虚にしなきゃなと思いますよ。」』

だから、いろいろな意味で安心しました。彼女によると、「性暴力」ではないということです。そのような問題ではありません。とはいえこの曲の全体的な文脈を見ると、明らかに、暴力とセクシュアリティの関連性について述べたもの、といえると思います。考えさせられますね。ジェーンズ・ アディクションの曲でもペリー・ファレルが「セックスは暴力的だ」と言っています。つまり、この関連性を考えていたのは彼女だけではない、ということです。しかし、直訳して「小児性愛者」と訳す必要はありません。

助かりました。しかしながら、戸川純さんにはタブーとされるテーマをよく歌で表現します。

たとえば彼女のデビューアルバム「玉姫様」には同タイトルの曲があります。このアルバムのコンセプトというか、「玉姫様」という曲は月経の謎に迫る、というようなものでだから、彼女は物議を醸すような話題に触れることを恐れません。

「好き好き大好き」のプロモーションビデオの最初の部分でも猫を抱きかかえて可愛い印象です。

しかし、『前作が女性の「生理」をテーマにしていて、

今回のテーマは、「エロス」です』と彼女自身が言っていました。 このようなことから、私は、彼女がただのアイドルでもアーティストでもなく、 彼女はその2つを兼ね備えている存在だと思います。

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Deniさんがデヴィッド・ボウイの曲「スペイス・オディティ」を日本語に訳しました。
その歌を翻訳するにあたって難しかったところ、また日本語と英語の歌詞の違いなどについて話をしました。
Ever wondered what Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics would be in Japanese? Probably not. But we tell you anyway.
We go through and translate the song line by line, and discuss what it all means – in Japanese.

Read More »
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Language Learning Program Reviews

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

David Bowie Space Oddity 和訳 in Japanese

デヴィッド・ボウイ ・ スペースオディティ

So recently I came across a Japanese person, Deni, who does translations of English songs into Japanese on Youtube. So, because I’ve done a lot of going the other way round, of translating Japanese songs into English, I thought it would be fun to have a conversation
with Deni about how he does it.
He’s done a translation of the David Bowie song Space Oddity. So we had a conversation about what challenges he had with translating it,what the differences are between lyrics in Japanese and English.

先日Youtubeとウェブサイトで英語の歌を和訳する日本人のDeniさんに出会いました。

私は彼とは逆にこれまで色々な日本語の歌を英訳してきたので、Deniさんと歌詞の翻訳について話をしたら面白いのでは、と思いました。 

Deniさんがデヴィッド・ボウイの曲「スペイス・オディティ」を日本語に訳しました。
その歌を翻訳するにあたって難しかったところ、また日本語と英語の歌詞の違いなどについて話をしました。

Approx Japanese level

Themes

Original Lyrics

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom 
Commencing countdown, engines on 
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you 
This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

 
地上管制よりトム少佐、
地上管制よりトム少佐、
プロテイン錠を飲んでヘルメットを装着せよ
地上管制よりトム少佐、
秒読み開始、エンジン始動
点火チェック、では神の愛が君と共にあらん事を願う
(10、9、8、7、6、5、4、3、2、1、発射)
こちら地上管制よりトム少佐、
成功だ、よくやった
君がどんなシャツを着ているか新聞社が知りたがっている
さあ準備が良ければカプセルを切り離す時間だ

“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do
Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you “Here am I floating ’round my tin can
Far above the moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”

こちらトム少佐より地上管制、
ドアをくぐっているところです
すごく妙な感じで浮かんでいて
今日は星が全然違って見えます
それは僕が世界の遥か上の
このブリキ缶の中に座っているから
惑星地球は青い
でも僕に出来る事は何もない

 

100,000マイルも旅して来たけれど、
気分はすごく落ち着いている
我が宇宙船は進むべき道を知っているかの様
妻に愛していると伝えて下さい、そんな事は百も承知だ
地上管制からトム少佐、
回線が落ちてしまった、何かおかしい
聞こえるか、トム少佐?
聞こえるか、トム少佐?
聞こえるか、トム少佐?
聞こ…
今ブリキ缶の周りを浮遊している
月の遥か上で
惑星地球は青い
でも僕に出来る事は何もない


Deniさんの翻訳と解説はここにあります

Talking about the Space Oddity Translation

Space Oddityの翻訳について話す

A conversation between Peter & Deni

P: So in this were there parts that were
difficult to translate?

D: For example, yes, “Take your protein pills”

It’s not saying, “Take the pills to the space ship.”

P: No, it’s not. I think it’s talking about swallowing the pills.

D: “Take the protein tablets.”

P: Yes, it is.

D: It could be…

 

ピーターとデニの対話

P: これで訳しにくいところとかあったんですかね。

D: 例えば、そうですね。Take your protein pills は

It’s not saying, “Take it to the space ship” ではないんですよね。

P: そうですね。飲むことだと思います。

D:  プロテイン錠を飲んで

P: そうですね。

D: It could be…

 

 

P: Was there a question that there might bea different interpretation?

D: I thought there might be, but,
well, I guess there’s not?

P: “Take your protein pills
and put your helmet on”. Hmmm I wonder. Grammatically speaking, it’s possible. But based on the context, it’s hard to imagine.But if just looked at this one sentence. Yes. It’s possible.

D: Take your protein pills with you…

P: If it was “with you,” you wouldn’t be “swallowing”.

No, I think it’s a good translation. It’s pretty much a perfect match, isn’t it?

 

P: 解釈によれば違うかもしれないという疑問があったんですか。

D: かなと思ったんですけど、まあ、それはないですか。

P: “Take your protein pills and put your helmet on”. うーんどうでしょうね。文法的にはあり得る。でもこの前後関係からしたら考えにくいかなと思います。でもこの文章だけ見たらそうですね。ありえる。

D: Take your protein pills with you…

P: “With you” だったら飲んでないですね。

いや上手に訳してると思います。ほぼ完全に一致してるじゃないですかね。

 

P:But, there’s one thing. In English, it rhymes.

“Ground control to Major TOM.

Take your protein pills
and put your helmet ON”.

“On” and “Tom” rhyme.

Do think about those
things when you translate?

D: I’d love to, but that’s pretty difficult. It’s always at the back of my mind though. You’re right.

P:So you just let that
stuff go in the first instance.

D: That’s right, it’s more of an “if possible”. If it happens to rhyme, well that’s more a matter of luck.

It’s tricky.

P: What do you think? Looking at the difference between English lyrics and Japanese lyrics, is that rhyming part different? Or is it pretty much similar in Japanese?

D: Well, no surprise,

I think the lyrics of Western
music have a lot more rhymes.

Japanese songs don’t really do that much. There are some, though.

I don’t know. In Japan, it’s more like

alliteration?

P: Alliteration.

D: There may be more of that.

P: So when we say alliteration, we’re talking about words that start with the same letter.

D: Yes, that’s what we mean.

If you’re asking me to give you an
example right now, I can’t think of one.

P: So in English, it might be like

“Peter piper picked a
peck of pickled peppers”

which is a tongue-twister where every word starts with the letter “P”.

D: Yes, that’s right.

P: But why would English
rhyme more?

I guess it may be because the Japanese
language has fewer sounds.

D: Well I think…

“Fewer sounds”. Yes, I think you’re right.

P: But it’s not like there is just no rhyming in Japanese.

The fact that there is a word for rhyme in Japanese would suggest that rhyming exists.

D: Yes, that’s true.

But in the case of Japan, rather
than rhyme, what would you say?

Word play?

I think there is more of what you would call word play.

 

P:でも こういうふうに英語だと韻を踏んでますね。

“Ground control to Major Tom

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on”.

“On”と”Tom”は韻を踏んでいる。

そういうところとかは訳すとき何か考えたり。。。

D: やりたいですけどなかなか難しいですね。それはいつも思ってるんですけどね。おしゃるとおりです。

P: じゃあ大体そういうのをちょっと一旦放っといて

D: そうですね。

できたらラッキーっていう感じですね。

難しいですね。

P: どうですか。英語の歌詞と日本語の歌詞の違いといえば

その韻を踏んでいるところは違うんですか。それとも結構 日本語でも踏んでることが多いですかね。

D: やっぱりでも

洋楽の歌詞の方が圧倒的に多いと思いますね。

日本のはあんまりいないんです。あるのもありますけど

どうかな日本だとむしろ

Alliteration?

P: Alliteration.

D: の方があるかもしれないです。

P: じゃあalliterationと言っていたら同じ文字で始まっている言葉。。。

D: そうですね。

の方が

ちょっと今あげろと言われても例が思いつかないんですけど

P: 英語だとなんでしょうね。

“Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”

という早口言葉があるんですけど全部Pで始まってる。

D: そうですね。

P: でもなんで英語の方が韻を踏むことにしているでしょうかね。

日本語のほうが音が少ないというか

D: 僕が思うに

音が少ない。おっしゃる通りだと思います。

P: でもまったくないことはないですね。

韻を踏むという。。。韻を踏むという表現があるくらいだから。

 

D: そうですね。

ただ日本の場合韻を踏むよりも何て言うんです
かね。語呂、語呂合わせのようなそっちの方が多いと思います。

 

P: And when I saw this translation

One thing I didn’t understand so much
was this “Arangoto Wo Negau”.

Aru, aru, “Arangoto” means aru, or is?

Is that what it means?
D: Yes, it does.

I think “aru” means the same thing.

But I guess it’s an old-fashioned way
of putting it.

P: Why did you use a slightly
old-fashioned way of translating it?

D: “May God’s love be with you”.

It’s also kind of old-fashioned.

That’s the impression I got from the phrase.

P: Yes, it does sound a little old fashioned.
D: It’s not casual.

P: No.
D: I guess.

That’s what I thought, so
I translated it that way.

P: I see.
“May God’s love be with you”.

And in the commentary.

Somewhere in there was the question,
“I wonder if people actually use this phrase?”

D: Yes.

I’m very curious about it.

P: I’m not sure either, but

I feel like maybe in America they would.

In America, I feel like they would
say something like this.

D: Really?

P: Well,

I wonder where the song is set.

D: I would assume America.

P: It’s probably America.

Because I’m an Australian,
from my point of view,

Americans,

I have the impression of it being quite
a religious country.

Quite passionate.

D: Okay.

P: I feel like a lot of people
believe in religion.

So I feel they would use words
like this for some reason.Like when a person goes into space. At that moment.

D: Then, they may use it casually.

Possibly. I suppose.

In fact,

even though I don’t think Australia is as
religious as the US,

in parliament

i think that at the beginning of every day

they have some kind of prayer.

So, even in societies that are separated

from religion to some degree,

these kind of phrases are used from time to time.

Is there anything else want to say about this section?

 

P: で僕がこの訳を見て

あんまりわからなかったのは、この「上らんことを願う」

ある、ある、「あらんこと」って

あるということ?

D: そうですね。「ある」

でも同じだと思うんですが

何と言うのか古い言い方ですかね。

P: じゃあなんでこういうちょっと古い言い方にしたんですか。

D: “May God’s love be with you”.

それもなんというのかちょっと古い感じと。。。

そういうイメージがあったからです。

P: そうですね。ちょっと古いイメージはあるかもしれない。

D: It’s not casual.

P: No.

D: でしょう。

そう思ったからそういう風に訳しました。

なるほど。

P: “May God’s love be with you”.

で、解説のところに

「実際にこういうことばを使っているでしょうか」というのがどこかにあったんですね。

D: そうでね。

I’m very curious about it.

P: I’m not sure either, but

I feel like maybe in America they would.

アメリカだとなんとなくこんなん言ったりしそうな気がしますね。

D: そうですか。

P: ね、この話は

どこの設定になってるでしょうね。

D: アメリカでしょうね。

P: アメリカでしょうね。

でどっちかというと僕はオーストラリア人だからこっちからしたら

アメリカ人って。。。

結構そういう宗教的な国であるイメージがあるんですね。

結構熱狂的に。

D: そうですね。

P: 宗教を信じている人が多い気がして
なんとなくこんなことば使うんじゃないですかねこういう

宇宙に行く

ときとか

D: じゃcasualにいう。。。感じかもしれないですね。

そうですね。実際に。。。ね

オーストラリアもそんなにアメリカ程宗教的じゃないと思っているんですけど。

それでも議事堂とかで

たぶん毎日始まるときはちょっとしたそういう祈りあったりすると思うんですね。

だから。

ある程度宗教と離れている社会でも。

なんとなくこういうのを使ったりしますね。

他に何か気になるところとか?

 

D: “Commencing countdown”

“10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast off.”

I’ve never heard this phrase.

P: “Blast off”, yes.I don’t know which one is used, but, I don’t know, neither one of

them feels particularly unnatural to me.

“Lift off.” “Blast off.”

But in Japanese

there are more sounds than in
English.

D: I think you might be right.

P: Ground control to Major Tom.

D: Vowels are overwhelmingly prevalent in Japanese, aren’t they?

P: Yes, that’s true.

D: “Ground”, it’s one syllable but

P: “con-trol to Ma-jor Tom”

That makes seven then in Japanese.

Ground Control to

Major Tom.

Comes to 10 sounds.

D: “Tom” in Japanese.

It’s two different sounds, To-Mu.

P: Yes, it is.

D: “Tom” is one word, but if you say
“Tomu”, it becomes two words.

P: That’s why it’s quite difficult to

translate lyrics so that they
can actually be sung.

D: Yes, true. That’s why
with what you’re doing Peter,

like with Mayonaka no Doa (Stay With Me), I thought it was so great.

 

D: “Commencing countdown”で

“10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Blast off”

というのは僕は聞いたことないんですね。

P:”Blast off”そうですね。 どっちを使ってるから
分からないですけどどっちももあんまり不自然に感じないんですね。

「Lift off」「Blast off」

でもどうしても

日本語の方が音の数が多くなりますね。

D: そうかもしれないですね。

P: Ground control to Major Tom.

D: 母音はもう圧倒的に日本語が多くなりますよね。

P: そうですね。

D: “Ground”, it’s one syllable but…

P: “con-trol to Ma-jor Tom”

7 つですね。日本語だと

地上管理より

トム少佐

10っこになりますね。

D:「Tom」だって日本語だと

「ト・ム」二つの音になっちゃいますからね。

P: そうですね。

D:「Tom」は一つですけどトムとやると二つになっちゃいますから。

P: だから実際に歌える訳しようとしたら結構難しいですね。

D: そう、あ、そうかそれがだからピーターさんのやっていらしゃった

「真夜中のドア」あれがだからすごいなと思って

 

P: I’m making translations that can be sung but since I do it that way, they sometimes lose their direct meaning.

D: That’s why I don’t think about it when I translate.

P: It’s all about the meaning.

D: Yes, it’s simply TRANSLATION.

P: So I’m translating Japanese
songs into English, and I’m working on a translation that can be sung so I always end up with left over time.

English has fewer sounds, so you have more time. So I often take the liberty of putting in some extra things in those spaces.

D:Yes, one I really like was

“Till the morning light”.

I thought that was really cool.

P: Thank you.

And I’m often just doing stuff to create a rhyme.

D: No, I thought it was great.

P: Thank you.

Let’s move on.

 

 

P: 僕はそういうふうに歌える訳を作ってる。でもそういう風に作っているからそういう直接な意味もなくなったり。

D: 僕はだから翻訳するときにはそのことを考えていないですね。

P: とりあえず意味を

D: そうですね単純にtranslationだけです。

P: だから僕逆に日本語の歌を英語に訳しているから歌える訳を作っているからどうしても時間が余ってしまう。

英語のほうが音の数が少ないから時間が余って

で、僕が結果を勝手にその余っている時間に色々入れています。

D: はい、だから僕すごくいいなと思ったのが

「Till the morning light」が入っているのが、あれすごくいいなと思って

P:ありがとうございます。

あとけっこう適当に韻を踏むために

D: いや、素晴らしいと思いました、僕は。

P:ありがとうございます。

じゃあ次行きましょうか。

 

 

P: I’ve loved these lyrics for a long time.

From the first, the concept of making a song in the form of a conversation between an astronaught and a control centre is amazing.

D:Yes, I agree. I think so too.

P: It’s genius.

David Bowie is often praised for
his fashion and the way he dresses.

For some reason, he doesn’t seem to get as muchpraise as a songwriter.

I think it is very strange.

D: Peter, as an Australian, you think so too?

P: Yes, I do.

Of course David Bowie is a really well-respected person, and I think he is put up as being a great man.

But it’s usually about that kind of
fashion and that kind of taste.

Those things come up a lot.

But somehow, even with such amazing lyrics, songs, and technique, he’s not appreciated in this way very much.

It’s strange.

D: Maybe.

P: I especially like

in this second verse,

, my favorite part is,

“The paper wants to know
whos shirts you wear”

I like it a lot.

D: It’s good.

P: The newspaper wants to know
what shirt you’re wearing.

Yes.
It’s such an amazing everyday thing.

I love the way the song does this.

D: Yes,

It’s not, “The papers want to
know WHAT shirts you wear”.

“WHO’s shirts”.

P: “Want to know what shirts you
wear” – “Who’s shirts you wear”

Well, it doesn’t really change the meaning.

D: Oh, really?

P: “What shirts”?

No. Do you think it changes the nuance?

D: “What kind of shirts”,
so they may be asking

the color, or the pattern

But with “Whose”

Which company’s shirt is this?

or

What team’s

P: Oh, “team”?

D: For example, I looked up
the lyrics on a website.

If you’re British, it could be about the soccer team.

So, like you’re asking which team you’re a fan of. 

Some people seem to interpret it in a different way.

P:Okay.

I hadn’t really thought about that.

D: Then I guess, that might be hard to read into it?

P:No, but when you put it that way

D: Only “when you put it that way”?

P: Well, it’s possible.

That’s one way to look at it.

It depends on how you interpret it.

D: So,

Bowie’s being ironical

or satirical

on the media

I’ve read things like that.

P: Yes, well, either way, it’s really about how the media wants to know the specifics about what the astronaut is wearing.

They want to know what kind of everyday routine he has. Wouldn’t you say?

And I think these lyrics do a great job of demonstrating that.

It’s often said “Show, don’t tell”.

That’s one expression.

So when you write something, you shouldn’t talk about something, you should “show” it.

I think this is a good example.

So this sentence is saying this guy is incredibly famous.

Everyone wants to know everything about that person.

But it doesn’t use “I’m famous” or “You’re famous”.

Instead of writing, “I want to know everything about you.”

It writes “The paper want to
know who’s shirts you wear.”

I think it really “shows” it well.

Moving on…Wasn’t this
difficult to translate?

“You really made the grade.”

D: You have succeeded

Is that okay?

P: I think so.

D: You’ve made it.

P: “You’ve really made the grade.”

D: “You’ve really made it.”

P: I think it’s a bit of
an unusual expression.

I don’t hear it so much.

“You’ve really made the grade.”

D: Okay.

P: Well, it’s not that I’ve never heard it.

But it’s rare.
D: So people don’t use it much?

P: People don’t say that very often.
D: Okay.

P: I wonder why he used this expression.

“Ground Control to Major Tom,
you’ve really made the grade”.

D: It’s not a rhyme, is it?

P: There’s no Rhyme either.

Why did he go out of his way to use this?

D: But in a peculiar way.

Grade. It’s unrelated.

P: “The paper want to know who’s shirts you wear.

Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

And here too, “Where” and “Dare”.

D: “Where” and “Dare,” yes.

but

P: The other thing I think is a
little more difficult is

“Planet Earth is blue and
there’s nothing I can do.”

D: yes. 

P: I think this “Blue” has two meanings.

D: Okay.

P: The meaning of “sad” and the normal meaning of “Blue”, the color “Blue”.

But no matter what you do you’re going to lose that meaning.

D: Oh, so, if you
see this phrase, you see both meanings.

P: Yes.
I thought it was kind of clever.

When I first heard it.

“Planet Earth is blue and
there’s nothing I can do.”

It can’t be helped.

The earth is sad.

D: Oh, the Earth?

P: But there’s nothing we can do about it.

D: “The Earth is Blue”? It’s not
that “I’m feeling blue”?

P: No, no. I think he’s
saying the planet earth is, it’s both blue, the color is blue.

But it’s also, “planet earth is
sad and there’s nothing I can do”

So you could leave this phrase as is…
D: Yes, you could. As for me i never thought of that until you told me about it just now. For the first time.

“So it gives that impression”, is what I thoughts.

P: But you can also use Blue in Japanese.

D: Yes, you can. Yes, “Blue” has become a Japanese word.

P: “Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”

And it rhymes again, doesn’t it?

“Blue, and there’s nothing I can do”.

P: This “Tin Can” is also interesting.

“For here am I, sitting in a Tin Can”.

Because I’m sitting in this tin can.

What did you think?

D: So…

His

As I say below, should we call it “emptiness”?

I think it’s a reflection of that.

P: Yes, it is.

The description is interesting again.

D: Really it’s a huge machine,
but it’s just a Tin Can

P: Yes.
At the same time.

Yes.

D: Bowie, played in a
band called “Tin Machine”.

This is a little off topic, but

P: He played in a band called Tin Machine?

D: I think it was around 1990. Tin Machine

They didn’t sell very well though.
P: Okay.

I haven’t heard that all.
D: Okay.

So

the spaceship’s a big machine.

To him it’s a Tin Can. He’s, what do you call it? Turning it into a Tin Can.

P: Okay let’s continue.

 

 

P: 僕この歌詞結構昔から大好きで

そもそも地球管理と宇宙飛行士

の会話という形式で歌を作っているのはすごいと思います。

D: はい、同じです。僕もそう思います。

P:もう天才的ですね。

David Bowieよくファッションとかそういう格好とかで評価されるけど

なぜか作詞作曲家としてそこほど褒められない

のがすごい不思議に思います。

D: ピーターさんオーストラリア人としてもそう思うんですね。

P: そうですね。

もちろんDavid Bowieすごい

尊敬されている人で偉大な人物として立てられていると思うんですけど

だいたいそういうファッションとかそういうセンスの

がよく出てきます。

でもなぜかこんなに素晴らしい詩、曲、

すごい技術で作っているのにそういうのがそこまで評価されないのが

すごい不思議です。

D: そうですか

P: 特に僕この

「2番」というんですかね

のところで好きなのは

The paper wants to know whos shirts you wear

すごい好きです。

D: いいですね、これ。

P: 君がどんなシャツを着ているか新聞記者が知りたがっている

そう。そういうすごい日常的なところ

を描いている、るすごい好きです。

D: これは

“The papers want to know what shirts you wear”じゃないですね。

“Who’s shirts”

P: “Want to know what shirts you wear” – “Who’s shirts you wear”

まあ、でも意味としてあんまり変わらない。。。

D: そうですね。ああそうですか。

P: “What shirts”だと

いや雰囲気的に変わると思っていますか。

D: “What kind of shirts”, so they may be asking

the color, or the pattern

だけども「Whose」だと

どこの会社のシャツですかね

or

どこのチームの

P: ああチームか。

D: 例えば僕歌詞のサイトで調べたりしたんですけど例えば

イギリス人だとサッカーチーム

のどの、だから、

どのファン、どこのファンかというふうに聞いているみたいな

解釈をする人もいるみたいですね。

P: そうですか。

そういうのあんまり考えてことなかったですね。

D: じゃ、やっぱりこれを見た感じではそんな解釈は。。。

P: いや、でも、そう言われてみれば

D: 言われてみればという感じ

P: じゃあねそういう可能性もありますね。

そういう解釈も

解釈によっては

D: その

Bowie’s being ironical

or satirical

on the media

みたいなことを読んだりもしますけど

P: そうかそうかどっちにしても

すごい具体的に宇宙飛行士はどんな服を着てるか

どんな日常生活をしているか知りたがっているんですね。

それがすごい上手いことを歌詞として示していると思いますね。

よく「Show, don’t tell」という

表現があるんですけど

だから何かを書くときにそのまま言うんじゃなくて「見せる」って

 

これはいい例だと思います。

だからこの文章が入っているのはこの人がすごい有名で

みんながその人の何でも知りたがっている。

でも「僕は有名です」、「あなたは有名です」。

「あなたのすべてを知りたい」を書くんじゃなくて

“The paper want to know who’s shirts you wear”を書いて

うまいことを描写しているなと思いますね。

後は。。。これ訳しにくくなかったのですか。

“You really made the grade”とか

D: You have succeeded

でいいですか。

P: んんだと思います。

D: You’ve made it.

P: “You’ve really made the grade”

D: “You’ve really made it”

P: ちょっと珍しい表現だと思います。

あんまり聞いたことないですね。

“You’ve really made the grade”

D: そうですか。

P: 聞いたことないことはないかな。

でも珍しい

D: じゃあまり言わないんですね

P: あんまり言わないですね。

D: そうですか。

P: なんでこんな表現を使ったんでしょうね。

“Ground Control to Major Tom, you’ve really made the grade”

D: rhymeでもないんですね。

P: rhymeもないですね。

なんでわざわざ。。。

D: でもpeculiar way

Grade遠いなあ。

P: “The paper want to know who’s shirts you wear

Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

でここも「Where」と 「Dare」を。

D: 「Where」と 「Dare」を、そうですね。

あるけど

P: 後もう一つちょっと難しいと思ったのは

“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”

D: はい

P: この「Blue」は二つの意味あると思うんですけど。

D: そうですか。

P:「悲しい」の意味と普通の「Blue」の色の「Blue」の意味している。

でもどうしてもそれがなくなってしまうんですね。

D: ああそうですか、じゃあピーターさんはこれを見たらその両方。。。

P: そうですね。ちょっと賢いと思いました。初めて聞いたとき

“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”

どうしようもない。

地球が悲しんでいる。

D: あ、地球が?

P: でもこっちから何もできない。

D: “The Earth is Blue” not that “I’m feeling blue”

P: No, no. I think he’s saying the planet earth is…

it’s both blue, the color is blue.

But it’s also, “planet earth is sad and there’s nothing I can do”

でもそれは、そのままにして。。。

D: そうですね。それは僕だから今

ピーターさんに言われるまでそれは思ったことないですね。初めて

そういう印象を持つんだなと思いました。

P: でも日本語でも Blue 使ったり

D: そうですね。

もう、それは日本語になっていますね。 Blueは

P: “Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”

で、また韻、踏んでいますね。

“Blue, and there’s nothing I can do”.

P: この「Tin Can」も面白いですね。

“For here am I, sitting in a Tin Can”

このブリキ缶の中に座っているから。

どう思いましたか。

D: それはだから

彼の

下にも書いてますけど虚無感といいますかね。それを

反映しているんじゃないかなと思ってるんですけどね。

P: そうですね。
また描写がちょっとおもしろいですね。

D: 本当は大きなシーンなんだけどもIt’s just a Tin Can

P: Yes

D: At the same time.

P: Yes

D: Bowie, 「Tin Machine」というバンドやりましたね。

ちょっと話がずれますけど

P:「Tin Machine」というバンドをやったんですか。

D: 90 年頃ですかね。Tin Machine

あんまり売れなかったですけど

 

P:そうですか。

それは全然聞いてないです。

D: そうですか。そうだからね。スペースシップは大きなマシンなのに

彼にはTin Canに 彼が、何って言うんですかね。

Tin Canに見立てるというか。

P: じゃあ次行こうか。

 

 

Planet Earth is blue.

And there’s nothing I can do.

It’s kind of a sad section.

Was there anything that
struck you about this verse?

D: “She Knows.”

So

She knows.

Here it is

“Tell my wife I love her very much.
She knows.”

“She knows.” Who’s the speaker?

You’ve done,

Tell my wife I love her.

This is the astronaught

I think it’s right, what you’ve done

So this is the astronaught talking.

I can see that.
So, “She knows.

so,

the guy at the ground control.

I think so.
So

I’m not sure if that’s a good translation.

Yeah, I think that’s good.

I think that’s about the
only way it can be thought of.

Tell my wife I love her very much.
She knows.

Yes

i don’t think there’s no chance
that someone is talking to himself.

But I’m pretty sure it is someone else talking.

Especially in the song, “She knows.”

He’s saying it with great intensity.
Yes, he is.

That’s true, then.

It’s ground control.

saying something
like “Don’t say that.”

Well, yes.

I think that’s how it is.

He also might have simply wanted
create a rhyme with “Go”.

Yes.
“Knows which way to go, she knows.”

It’s the only place where there are two speakers in on line.

I think.

“Tell my wife I love her
very much, she knows.”

“Ground Control to Major Tom”.

They are completely divided elsewhere.

And I hadn’t heard much about
this next one.

“I know all about that”.

Yes, what is it called?

“Of course”

that’s it.

You don’t need to say that,
’cause I know it very well.

If here

“She knows it very well.”

Okay, um

Rather than saying “I know”,

this is better.

Yes, it is.

so

It would be “Needless to say,” I guess.

Yes, I get it.

So, for me,

I also like the line before that one.

“And I think my spaceship
knows which way to go.”

It’s as if my spaceship
knows the way forward.

This. By the way, it rhymes with
the original English, doesn’t it?

Ha ha ha

It’s true.

that’s true

I hadn’t thought of that.

What do you think,of this line?

It’s sad.

For me, it makes feel a sense of fate.

Yes, it does.

The spaceship is moving on
its own without anyone flying it.

I mean, you know.

That person’s life is
also moving on its own.

This also is defly “Showing, not telling”.

Yes, it is.

Right her

You could have said, “I’m so
anxious,” but Bowie said it this way.

But he’s also “Feeling very still”.

Yes, he is.

So it’s a great contrast, or a
good comparison of those two states.

That’s right.

That’s why I think the ground control
people would be even more surprised.

Yes, they would.

I know that Deni wrote something about this at the end

about how this is connected to the music.

F Major 7 is still.

Oh, yes.

It’s still

And F minor, didn’t you write that it feels very anxious?

So you get that vibe from the first chord.
Yes, you do.

That STILL feeling and that ANXIETY.

Is there anything else

interesting?

“Can you.
.

here am I sitting round my Tin Can”

So the “Hear” is a pun.

It’s the same sounding word.

Ground control to Major Tom

Your circuit’s dead

There’s something wrong

Can you here

That’s right. This means
two things, doesn’t it?

That’s interesting.

But there’s nothing you can do about that.

When you translate.

So I did “hear.”

Your circuit’s dead

something’s wrong.

Can you hear me?

There’s nothing more that can
be done about this in the Japanese.

True

so inevitably, when you translate
something, you lose something.

That’s right.

You’re right.PP: 

Planet Earth is blue. 

And there’s nothing I can do.

ちょっと悲しいところですね。

このverseで何か気になったところとかありましたか。

D:「She Knows」

これがだから。。。

She knows

これは

ここですね。

Tell my wife I love her very much. She knows.

「She knows」だれが Who’s the speaker?

You’ve done…

妻に愛してると伝え、伝えてください。

それはだからastronaught

I think it’s right, what you’ve done

これがastronaughtが喋っているんですね。

それはわかるんですけどね。

で, 「She knows」

それはだから

The guy at the ground control.

I think so.

ということはじゃ

その訳でいいのかなと思うんですけどね。

うんそれでいいと思います。

それくらい、そうしか思えないと思います。

Tell my wife I love her very much. She knows.

うん,そうですか。

自分に言っている可能性はまったくないことはないと思うんですけど

まあ、向こうは言ってるでしょ。特に歌の中で「She knows」

凄い激しく言ってる。

そうですね。

それはじゃ、そうですね。グランドコントロールが

「Don’t say that」みたいな感じで行っているということですね。

まあ、そうですね。そんな感じだと思います。

あと単純に「Go」と何かを踏みたかったかもしれないですね。

そうですね。

“Knows which way to go. She knows”

1行で2つが喋っているのはここだけですね。

だと思います。

“Tell my wife I love her very much. She knows”

“Ground Control to Major Tom”

他のところで完全に分かれていますね。

で、僕的にこれがあんまり聞いたことはなかったですね。

「そんなことは百も承知だ。」

はい何というのか

もちろんからそうですか。

そういうことですね。

You don’t need to say that, ’cause I know it very well.

ここだったら

“She knows it very well”

じゃあ、あの

もう「知ってる」とかより

これの方がよい

そうです。

もう

「Needless to say」ですかね

はい、分かりました。

で僕的に、この

その前の一行も好きですね。

“And I think my spaceship knows which way to go”

我が宇宙船は進むべき道を知っているかのよう。

これが。ちなみに元の英語と韻を踏んでいますね。

グーと

本当だ。

そうですね

初めて知りました。

どう思いますか、この一行。

1悲しい感じですね。

僕的にここですごい運命感じられる。

そうですね。

自分が飛行せずに宇宙船が勝手に動いている。

つまり、ね

その人の人生も勝手に動いている。それもまた上手に言うんじゃなくてみせてますね。

そうですね。

ここに

「僕ははすごい不安でたまらない」と入れても良かったけれどこういう風に言ったんですね。

だけど「Feeling very still」ですね。

そうですね。

だからすごい比較しているというか、その二つの状態を上手に比較していますね。

そうですね。だから余計に地上管制の人はびっくりするでしょうね。

そうですね。

デニさんがたぶん最後のほうに変えたとは思うんですけど

すごい音楽とちょっと位置している

F Major 7が

あ、そうですね

Stillな感じで

F minorすごい不安な感じでと書いていなかったですか。

だから最初のコードからその雰囲気が出ているんですね。

そうですね。

そのstillな感じと不安な感じ

あとは面白いところは

あるんですかね。

“Can you…here am I sitting round my Tin Can”

その「Here]をかけてところ

同じ音の言葉ですね。

Ground control to Major Tom

your circuit’s dead

There’s something wrong

Can you…here

そうですね。これは二つの意味してるんですね。

面白いですね。

でもそれどうしようもないですね。訳すときはだ

だから「聞こえる」

回線が落ちてしまった。何かおかしい。聞こえるか。

これはもう日本語にはもうどうしようもないですね。

そうですね。

だからどうしても何かを意訳するときは何かがなくなるんですね。

そうですね。おっしゃる通りですね。

If you’re interested in other Japanese artists that have the ability to shape shift and recreate themselves over time, check out Jun Togawa and her iconic song suki suki daisuki or the sonic traveller of YMO and beyond Haruomi Hosono.

Graded Japanese Reading & Listening Practice

Japanese Essay Tokyo Tower

A Japanese essay read in Japanese and English. The essay by, Inazo Inamoto, uses Tokyo Tower to examine the difference between seeing from a far and getting up close, and argues that getting up close wins.
In today’s age of information gluts, and gluttony, where to “know” something is to say that you once googled it and scanned the the top 3 search result headlines, the essay argues the case for deeper experiential learning.
日本語と英語で読まれた日本のエッセイ。

Read More »
Graded Japanese Reading & Listening Practice

Jun Togawa Suki Suki Daisuki

戸川純 好き好き大好きTogawa Jun Suki Suki Daisuki Who is Jun Togawa? Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an

Read More »
Culture

Japanese Storage

From my earliest years of going to Japan as a teenager, I was struck by the way that Japanese people used space. Showers & bath

Read More »

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Gurenge

Gurenge (Demon Slayer - Kimetsu No Yaiba Opening Song) Translated To English And Explained

鬼滅の刃OP紅蓮華の歌詞を英語に訳して解説

The opening song for Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba, Gurenge by LiSA, is a power punch of determination, grit, darkness and hope. But what’s the Kimetsu No Yaiba OP all about? How were the Gurenge lyrics written? What does it all mean?

These are the things I want to shed light on today. Let me start by presenting my full translation of the song from the Japanese into English, sung by Cake Sullivan and arranged, just for something different, in a kind of latin feel. Then I’ll try and answer the questions about Gurenge’s meaning below.   

鬼 滅の刃の主題歌は紅蓮華という曲ですが 勇気と気合と熱望のパワーパンチのようなものでやや暗い曲と言ってもいいではないでしょうか。

それは何を意味しているのでしょうか?どのように書かれているのでしょうか?それは何でしょう?これらの疑問を、少しでも明らかにしていきたいと思っています。

まず最初に日本語からの翻訳から見ていきます。元の曲を翻訳して編曲してみました。友人のケーキ・サリバンが歌っています。ラテン風のような感じにしました、なんとなく。好き嫌いはあるかもしれませんがこっちの知ったことではありません。

まずは歌を聞いてもらい、それから先ほどの疑問について考えていきましょう。もしこれに気に入ってもらえたらサブスクライブしてください。 ではまた曲の後に。

Approx Japanese level

Text Type

紅蓮華 元の日本語歌詞

強くなれる理由を知った
僕を連れて進め
泥だらけの走馬灯に酔う
こわばる心
震える手は掴みたいものがある
それだけさ
夜の匂いに (I’ll spend all thirty nights)
空睨んでも (Staring into the sky)
変わっていけるのは自分自身だけ
それだけさ
強くなれる理由を知った
僕を連れて進め
どうしたって!
消せない夢も 止まれない今も
誰かのために強くなれるなら
ありがとう 悲しみよ
世界に打ちのめされて負ける意味を知った
紅蓮の華よ咲き誇れ!
運命を照らして
イナビカリの雑音が耳を刺す
戸惑う心
優しいだけじゃ守れないものがある?
わかってるけど
水面下で絡まる善悪 透けて見える偽善に天罰
(Tell me why, tell me why, tell me why, tell me… I don’t need you!)
逸材の花より
挑み続け咲いた一輪が美しい
乱暴に敷き詰められた
トゲだらけの道も
本気の僕だけに現れるから
乗り越えてみせるよ
簡単に片付けられた
守れなかった夢も
紅蓮の心臓に根を生やし
この血に宿ってる
人知れず儚い
散りゆく結末
無情に破れた
悲鳴の風吹く
誰かの笑う影
誰かの泣き声
誰もが幸せを願ってる
どうしたって!
消せない夢も 止まれない今も
誰かのために強くなれるなら
ありがとう 悲しみよ
世界に打ちのめされて負ける意味を知った
紅蓮の華よ咲き誇れ!
運命を照らして
運命を照らして

Gurenge English Lyric Translation

Now I’ve got a reason to be strong
I’m gonna be right her with you, come on
I know it’s only the play of the light
That shines on the dirt that plays tricks on the mind
And it’s only my shaking hands
That have something theyre tring to grab hold of I swear
It’s no use to glare at the sky
When there’s something about the scent of the night
There’s only one thing you can change
And that’s you yourself, don’t need noone to say it
Now I’ve got a reason to be strong
I’m gonna be right her with you, come on

Cause there are
some dreams that you can’t erase
And theres some times you can’t escape
If I’ve found someone who I want to get strong for
I’m going to say thank you for all the hu-rt
It took the world to beat me down, tell you I’ve my lesson now
Crimson Lotus show me how you flower
Light the way

to my fate

The sound of the lightening strike
Pierces my ears, strikes fear in my heart
I know that kindness is not
Not enough by itself to protect what I’ve got
Under the surface joins good and bad
look close and you can see through it
There comes a punishment
It’s not the bouquet its the flower
Grows all alone that is truly fair
You know the
road buried in thorns and strife
Reveals itself to only my
My sacred heart, now watch me as I
Watch me as I rise
My simply folded hopes and dreams
Which I swore I’d hold close to me
See them blooming in the Crimson Lotus
It’s roots in my blood to my heart

In the end Noone knows
The edge it frays
The wind it blows
Your calls into an air that has gone cold
Theres someone laughing in the shadow
Someone crying don’t you know

Everybody wants the same thing

Cause there are
some dreams that you can’t erase
And theres some times you can’t escape
If I’ve got found someone who I want to get strong for
I’m going to say thank you for all the hu-rt
It took the world to beat me down, tell you I’ve my lesson now
Crimson Lotus show me how you flower
Light the way

to my fate

 

Demon slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba Gurenge Background

Now, I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this you are aware of the Manga/Anime Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba. I myself was fairly late to the party hearing about it when the term “鬼滅の刃 Kimetsu no Yaiba” appeared on the list of top 30 new words to appear in the Japanese language in 2020. So, you know, you’ve got to be pretty significant to be considered a “new word in a language”.
You’ll already know that the story is about a young man who sets out on an adventure, or more a voyage of salvation and redemption, to save his possessed sister, and kick a lot of demon arse along the way.

仮に鬼滅の刃を見たことがあるとします。私がこの番組のことを知ったのはかなり遅かったです。2020年の流行語・新語のリストで初めて知りました。「新語」としてリストに載ることは極めて偉大なことであるに違いありません。

概ねの話の粗筋はご存知だと思いますがある少年が帰宅し 自分の家族が全員虐殺された事に気づいて旅に出ることを決意する。贖罪/救済の旅に。

Who wrote Demon Slayer’s opening theme song Gurenge?

The song was composed by two musicians that have had careers closely aligned to the world of Animation Songs, a world so well defined in Japan that it has its own conjugation, “Anison”.

The words were written by the, somewhat prosaic to the Western ear named LiSA, and the music by Kayuko Kusano with LiSA.

Kayoko Kusano Album Trigger

 

では、この主題歌はこの話とどのように関係があるのしょうか。この曲はアニメソング業界と深い関わりを持つ二人のミュージシャンによって作曲されました。日本で言う「アニソン」ですね。歌詞を書いたのはLiSAさんです。西洋人には 「LiSA]という名前はごく普通の名前に感じられると思いますが日本人にとってなんとなくエキゾチックに感じるのではないでしょうか。そして、彼女は草野華余子さんという作曲家と曲作りをしました。

Lisa got her first big break singing songs for the animation “Angel Beats”. In fact, she provided vocals for a band named Girls Dead Monster that featured within the show. The fictitious band was made up of a group of unliving “jyoshi kousei” type high school girls that were indeed dead, but anything but monstrous. Or at least if they were monsters, they were closer to, say, a kawaii kyary pamyu pamyu style fashion monster than a Godzilla type city-flattening beast.
Angel Beats Comic

Angel Beats DVD

LiSA’s big anime break seems to have somewhat defined her career trajectory, at least in the eyes of the general public, with her going on to work on songs for anime that lethally orbit through other-worlds of reincarnation and ultra-experiential conflict. She continues to be something of a guest of honor at animation related expos around the world.

So where did LiSA come up with the title for the song Gurenge? 

Gurenge literally means red lotus flower. The Gu can also be read as “Kurenai”, a word for a deep red color. You may know the character “Kurenai” from such roles as the 紅 from 紅茶, meaning western tea, which we see as black, but the Japanese see as red. Or if you’re an anime fan you might know 紅の豚, the Ghibli film known to the English speaking world as “Porco Rosso” about a pig who not only “might fly”, but did fly an aeroplane to  fight with pirates of the sky. 

The 蓮 ren, means “Lotus” and the 華 ge means flower. 

 

So literally it is:

紅 Crimson

蓮 Lotus

華 Flower

紅蓮華という題はどこからきたでしょうか?紅蓮華というのは文字通り Red Lotus Flowerの意味しています。つまり「グ」は赤ような、深紅色のような色この字を知っているかもしれません。「紅茶」の紅として良く知られている。洋風のお茶。 西洋では黒いお茶で呼びますが日本では 赤いお茶に見えるようです。
アニメファンなら知っているかもしれませんが、「紅の豚」もある。「クレナイ」は「グ」にもなります。ジブリ映画「ポルコ・ロッソ」

The Role Of The Lotus in Eastern & Buddhist Culture

Now most people interested in Eastern culture will be aware that the lotus is intimately connected with Buddhist culture and philosophy. You often see Buddha, if you see him at all, depicted sitting on his trademark Lotus Throne, looking all together too serene to have a “trademark” anything at all. Probably the main reason that the lotus is such a thing in Buddhism is that it is that the flower is an easily recognisable symbol of transcendence. The Lotus flower grows, almost miraculously, out of the swamps and wetlands to flamboyantly bloom above the water’s surface. It’s the proverbial, “head above the head” that you might hear your guru bang on about from the mount. 

And so the term “Gurenge ” brings with it all of these quasi-religious resonances. On it’s simplest level, the Crimson Lotus in the Kimetsu No Yaiba context is a symbol of our protagonist Tanjiro rising above his circumstances, which is, indeed the main thrust of the song, to use a fencing analogy. It’s also worth noticing that Tanjiro’s signature move in Demon Slayer is to bust a “Mizu no Kokyu” “Breath of water-element” type of magic attack on his foes, so a water flower fits in with that too.

そして「れんげ」は蓮の花。

東方哲学とかに詳しい人はご存知かもしれませんが蓮は仏教と深い関わりがあります。蓮の葉の上にブッダがすわっている像をよく見かけます。

これにはいくつかの理由があります。主な理由としては 世俗的なものを超越した象徴になっているからです。蓮を見たことがあれば沼地に生えていることを知っていると思います。根元は 泥の中にありますが水面から伸びて美しい花をみせます。非常に分かりやすいです。世界に存在しながら世界から離れたところに存在する象徴になっています仏教哲学者が話すのを聞いたことがあるかもしれませんが、「頭の上にある頭」とか 「肩の上の空間」とか顔の裏の顔と言った別世界のような概念が出てくることがあります。蓮はそういったところから来ています。

では、なぜ彼女は この「紅蓮華」を使うことにしたのでしょう。
まず蓮の「超越する花」としてのの文字通りの意味があります。
物語では炭治郎が困難を克服しやがて花を咲かせて英雄になる、ということと繋がっています。また、話に出てくる 炭治郎の「水の呼吸」といったような魔法の動き波打つような、水のような敵を倒す技,そのようなものとも繋がりもあると思います。

But why is it a red lotus in Gurenge, and not a green one, or a blue one, or indeed a vermillion, amaranth of gingerline one?

Well, LiSA has also said in interviews that she had in her mind the term “紅蓮地獄” Guren Jigoku, literally Red Lotus Hell.

In buddhism, there is the altogether un-placidity inducing idea of the 8 cold hells, called 八寒地獄 Hakkan Jigoku in Japanese, and which are situated a respectably far enough distance away from the 8 Hot Hells.
Image: Eight Hells

Now, you may think that ending up in one of the cold hells is a step up from the hot hells, but the Cold Hell which the Guren Red Lotus Hell takes its name from is named that way because it is so cold that it causes your skins to peel off and your blood to rush out, making you look like a rather disturbing, but nicely colored, flower.
LiSA has said that it struck her that this was a good metaphor for Tanjiro in Demon Slayer as he sets out on his quest for salvation amidst the carnage and gore of the massacre of his family.
「紅蓮には “紅蓮地獄”っていう紅色の蓮花が咲いたように血が噴き出す地獄を表現した言葉もある。心情を表す比喩表現としてすごくピッタリだなって。」
“The Crimson Lotus is also related to the term “Crimson Lotus Hell”, the hell where people’s blood spouts out from them, like a red lotus in bloom. It just felt like the perfect metaphor for expressing the emotions of the story.”

The Crimson Lotus is the flower that blooms in the very bud of the greatest pain.

しかし、LiSAさんはインタビューで 「紅蓮地獄」というのも関係していると言っていました。”グレン “はあの赤い蓮で 「地獄」はhellです。
仏教には 八寒地獄 と八熱地獄という概念があります。八寒地獄は 熱い方よりはマシと思うかもしれませんが八寒地獄の中にあるものの一つは「紅蓮地獄」と呼ばれている。なぜそう呼ばれるかというと 皮がむいてしまうほど寒いためが出てきて、いたるところに血が噴き上がったりする

気持ち悪いですが、それがまるで紅蓮の花ののように見えてしまうからだそうです。

インタビューでLisaさんは、これは炭治郎の話のいい喩えになると言っていました。彼は 残忍な血まみれの大虐殺により家族をなくしたことを乗り越えて成長していきました。

Gurenge’s Connection To LiSA’s Life

So you can see that the song has many clear references to the show. By all accounts, the lyric writing process was very much an all-in affair, with show producers routinely involved in vetting and vetoing certain words in the lyric writing process.

But LiSA has also described it as a very personal song, written as much in response to the circumstances of her one life as to those of the fictional story she was soundtracking. In interviews, LiSA talks about herself in the third person, 

“I feel like I can’t let people down, I can’t give up, I can’t stop. I can’t just stop living, and I can’t die, I can’t give up on being LiSA, I just have to keep going, and that includes an element of something that is frankly very hard. But I still want to continue to blossom.”

It was as if rather than just writing from Tanjiro’s perspective, it was like she had taken Tanjiro into herself, allowing herself to be possessed, like Nezuko in the story, and then written as LiSA.

She has said the central line in the song is 世界に打ちのめされて/負ける意味を知った, which a literal translation of would be “the world beat me down, and I came to know the meaning of defeat”.

Intriguingly, she has also spoken about how it is possible for any person to become a demon in the real world saying,

 

A person who disavows responsibility and refuses to defend what they should be defended may become a demon. A person who uses their own weakness as an excuse and thinks of everyone as an enemy can become a demon. A person who succeeds in discarding, or betrays, what they want to protect, may become a demon at any moment. I believe a person who holds onto a moral, to a belief that this is not who I am, to this is who I want to be, will not become a demon. In our world, there’s a lot of demons. But I read in Kazuo Koike’s book that you have to ignore the demons. Kazuo Koike’s book “If there’s no hope, then run! 225 words of advice to help relieve you of yourself” is like my own personal talisman. 

Kazue Koike

 

LiSA is a fan of the prominent writer and creator of the comic Lone Wolf And Cub 子連れ狼. Aside from his work on his comics that have been described as some of the authentic landmarks in graphic fiction, he also had a massive Twitter following where he would dispense pithy pieces of life advice, including his advice about avoiding “Demons”. This is another element that has an influence on the song Gurenge.

Lone Wolf And Cub Comic

このため彼女は緑色の蓮でも青い蓮でもなく、紅色の蓮にしたそうです。ということで、この歌はっきりと本編の話の内容と密接に関係しています。しかし、LiSAさんによりますと、この曲はまた彼女にとって非常に個人的な曲でもあるそうです。また、音楽・番組制作側からかなり細かく作品に関しての指示があったようです
「この言葉を入れてはいけない」とか「この言葉を省いてください」とか。

こうして多くのやり取りを経て作られたそうです。

しかし、彼女はまた、それが 自分にとってとても個人的なものだと言っています。

彼女がこの詩を書いたのは30歳の誕生日を迎えて間もない頃だったそうで世の中の悲しいことに 音楽の世界では女性は30歳を過ぎると「もう終わった」とみなされる。彼女が言うには この頃から自分に自信がなくなり苦しい時期だったそうです。

だからこの曲は、彼女が乗り越えようとしている困難についてでもあります。

「強くなれる理由を知った」というセリフから曲が始まりますが 彼女が言うには、自分と自分のキャリアのために「強くなれる理由」は彼女を支えてくれるたくさんのファンがいたという事実だったそうです。

しかし、この曲はその考えとは真逆の 「責任」というテーマもあります。彼女のインタビューの訳文 から引用を読んでみます。

「わたし自身が裏切れない、やめられない、止まれない生きることをやめられないし、死ねない。要するに、LiSAであることをやめられないやっていかなくちゃいけないっていうやっぱりその時点の素直な苦しかった気持ちも含めてます。だけど、自分がそれでもまだ咲きたい」。

彼女が言うには 諸刃の剣のようなファンとのの関係、そして自分自身との関係があるということであり、 また、おもしろいことに

他人事のように自分自身のことを「Lisa」と第三称で呼んでいます。自分のイメージを常に作り出し世に送り出していかないといけないということです。そしてその「Lisa」というイメージに対して感謝している 一方でそのお陰でまたとてつもなく辛い思いもするということ。

これが曲全体の核心を突いている部分だと思います。私たちにはこのようなとても困難な責任がありますが、いざそれから逃がれようとすると
Lisa曰く「実際に鬼になる」そうです。興味深いですね。
彼女が話しているのは 現実の世界ですが、彼女は、人間は実際に悪魔になることができる、といっています。
では、もう一つの彼女のインタビューの引用を読ませてください。

「責任や守るべきものを放棄できた人は、鬼になれる。自分の弱さを言い訳にして、すべてを敵だと思える人は、鬼になれてしまうんですね。人は、守りたいものを捨ててしまえば、裏切ってしまえば、いつでも鬼になれる。モラルや、自分の中に「こうはなりたくない」っていう信念、「こういう人でいたい」っていう理想があったら、鬼にはならないんだろうなって思います。

世の中には、鬼がいっぱいいるんです。でも、そういう鬼のことを気にしたらダメって、小池一夫さんの本に書いてあった。小池一夫さんの『だめなら逃げてみる(自分を休める225の言葉)』っていう本が、わたしのお守りなんですけど。」

彼女の発想は興味深いですね。現実世界には鬼が実際にいる、鬼にならないためには 責任逃れをしないしなければならないのは責任の中に含まれているいろんな課題に向き合ってそれを強さに変えてしまわないといけない
感謝の気持ちを持たないといけない。

歌の中で 「ありがとう 悲しみよ」という言葉が出てきますがこれは陰と陽的な考えでもあると思います。彼女は、苦しみのない幸せはないとも言っている。苦労せずに幸せはない、と。
もしそうだとしたら苦労に感謝しなければなりません。
責任にも感謝しないといけない、ということです。 諸刃の剣なのだから。このような点から、この歌には非常に深いメッセージが含まれている、といえると思います。表面的な部分から汲み取る以上に。

そして、二つの意味が重なっていて、実際の話である炭治郎のレベルと彼女自身の個人的な話。禰豆子が鬼に取りつかれるのとと同じように
自分が丹次郎に取りつかれたかのように
丹次郎を自分の中に取り込み、リサとして吐き出しています。
また、彼女にとってこの歌の一番中心的な歌詞は
「世界に打ちのめされて負ける意味を知った」という部分だそうです。
それを直訳すると “I’ve been beaten down by the world and I’ve come to know what
it is to be defeated”
その歌詞を思いついた時に作りかけていた歌詞の全てを一度投げ捨てこの1行を中心に再び全ての歌詞を書き直したそうです。
「全世界から叩きのめされてしまった。 でも今はそれが何なのか分かった。

LiSA draws a distinction between simply dreaming, and having a sense of responsibility towards dreaming. She talks about the privilege of having a mission, with all the weight that that entails.

In LiSA’s case, she says that it is her responsibility to her fans, her team and her staff that gives her strength, and it’s this that she is referring to in the opening line of Gurenge “I’ve found a reason to be strong”.

She had various reasons to need a source of strength. She had just passed that threshold out of youth age of 30. This age is, sadly, an especially significant one for a female singer working in an industry that consistently frowns upon age. She has said:

「30代を迎えることに恐怖も感じていた。30歳になって次の10年をどうやって生きていくか―、想像した時に何も見えなかった。できる限り走って行って、終わってしまえば、その時が燃え尽きた時だって。すごく苦しかったです」

I was feeling a great fear as I neared the age of 30. How on earth would I live the next ten years after the age of the 30? If I tried to imagine it, there was just nothing I could picture. It’s like I had ran my heart out, reached the finish line, and now I was burnt out. I was truly in pain”.

 

It was a time of great uncertainty about her future, her artistic direction, which way her quest would lead her next. In her own words,

 

「それまで、不安要素が多いところをみんなにたくさん見せてしまっていたので、今の自分の気持ちをちゃんと伝えなくちゃって思ったのが“紅蓮華”です。」

“I had demonstrated to everyone the things that I was feeling uncertain about. Gurenge was an attempt by me to actually convey a message about how I am feeling now.”

In this context, Gurenge becomes an anthem of self-motivation where LiSA draws on the strength of her fans, and embraces her responsibility to them to flower.

Kayoko Kusano’s Role in the making of Gurenge

Gurenge also represented a turning point for composer Kayoko Kusano. An alumni of the Kansai University 軽音部, or “Band Club” that has managed to spawn several notable musicians, Kayako had spent the last decade or so making music as a solo singer songwriter under the Name of Kayako. In 2019, two months before the release of Gurenge, she changed her name, switching to using her full name of Kayako Kusano, this time written in Kanji as opposed to the heretofore Katakana. She was undergoing her own journey of self discovery, or rediscovery.

On her blog she wrote

カヨコとしての自分と

そもそもの自分の差異が無くなり

完全にひとつになったこと

そして、やっと認め愛せるようになった

現在のありのままの自分を今まで以上に音楽で体現し

世界に産み落としていく為の決意表明として、

親から与えられた世界にひとつしかない大切な本名で

自分が信じる音楽をたくさん創り出していけたらなと思い

改名する運びとなりました

The gap between The “KAYOKO” that was me

And the me that had existed in the beginning disappeared

And was completely united

I came finally to acknowledge a love

And to experience now more than ever, through music, the unadorned me that now exists

As a statement of determination born into the world

With the single precious name that has been bequeathed to me by my parents

My wish is that I can create a large body of work that I myself can believe in

And so, a new name came into being

It almost seemed like there was a hand of fate at work when LiSA presented to her a song title name that even included one of the Kanji characters “華” in it. 

Gurenge was not the first song that Kayoko and LiSA had worked together on. They had notable success with collaborations on tracks like Adamas.

 

The process here was different though. LiSA, this time, presented a blueprint for the song with some chords and an outline of the words. She just needed a killer melody to make it really sing. It needed a melody capable of slaying a Demon.

Gurenge’s Final Message

So Gurenge is a combination of fiction and reality, of Tanjiro and LiSA. It celebrates the underdog. Those that have been cut up, but keep on going. But, deeper than that, it celebrates the fact that responsibility brings with it great sacrifice, and that there is a happiness that is only available to those who have been willing to accept that sacrifice. It says that we should pay thanks to hardship, because it is the yin that makes the yang of achievement possible. It asks us to see every circumstance as a gift, as a source of gratitude and strength. Just as the lotus takes its strength from the mud that it grows from to be the flower that blooms above. 

So LiSA, and Tanjiro, say thankyou for the pain, and we should say thankyou to them for reminding us that we should do the same.

そこから進んで、かつての自分よりも大きくなることができる。」と。すなわち、紅蓮華という歌は作り話と現実の融合だと言えます。負け犬を称えていたり、躓いたり、倒されたもの、叩きのめされたものをを称えています。
しかし、それ以上に自分の苦労に感謝するべきだというメッセージがあります。
自身の責任に対しても。そうすることによって自分を更に一つ上のレベルに上げることができるということです。蓮の花が日常世界の泥の中から生えてきて美しい花になるのとと同じように。そうやって、私たちは 人生を生きていかなければなりません。
それから逃れることはできません。それから逃れようとすると あなたは鬼になります。

だから、私のアドバイスは、鬼になるなということと、

LiSAの美しい「紅蓮華」という歌を楽しむことです。

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Kimetsu No Yaiba meaning – The full story behind Demon Slayer’s Japanese Name

Kimetsu No Yaiba meaning - The full story behind Demon Slayer’s Japanese Name 鬼滅の刃

What does the Japanese name of the cult Japanese anime Dragon Slayer, Kimetsu no Yaiba kimetsu 鬼滅の刃 mean?

Simply translated, Kimetsu no Yaiba means “Demon Killing Blade”. “鬼 ki” means “demon”, “滅 metsu” means destroy, “の no” means “of” and “刃 yaiba” means “blade”. So to do an extreme literal translation it would be “Demon Destroying, the Blade Of”. 

That doesn’t have much of a ring to it, so the translators wisely opted for something a little more catchy for Kyoharu Gotoge’s homage to zombie-like undead extermination, “Demon Slayer”.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the Demon Slayer Opening Theme 鬼滅の刃主題歌 Gurenge 紅蓮華 with lyrics in english translation then look here.

Approx Japanese level

Themes

Are 鬼滅の刃 Kimetsu no yaiba and “Demon Slayer” the same meaning?

At first glance, “Demon Slayer”, makes us think of a person that kills demons. But given the Japanese original meaning of Kimetsu No Yaiba, it is likely that Demon Slayer refers to the blade itself. It is totally natural for “Demon Slayer” to refer as much to an object as a person in English. Think other swords with names, such as “Excalibur” or “Kusanagi No Tsurugi”.

So, if you look at the name this way, it is actually a fairly close translation of the original. 


The series seems well named, given the centrality in the story of swords such as the “日輪刀” Nichirintou、or Blade of the Sun, to the plot. It is the only device capable of truly destroying the “demons”.

Breaking down the words and characters in Kimetsu No Yaiba

刃 Yaiba

The term “Yaiba” is a fairly rare, somewhat archaic sounding, word for blade or sword. It was one of a long list of words that can be used to describe a sword in Japanese. A partial list of words you could choose from to either refer to a sword in more or less generic/specific variations include:

 

剣 Ken

剣 Tsurugi

刀 Tou

刀 Katana

太刀 Tachi

日本刀 Nihonken

刀剣 Token

刃 Yaiba, Jin, Ha

 

And that’s only carving out a small chunk of the options that could be expanded by including more specific words such as:

 

脇差 Wakizashi for a sword you keep close to your “waki”, underarm area, or a 直刀 chokuto, meaning a straight sword.

It is not too long a bow to draw to say that Japanese have a bit of a thing for sharp weapons. 

That being said, the English speaking world also puts up a good fight with words like sword, sabre, cutlass, scimitar, rapier, dagger, hanger, claymore, backsword, broadsword, greatsword.

Maybe it is more accurate to say that humans are a cut above when it comes to knife-talk.

 

Etymology of “Yaiba”

The Yaiba, in Kimetsu no Yaiba, is also interesting in that it is the result of a phonetic change in a composite word 焼き刃 Yakiba. Yaki means, to fire something, such as in a kiln or forge. It can be seen in words like 焼き物 Yakimono for pottery, or more common food words that many non-Japanese people would be familiar with such as 焼き鳥 “Yakitori” for coal roasted chicken skewers or at the end of words like お好み焼き “Okonomiyaki” – which basically means “Fried Whatever-You-Want” (the Japanese equivalent of Bubble & Squeak). 

The 刃 “Ba” part means “blade”, and is pronounced “ha”  whenever not attached to another word. Interestingly, the other thing that is called a 歯 “Ha” are these, our teeth. So the language reminds us either that our teeth are really little slicing blades, or that our swords are extensions of our ability to cut people up with our teeth. 

So Yakiba could be literally translated as a “smelted blade” or “fired blade”. Over time, we can only assume that badass Samurai through the ages just didn’t have time to deal with all those consonants when dealing out hot feudal justice and cut “smelting blade” “Yakiba” to the somewhat sharper “Yaiba”.

The Chinese characters that are used to express the word Yaiba, or “Ha” or “Jin” as it can also be read, shows us connections in the language by being literally just one little dot stroke on one of the other words for sword 刀 katana. I like to think of it as being like a little drop of blood, but maybe that’s just me.

“Yaiba” can be used in a more specific sense to mean the pointed end of the sword, or meaning blade, or more generically as “sword”. As with most of the words for sword in Japanese, there is a lot more fluidity in their range of meanings than our “sword”.

nezuko cosplay

“鬼滅 Kimetsu” Meaning

If you look “Kimetsu” up in most Japanese dictionaries, you won’t find anything. The word is a  creation of the title’s author made by combining the characters for 鬼 “Oni”, roughly translated as “Demon”, and 滅びる “Horobiru” meaning to destroy or “overthrow” in its transitive form or to “die out” or “be extinguished” in it’s intransitive form. Of course, all Chinese characters used in Japanese have their 訓読み Kunyomi readings derived from Japanese, and their totally different 音読み Onyomi readings derived from Chinese, so Oni can also be read as “Ki”, and “Horobiru” as “metsu”. Hence, “Kimetsu” becomes a newly cut coinage destroying demons. Or “slaying”, if you prefer.

It is said that William Shakespeare made up somewhere in the vicinity of 1700 words. One of the cool things about Japanese is that the language makes this process of word creation easy by making it possible to kind of throw together any two characters that people will already know the meaning of to and have them get the gist of what the new word must be. I guess these are the equivalent of nualism portmanteaus in English such as “workcation”, “listicle” or “romcom”.

 Anyway, I hope that gives you a bit more of a deeper sense of what Kimetsu no Yaiba actually means. I actually first heard of the phrase, and the anime and manga, in 2020 when it appeared on the list of the 30 most popular words in Japanese for that year. You can listen to the original discussion I had with fellow Youtuber Moshi Moshi Yusuke at the time.

You may also be interested in our Demon Slayer Costumes and Cosplay page here or my Japanese language learning resource list here.

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Moshi Moshi Yusuke Conversation Transcript

The next one is 鬼滅の刃

 

ですね。

 

刃、はい。鬼滅の刃 これはアニメですね。

 

見ましたか。

 

ええと見ていないです。今映画館でやってるみたい

なんでそろそろ観に行こうかなとは思ってます。

 

映画館でやってるんですか。

 

映画館でもやってるしテレビもやっていないですか。

 

テレビもやってますよね。

 

英語では何て言うんですか。

 

Demon Slayerでした。

 

昨日ちょっと

 

これだけは、ちょっと見ました。 1 話2 話ぐらい見ました。

結構面白そうと思いました。

 

そうですね。

これはすごく人気があって。

 

これからもたぶん人気続くんじゃないかなと思いますね。

 

これは人気があるのは映画にもなって映画館でもやってるんで。

 

特に今これが話題になってるんで流行語に入ったんだと思います。

 

昨日ちょっと見てみて

 

映像がものすごくきれいと思いました。

アニメとしてのアニメーションはすごいなと思いました。

 

おそらく進撃の巨人よりも絵がきれいだと思いますね。

 

そうかもしれないですね。

 

この言葉自体なんですけどはいこの

 

刃って初めて聞いたんですけど刀のことですね。

 

そういうことですね。刃は刀のことです。

 

刃を聞いて改めて思ったんですけど日本では刀を表す単語多いですね。

 

そうですねやっぱり刀を使っていた時代が長いですから多いですよね。

 

剣とか刀とか

 

そうそう。

 

特に刃っていうのは

 

刀があったら刃の部分を言う場合が多いですね。

 

鼻部分を言う場合が多い、刃だったら

 

刃というのは鼻部分言うことが多い。

 

刀というと持つところがあって刀を入れるケース鞘と言うんですけどそれを

 

全部含めて刀なんですけど刃というと鼻部分だけを言う場合が多いですね。

 

尖っている先っぽ

 

そう、切れるところ特にそういうふうに言う場合が多いですね。

 

刃でなんとなくなんというかな。やまと言葉っぽい気はしますけど。もともと日本

 

にあった昔からあった言葉っぽい感じはしますけどどうですか。

 

どうなんでしょうね。語源に関してはちょっとなんとも言えないですけど

どうどうなんでしょうね。あまり考えたことないですね、それは。

 

 

刃で、この

 

鬼滅も初めて聞いたんですけど。

 

辞書で、僕が持ってる辞書で調べたときは出てこなかったですね。

 

当然出てこないですね。おそらくこれはある種の造語だと思いますね。

 

日本人は鬼滅と言われてこの漢字を見させられれば内容

が分かるからこのタイトルにしたんだと思うんですね。

 

鬼滅というのは鬼を滅する、つまり鬼を倒すという意味ですね鬼を倒す。

 

の刃ですから鬼を倒す刀。

 

という意味ですね。

 

この「滅」は絶滅の滅?

 

そう滅亡の「滅」

 

じゃちょっと英語

 

の説明しましょうか。

 

So this is Kimetsu no Yaiba which has been translated into English as “Demon Slayer”, it’s a very popular anime. I guess we should take a look at what it looks like for people that haven’t come across this yet. So it’s an anime about people fighting “Oni” which is…

 

鬼ですよね, この「鬼」「鬼ですね」

So another reading for “oni” is “ki” and “metsu” being to…”destroy”ですかね、「滅」or “kill”.

 

And “Yaiba”,being sword. And we’re talking about how this is one of the many words for “sword” in Japan. They seem to have a lot of them including “Ken”, “Tou”, “Katana”, so there’s a lot of words that seem to mean sword. We’re saying that the “Yaiba” is particularly used about the end of the sword, the part, so not like the hilt of the sword or the sheath of the sword but the actual sword itself, and especially the end, the point of the sword. So “ki” being “oni”, “metsu” being “destroy”, “The Sword That Destoys the Oni”. でこの番組を見たときこの鬼は結構ゾンビー的な感じでした。

鬼ではないですよね、これ。

 

ね、でも何かそれが新鮮

 

な感じはしました

 

。So that’s something that has become very popular in Japan this year.

The next word we are looking at is

 

Kimetsu no Yaiba.

 

Yaiba, yes.

Demon Slayer.

 

This is an anime.

 

Did you see it?

 

No, I haven’t seen it.

 

I heard it’s playing in theaters now,

so I’m thinking of going to see it soon.

 

Oh, it’s in the movie theaters?

 

Yes’ it’s in theaters…

 

It’s not on TV?

 

It’s also on TV? How do

you say it in English?

 

Demon Slayer.

I watched a little bit of this yesterday.

 

I watched one or two episodes.

 

I thought it looked pretty interesting.

Yes, it is.

 

It’s very popular.

 

I think it will probably continue

to be popular in the future.

 

It’s so popular that it’s even been made

into a movie and played in theaters.

 

It’s especially popular now,

 

so

I

 

think that’s why it made it into the list

of the most popular words.

 

I watched it yesterday and I thought

the images were really beautiful.

 

I thought the animation was amazing.

 

I think the pictures are probably

better than Attack on Titan.

 

I think you might be right.

 

This is the first time I’ve

heard the word “Yaiba”,

 

but it refers to a sword right.

 

That’s correct.

 

A Yaiba is a sword.

 

When I heard “Yaiba”,

I thought again that there

 

really are a lot of words

for swords in Japan.

 

Yes, there are a lot of them because

swords were used for a long time.

 

Words like “Ken” and “tou”.

Yes, yes.

 

Especially, “blade” often refers to

 

the blade part of the sword.

 

Often say the nose part,

if it was a blade.

 

The blade is often referred

to as the blade part.

 

A sword has a place to hold it

and a case to put the sword in.

 

The pointed tip?

 

Yes, the cutting part

 

is especially associated with Yaiba.

 

Yaiba.

 

I feel that it sounds like a Yamato word.

 

It sounds like a word that has

existed in Japan for a long time.

 

I don’t know about that.

 

As for the etymology of the word,

I can’t say for sure,

 

I wonder.

I’ve never really thought about it.

 

Yaiba

 

Yaiba

 

And this is the first time

I’ve heard of this “Kimetsu”.

 

When I looked it up in the dictionary,

which I have, it didn’t come up.

 

It

 

‘s only natural that it would not come up.

 

I think this is probably some

kind of newly created word.

 

I think that Japanese people can

understand the the meaning from looking

 

at the kanji characters for “Kimetsu”,

 

and that’s whey they chose the title.

kimetsu means to “mesu” the “Oni”, meaning

 

to defeat the demon.

 

It is referring to a sword

that can defeat the demon.

 

Is this “annihilation” the annihilation

that can be find in the word “extinction”?

 

Yes, the same one that is in

“annihilation”.

 

So let me explain a little

bit about English.

 

So this is Kimetsu no Yaiba which has been

 

translated into English as “Demon Slayer”,

 

it’s a very popular anime.

 

I guess we should take a look at what it

 

looks like for people that haven’t

 

come across this yet.

 

So it’s an anime about people fighting

 

“Oni”. This “Ki” is “Oni” right?

 

That’s correct.

 

So another reading for “oni” is “ki” and “

metsu” being to” It’s “destroy” or “kill”.

 

They seem to have a lot of them including

 

“Ken”, “Tou “We’re saying that the “Yaiba”

is particularly used about the end

 

of the sword, the part, so not like the

hilt of the sword or the sword itself.

 

We’re saying that the “Yaiba” is

 

particularly used about the end

of the sword, the part,

 

so not like the hilt of the sword or

the sheath of the sword but the actual

 

sword itself, and especially the end,

the point of the sword.

 

So “ki” being “oni”, “metsu” So “ki” being

 

“oni”, “metsu” being “destroy”,

“The Sword That Destoys the Oni”.

 

So when I saw this show,

 

this I thought the demons were

pretty zomby-ish.

 

They’re not really “oni” are they?

 

So that’s something that has become

very popular in Japan this year.

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日本語と英語で読まれた日本のエッセイ。

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Hosono House Background and Translation of Boku Wa Chotto

Hosono House Album Themes

Hosono Haruomi’s debut solo record is all about being at home. So much so that he called it “Hosono House”. It was recorded shortly after he returned from a West Coast Tour of the United States,  a country which was as much his spiritual home as the one listed in his passport.

「当時の僕は終末感にさいなまれ、その上、ある精神的なショックのフラッシュ・バックなどもあって、身も心もズタズタに分裂してしまうような状態に落ち込んでいた。」 "At the time, I was struck by a premonition of some kind of apocalypse. On top of that, there was a flashback mental shock. I was depressed to the point of my body and mind being shattered."

Where was the “Hosono House”?

Haruomi’s home in Japan at the time barely qualified as being really in Japan. He was in the “American Village” of the suburban Sayama area, about an hour’s drive north west of Tokyo. American Village, is the remnants of the Johnson Air Base, established by the U.S. occupation after the war, on the site of an earlier Japanese air base from the 1930s. The Johnson Town – American Village is a chunk of America plonked down in the far East. I guess you could say it’s a more militarised version of the Disneylands that you can find utterly unchanged, uncustomized and unrepentantly celebrating The Tales of Tom Sawyer and the Wild West from Hong Kong to Shanghai, except with with more of an emphasis on aerial bombardment than nighttime “Celebrate Imagination” firework displays. It’s a case of soft toys for soft power and hard toys for hard power.

 

The America that American Village celebrates is that of the suburbs. It consists of white weatherboard homes, replete with porches, lawns and picket fences, that huddle along a single bitumen road. You can almost see the American officers lingering around the hot dog stands as they return to their abodes after a long day coordinating fire-raids of Pyongyang in the Korean War. The American Village of Sayama is a glob of burger cheese that has dripped out and stuck to the Kimono sleeve of Tokyo.

Haruomi and the “American Village”

It might seem strange that a young, long haired, social drop-out hippy like Haruomi would choose to settle down in such a historic seat of military activity. But it was cheap. After all, which self respecting Japanese would want to live in such strange abodes, devoid of Tatami mats, sliding doors and genkans. There wasn’t even a space to remove your footwear. The previous residents hadn’t bothered with taking their shoes off. So the area attracted the bohemian types, and a little community of artsy weirdos came to occupy the surreal mickey-meets-military, mini-homesteads on Tokyo’s fringe.
It suited Haruomi. He had spent most of his life obsessing over American music in a way that those around him found unhealthy. His band Happy End had become the progenitor of a rock that was able to fully meld the rhythms of American beats and the Japanese language for the first time. In many ways, he too was a piece of American cheese gunk sullying up Tokyo’s svelte look.

Happy End

Retreating to the Sayama hills, by a patch of idyllic greenery that the Americans had, without a touch of self awareness, referred to as Hyde Park, made sense to Haruomi. He was retreating in more ways than one. The band he led, Happy End, not able to sustain the upbeat promise of its name, was breaking up. He said at the time that he felt like the captain of a ship that had weathered a great storm, but was now stranded in a windless ocean. Listening to anything with a rock beat set him on edge.

Pictures of Hosono House Recording Session

Influences on Hosono House

In his troubled state, he found solace in the soothing sounds of the country revival taking hold in early 70s U.S.A. In his recent tour of the motherland, he had sat in with some production sessions with Van Dyke Parks

「ヴァン・ダイクの『ディスカバー・アメリカ』っていうアルバムを徹底的に聞き込んでいくうちに、あのアルバムをとっかかりにして、ぼくの感覚が過去に戻っていったの。たとえば、ぼくが子供の頃に聞いていたハリウッドの映画音楽とか、そういうノスタルジックな世界を思い出したんだね」 "While listening to Van Dyck's" Discover America "album, I got taken back, it was like I was a kid again. I remembered the Hollywood movie music I was listening to, and that kind of nostalgic world. "

「ロック・ビートがイヤになったんだよ。だから古いカントリーを聴き直したり、シンガー・ソング・ライターものを聴いたりしていたわけだ」 "I didn't like rock beats, so I was re-listening to old country and listening to singer-songwriters."

He could almost see the musicians sitting on the porches when he put on records by Tom Rush, Gordon Lightfoot, John Hartford. Most of all, he was impressed by the big down-home sounds of The Band on Music From The Big Pink.

「ロック・ビートがイヤになったんだよ。だから古いカントリーを聴き直したり、シンガー・ソング・ライターものを聴いたりしていたわけだ」 "I didn't like rock beats, so I was re-listening to old country and listening to singer-songwriters."

Recording Sessions for Hosono House

「自宅でメンバーが合宿状態でレコーディングするということは、正味に使える時間が長いという利点とともに、一つ 間違うとしまりなくダラダラやってしまう危険性とが同居していました。そこで、1時から6時までとレコーディング時間を区切り、三日やったら1日休むとい うやり方にしました。」 "Recording at home, it’s as if you’ve all gone off to some kind of live-in boot camp has the advantage that you can really maximise on those “peak” productive periods. The flip side is that you run the risk of wasting time endlessly faffing around. So we created a routine: 1 o'clock to 6 o’clock and after three days, we took a day off. "

So what is a wounded hippie rocker to do with a broken dream and a crate full of country? Head to the hills in search of the Yamato Appalachia.

At the same time, recording technology was getting smaller. Well, still huge really, but small enough that you could, with the help of a few stout buddies, put it in the back of a light truck. This opened up possibilities. The possibility to get away from the pay-by-the hour pressures of a commercial studio. The possibility to record somewhere where you can spend the afternoon getting the right sound, then sit down to a meal with your bandmates, maybe play some cards. The possibility to combine art-life and home-life.

Hosono House Recording Schedule and Dates

So that’s what Hosono and his buddies did (he even gave them band a name “Caramel Mama”, so the album is perhaps not strictly a “solo album” at all). On the 15th of February 1973, they set up in the bedroom of Hosono’s house, because the living room was too boomy. They recorded from roughly 1-6pm, three days on, two days off for the period of around a month, celebrating the end of the process with a party on the 12th of March 1973.

リビング・ルームにシグマ社製16トラックのミキシング・コンソールが置かれ、演奏には8畳ほどのベッド・ルームが使われた “A Sigma 16-track mixing console was placed in the living room, and a bedroom of about 8 tatami mats was used for the performance.”

The Hosono House Sound

「作品とは思えないわけよね。頭で創ったものじゃあないから。何かもっと、恥ずかしいものだね。作品として客観的に見れるものじゃないから。習作の時代だから」 "I don't think it's a “”work of art””. It's not something I created with my head. It's something more embarrassing. It's not something that can be seen objectively as a ““work””. It was “”period of study.”"

The music sounds warm and real, with an immediately recognisable similarity to Music From The Big Pink. In the mix down, they had to struggle with bringing the sound of the vibrating floor under control. The drums were in the bass mic, so if you tried to turn up the bass, you turned up the snare, toms and cymbals too. You could hear the room. It was as if the strange old American air force officer’s dwelling had become an instrument.

The tracks themselves, though very much in the American-country folk style of the time, and exulting in the domestic, also already hint at some of the vagabond eclecticism of his later work, both solo and with legendary electronic-pop-prog band Yellow Magic Orchestra. There are elements of exoticism, adventure, strange references thrown in here and there.

「意図っていうのは、ノヴェルティ・ソングなんですよ。決してラヴソングでもないし、何かをメッセージするわけでもない。ノヴェルティ・ソングというのはどうやって訳せばいいかわからないけど、そういうジャンルがあるんです。冗談音楽もその中の一つだし。昔はトニー谷とかそういう人たちがいっぱいいたけど、その後日本にはなくなっちゃったものなんです」 "The intention was to write novelty songs! A novelty song is not a love song, it doesn't contain a message. I don't know how “novelty song” translates into Japanese, but there is such a genre. I guess in Japan, one “Joke music” might be one type of music contained in it. There used to be a lot of people doing that stuff, like Tony Tani, but after that it pretty much disappeared from Japan. "

Hosono’s Musical Philosophy

Hosono_Haruomi_from__No_Smoking__at_Opening_Ceremony_of_the_Tokyo_International_Film_Festival_2019_(49013189233)

Haruomi has said it takes a lot of effort to be devoted to a genre. It’s like being an athlete.  You work away at one discipline, a certain movement, a certain routine, over and over until you achieve tiny incremental gains that put you ahead of the competition.

Haruomi has no stomach for it. He’s not an athlete. He’s a tourist. In the years since Hosono House, his wanderlust has taken him to the kingdoms of rock, country, exotica, electro-pop, ambient and, most recently, pre-rock boogie woogie. He would rather ride his bike through the countryside than grind it out on the cycle-machine. Life is like a box set of Hosono albums, you never know what you’re going to get.

「この頃は、一般的に70年代に流れていた音楽がどんどんつまらなくなってきちゃったというのがあるな。それで、ジェイムス・テイラー、ヴァン・ダイク・パークス、トム・ラッシュ、ゴードン・ライトフット、ジョン・ハートフォード……そんなのばっかり聴いていた。そしてさらには、はっぴいえんどからここに至るまでには、すっかりハリウッド漬けになってたんだ」 "Around this time, the music that was generally played in the 70's became more and more boring, so James Taylor, Van Dyke Parks, Tom Rush, Gordon Lightfoot, John Hartford. Hartford ... I was just listening to that, and even more so, from Happy End on, I was completely immersed in Hollywood. "

Hosono House Lyrics

The lyrics  on Hosono House deal mostly with Haruomi’s immediate surroundings. He wanders through the hills, the houses, the environment, and melds it with the feelings, the hopes and dreams of the time.

「『ホソノ・ハウス』の詞っていうのは、あの頃のぼくの生活、あの場所から出てきたもので、それ以上のものも、それ以下のものも書けなかったんだ」 "The lyrics of 'Hosono House' came out of my life at that time, that place. I couldn't have written anything more or less than what I did."

Song In-depth: Boku Wa Chotto

By way of illustration, today I’ve done a translation of track two on the album “Boku wa chotto”. The title itself is prosaic, matter-of-fact, maybe almost akin to the “it’s so boring it’s good” aesthetic of late teens Melbourne dole-wave. It means “I’m a little…” or “Maybe, for me…”. It’s equivocal, an unfinished thought. It seems to reflect the uncertainty that Haruomi was feeling in this period in his life, in his art, in his sense of place.

But mostly, Boku wa chotto is an attempt to banish these uncertainties in a sun-drenched ode to the quiet life. The singer is sun-bathing, chatting over tea, going out for strolls, listening to country music, and ultimately deciding to keep quiet. It even has a reference to the white houses of the American Village he was living in at the time.

レコーディングは毎日午後に5時間ほど行われ、3日に1日休むペースで進み 後に細野は「日本語のロックがどうのこうのという騒ぎの中心にまつり上げられた“はっぴい”も過去のこととなったし、少し静かにしていたいという思いを込めて“僕はだまるつもりです”と歌ったのだが、その後のめぐり合わせで入ってしまったキャラメル・ママのおかげで、一層落ち着く暇などなくなってしまったものだ」[3]と語っている。 All that stuff about Happy End being “Japanese rock lyric trail blazers” and had come to an end, and I was thinking things might quieten down. I put that sense into Boku Wa Chotto. As it turned out, once I started doing things with this “Caramel Mama” band, things weren’t nearly as quiet as I had expected!

Japan, The Sun and the “Hi No Dezuru Kuni” 日の出ずる国

The only line that jolts us out of this at-home bliss is the refrain, as many good refrains do. The line appears three times and refers to the nation of Japan, another home reference, but this time at much more bird’s eye level. He uses an archaic name for the country 日の出ずる国, “the country where the sun rises”. Our term “Land of the Rising Sun” is a translation of this phrase. The modern Japanese name for Japan is a variation on this theme ”日本”, meaning literally the “The origin of the sun”. At first glance this sounds kind of conceited, like the Japanese had come up with a name for their own country that made it so central that it was where the sun itself originates. But in reality, the name was bestowed by China, who were the ultimate superpower in the region of the time, much as America is now. Japan is roughly East of China, so it made sense to refer to the country as “the place where the sun rises”.

Either way, the sun has a central place in Japanese culture. Their striking flag has a sun on a white background. Their Emperor is meant to be descended from the Amaterasu, the ancient Goddess of the sun. So Haruomi’s numerous references to sunshine, rays of light, glistening and shimmering is rich in deep cultural reverberations.

Hosono House Cultural Context

The other cultural context we can’t ignore is that of the massive riots that raged through the 1960’s Japan, which were only just beginning to quiet down in the early 70s. Amongst the many issues that had brought people onto the streets, the most universally mobilising was that of the Japan-America Security Treaty which placed American army and air bases throughout Japan, in return for protection. Many viewed, and still view, this mafioso-like arrangement as an infringement on Japanese sovereignty and an act of American imperialism. Perhaps the ironic thing about this movement and the security bases themselves, was that the U.S. bases often became places of congregation for radicals, partly because of the anti-war publications that were distributed from US activists themselve.

So, though Boku wa chotto is not an overtly political song, and Haruomi has never shown a particular proclivity towards activism, I think that it is safe to say the songs has references to the political climate of the time and to the dueling urges of nationalism, anti-imperialism, pacifism and the love-hate relationship between the United States and the 日の出ずる国.

 

That’s a lot to bite off. No wonder the upshot of Haruomi’s domestic, sun-soaked, Japanese-Americana riffing is that he’s going to take a quiet moment.

僕は一寸 Boku Wa Chotto In Translation

This is rough translation of the song. It’s translated more for rhyme and to capture the general feel than as complete word-for-word translation.

ひなたぼっこでも

していきませんか

そこにまあ すわって

お茶でも飲んで お話を

どんな話をしゃべりましょうか

日の出ずる国の明日の事でも・・・

 

散歩がてらに 歩きませんか

そこから 立ちあがって

服のすそでも はらって

どんなところを歩きましょうか

日の出ずる国の輝く道でも・・・

 

道のぬかるみ 入り日が映り

だまりこくる 夕焼けの午後

僕は一寸 笑うつもりです―

 

ここら辺りに住みつきませんか

あそこを ひきはらって

生で聞けるからカントリーミュージック

白い家でも見つけましょうか

日の出ずる丘に彼女と2人で

 

外の日溜り 枯木に埋まり

だまりこくる 家の中の午後

僕は一寸 だまるつもりです―

Don’t be shy

We could just sit here in this sunshine

We could put the kettle on

Talk about whatever we want

 Shall we talk about

What’s over the horizon

For me and you and everyone

And the land of the rising sun

Why don’t we go

Out, go for a stroll

Climb up over the hill

Just like Jack and Jill

Which path should we go down. we could go left or right, I don’t mind

Or follow that glistening one

On the road to the rising sun

 

And the mud on the path

Is shining just like glass

As the afternoon keeps quiet

And the sun just keeps on shining

I’m gonna let that time pass

The only plan I’ve got is to laugh

 

Why don’t we live around here

Mov outta that old place

Listen to the people play their country music, every day

 

find a house that’s white

Paint it any colour we might  like

Maybe we could find one

On the hill beneath the rising sun

Splashes of sunlight

Cover up the trees all dying

The afternoon’s still silent

Maybe we could stay inside

Sometimes it’s alright

To stay quiet

Hosono House Track Listing

1.”Rock-a-Bye My Baby” (ろっか・ばい・まい・べいびい Rokka Bai Mai Beibī)3:15

2.”Boku wa Chotto” (僕は一寸)3:52

3.”Choo Choo Gatagoto” (CHOO CHOO ガタゴト)3:25

4.”Owari no Kisetsu” (終わりの季節)3:12

5.”Fuyu Koe” (冬越え)3:15

6.”Party” (パーティー Pātī)2:02

7.”Fuku ha Uchi Oni ha Soto” (福は内 鬼は外)2:28

8.”Jūsho Futei Mushoku Teishūnyū” (住所不定無職低収入)2:35

9.”Koi wa Momoiro” (恋は桃色)2:47

10.”Rose and Beast” (薔薇と野獣 Bara to Yajū)4:24

11.”Aiaigasa” (相合傘)0:18

Hosono has also worked as a producer and collaborator with various artists, including the outrageously inventive Jun Togawa, who we have written about here.

Where To Listen to Hosono House?

Yellow Magic Orchestra Stuff

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Ponponpon Lyrics in English and Japanese

Ever wondered what the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Yasutaka Nakata’s PonPonPon lyrics are all about? I did too. So I’ve done translated the song into English. While I was at it I did a thorough research into the background of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Yasutaka Nakata, and the history of the song.

First of all here’s my translation, then you’ll find all the background info below.

Approx Japanese level

Themes

ぽんぽんぽん歌詞

Ponponpon Japanese Lyrics

あの交差点で みんながもしスキップをして
もしあの町の真ん中で 手をつないで空を見上げたら
もしもあの町のどこかで チャーンスが掴みたいのなら
まだ泣くのには早いよね ただ前に進むしかないは イヤ イヤ

 

 

 

ポンポン出して しまえばいいの
全然しないの つまらないでしょ?
ヘッドフォーンかけて リズムに乗せて
ウェイウェイ明けて 私の道を

 

 

ポンポン進む 色々のこと
どんどん聞いてる あなたの気持ち
ポイポイ捨てる 悪い子はだれ?
そうそういい子 アアYOU MAKE ME HAPPY!

EVERYDAY ポン!

EVERY TIME IS ポN!
MERRYーGOーROUND乗りたいの!
EVERYDAY ポン!
EVERY TIME IS ポN!
多分、そんなんじゃ だめでしょ・・・

ポンポン出して しまえばいいの
全然しないの つまらないでしょ?
ヘッドフォーンかけて リズムに乗せて
ウェイウェイ明けて 私の道を
ポン・ポン・ウェイ・ウェイ・ウェい
ポン・ポン・ウェイ・ポン・ウェイ・ポン・ポン
ウェイ・ウェい・ポン・ポン・ポン
ウェイ・ウェイ・ポン・ウェイ・ポン・ウェイ・ウェイ

ぽんぽんぽん英訳

Ponponpon English Lyrics

Tell me what it would be like
If everyone just started skipping round at the street lights
And won’t you tell me
Would it just be alright
If we all held hands and looked up at the sky
Right here in the middle of the busy city
Maybe there’s a chance right here for you and me
And don’t you think that maybe it’s too soon to cry
All we really can do is keep moving, you and I

Go go, oh my love, let it out, let it out
Don’t don’t keep it in, sing it loud, sing it loud
Put on those headphones and let the rhythm carry you
Clear clear the way, we’re coming through, we’re coming through

Keep, keep going on, whatever it is you want
Hear hear, hear that song, feel it coming on so strong
Throw throw it all away, if you’re the bad guy who’s to say?
The whole damn world is sad maybe
But you make me happy

Every day you’re gone
Every time you’re gone
riding on that merry go round
Every day I’m gone
Every time I’m gone
But listen out, can you hear that sound?

Keep, keep going on, whatever it is you want
Hear hear, hear that song, feel it coming on so strong

The Story of PonPonPon

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, PonPonPon and The Simpsons

Recently, I’ve come to use the Simpsons as a tool to measure fame. I needed to find a way of measuring notoriety when my son reached the age of 11 and became suddenly obsessed with wanting to know exactly how famous each musician he heard was. Let’s call it a “streaming media generation problem”. 

Concert attendance, youtube plays, Spotify monthly streams, there are a lot of ways you could measure something like that. But, I’ve found it’s simplest to use the metric of “They’re famous, but are they appear-on-The-Simpsons-famous”.

Though it is obviously a western-culture centric measure, one artist that qualifies as “appear on The Simpsons famous” is Japan’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Indeed, she was famous enough to soundtrack a love-montage scene of the character of comic book store owner geek Jeff, in a Simpsons episode from 2014. 

Now let’s contextualise this by saying Japanese musicians don’t have a strong history of crossing over to America. It has been more than half a century since a Japanese song has been number one on an American music chart. You have to go back to 1963’s ue wo muite aruko (bizarrely released under the title of Sukiyaki in the States) by Sakamoto Kyu. 

 

So the Simpsons nod to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is significant.

So how did Kyary make her way to the animated streets of Springfield from the anime saturated streets of Tokyo?

 

Early Years of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

In many ways, Kyary is one of those “plucked from the streets and catapulted to fame” stories we love to fetishise. Through the naughties, magazines featuring photos of people snapped on the streets, especially around the Harajuku district in Tokyo, were huge. The shots captured the outlandish outfits of the socially hoi paloi but fashionably ooh la la types. These glossies are testament to the explosion of color, creativity and kawaii cutesiness that spilt out like rainbow coloured acrylics across Japan at the time. 

Harajuku Cuteness

Cuteness has been a thing in Japan for a long long while, but in the naughties it was as if someone took all the pink, all the pouting, all the high pitch and cranked it, in the immortal words of Spinal Tap, up to 11. 

But it wasn’t just straight-out cuteness. It was cuteness put through a sausage grinder, twisted, manipulated, mixed with the grotesque, the aesthetic of the street, the plain ridiculous. It was pretty cute, but the cute wasn’t always pretty.

In some ways, there are even parallels with the Flower Power hippy movement of the 60s, which has sadly come to be thought of in retrospect as somewhat vacuous, naive, even facile, but which at the time was counter-cultural, courageous and deeply confronting. 

Though kawaii and Japanese decora is not as overtly political or heart-on-your sleeve let’s-change-the-world as the summer of love, there is something about a massively oversized glowing polka dot bow ribbon matched with, say a torn skull themed top and a riot of colour too-too below, which issues an aesthetic challenge all of its own. Cuteness was elevated to an artform.

Akamoji-kei 赤文字系 and Aomoji-Kei 青文字系 Japanese fashion

Kyaray Pamyu Pamyu is considered representative of the fashion style of Aomoji-kei.

Emoji-kei means “red letter style”. It refers to the magazines that are popular with female office workers that often had red lettering on their covers. Titles have included “JJ”, “CanCam”, “Vivi”, “Ray” and “JJ”. They are characterised by fashions that are more “aware of the male gaze” and more traditionally “feminine or cute in the eyes of men”.

To differentiate the fashion styles that were happening in Harajuku, the term “Aomoji-kei”, “blue letter style”, started to be used to refer to fashions that were less overly playing up to this male concept of female beauty. These fashions often introduced more boyish elements, such as street wear or trousers. They were less afraid to be “off-the-wall”, and brazenly colorful. 

It is ironic that Kyary, who in many ways is the poster child of “cuteness”, is also the poster child of a fashion movement that is actually associated with being less feminine or “cute”. Although Kyaray is undeniably interested in the idea of cuteness, it is not the sort of pure, male centric, cuteness that is characterised by Akamoji-kei.

There is a Japanese article with pictures here

Kyary Pamyu "Street Snaps"

The first key moment for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu personally was when she had her photo taken on the streets of Shinjuku in 2009 by the magazine Kera. From there, she would go on to appear regularly in street photos, in increasingly adventurous clothing, and later in more staged pics in magazines such as Zipper and HR. Her Cinderella story from street to weirdoid bubblegum idol, to full blown music-fashion monster had begun.

 

But in other ways, the street Cinderella narrative isn’t quite right. From the start, Kyary was also an auteur, a net based omni creator with a blog and a suite of social media channels. She was an influencer before that was even a thing. In 2010, while still in high school, her blog on the popular Ameblog platform had 2 million hits a day. This is the equivalent of your niece appearing at the academy awards every day after coming home from school.

 

When Kyary Pamyu Pamyu talked about, say, a certain lotion, or beauty cream, the manufacturers would notice a rise in sales. In 2012, her twitter account was ranked the number one celebrity account in Japan. She had her own online channel to publish her self produced videos. She even wrote a manifesto outlining her world view. She may have been a Cinderella with a glass shoe, but she was also a Cinderella with a self made online production apparatus.

 

 

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu meets Yasutaka Nakata

The 2nd key moment for Kyary came at a nightclub in 2010. She was still in her final year of high school but had already started DJing at clubs. It was there that she had a chance meeting with Yasutaka Nakata.

 

In her own words,  “I working as a DJ at the TAKENOKO, a club event for minors, and the organizers got Nakata Yasutaka to handle the production. I talked to him a number of times and in no time he started to handle my production. I first met him at the “Harajuku Style Collection”, and at that time he had black hair for some reason, so I didn’t recognize him. He often keeps me up to date with gourmet news. He is very knowledgeable and always has an answer for my questions. He is like a fun big brother to talk to. “

Yasutaka is perhaps the ultimate Faceless Man hitmaker of the Japanese music world. There are obvious parallels with a figure like Phil Spector in the sixties guiding a revolving door of mostly female singers to stardom, backed by signature walls of sound that tended to dwarf the sculpted pretty young things toplining the tunes out front.  

If anything, Nakata is more of a one-man-show than was Spector. Nakata generally does absolutely everything involved in the creation of a piece of music, he writes the song,  he writes the words, and then does all the engineering and production. 

Where Spector worked with the songwriting factory of the Brill building of New York, Yasutaka’s 1619 Broadway is in his own small personal studio consisting of a computer, a keyboard, and an embarrassingly small vocal booth around the size of a broom closet. Considering the sounds that come out of there, it is the musical equivalent of a Tardis. And rather than a revolving door, it’s probably more accurate to say that camp Nakata is more like an ever growing tent with a flap in a constant state of unzipping. 

 

The Tardis
Yasutaka Nakata's Studio

Many artists never leave the tent. His relationship working with the trio Perfume has seen him steer the group to hits across two decades. His production relationship with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has lasted several olympic game cycles. To mash up metaphors, Nakata’s tent is a tardis, and the Tardis is a Hotel California from which you can check out but never leave.

 

This is also testament to the fact that, in contrast to Spector, Yasutaka understands the first fundamental rule of showbiz, don’t shoot the talent.

 

About PonPonPon Lyrics

The song that we’re looking particularly at today, Pon Pon Pon, is a Nakata masterpiece. Or perhaps an abomination, depending on which way you look at. But that’s probably true of most things that make a bold statement. Visually, the video clip and aesthetic that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu brings is equally masterful.

The first thing that personally  struck me when I heard the song was the nonsensical refrain. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom may be one kind of genius, but it takes another kind altogether to craft pop gold out of two monosyllables, pon and wei. Though neither of these sounds strictly has any meaning, they are both rich in association. The sound “pon” in Japan is often used as an onomatopoeic word to describe something that is bursting or being struck and is actually similar enough in both sound and meaning to be something of a distant cousin of our own English word “pop”, separated as it is by a single alphabetic flick of the fingers. I smell a linguistic conspiracy. 

The other sound, “wei”, is related to the English word way, but is also close to the exclamatory sound “yay”, which has been incorporated into the Japanese vernacular sounding more like “iei” .This lends the wei a care-free fun vibe. 

The song lyrics themselves are a somewhat garbled take on the need for a person to find their own “way” in life. If only Frank Sinatra had lived long enough to put a version of this song into his set as a medley with “I did it my way”.  Surely, there’s a mash up waiting to happen. 

 

The lyrics certainly can’t be described as deep, but they can’t be written off as shallow either. Yes, the main protagonist in the song wants to skip through the streets, and ride on the merry-go-round, and get lost in whatever rhythms are drumming out of the headphones. But she is doing so to keep from crying, as a way of moving on. It is a song of radical defiance, a refusal of depression and a challenge to the listener to find a way to live with meaning in a meaningless world. A wei-pon wei-pon way.

In crafting my translation, I’ve reimagined the words somewhat in places, while trying to remain as true in spirit as I could.

There were some sections I just couldn’t bring myself not to mess with a little. Namely the somewhat ridiculous snippets of cultural appropriation that are the English sections , sections that you so often get in Japanese pop music. Probably the main offender is:

“Everyday is pon, every time is pon, I want to ride a Merry-go-round”.

These I’ve changed to more of a love related motif with, 

“every day you’re gone, every time you’re gone, riding on that merry-go-round”. 

In this context the merry-go-round becomes more of a metaphor for the hurl and burl of life.

Generally though, I’ve tried to keep things pretty close, whilst allowing for a singable, rhyming translation.

My Arrangement of PonPonPon

Musical arrangement-wise, I’ve aimed at a shadow image opposite of the original. Mine is dark. It’s acoustic. I tried to resist using anything electronic as much as I could, but I did allow myself the liberty of a little electric guitar. Creation process wise-it’s not dissimilar to Nakata’s original, in that it’s just me tinkering away from wo to go. Although, in a little suburban tin shed in albion, rather than in a high rise apartment in Tokyo.

I guess you could say I was trying to find my own way to wei pon wei.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Fashion Books

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Midnight Diner Theme Song Omoide by Tsunekichi Suzuki Translated and Explained

Today I present a translation into English of the opening theme song from Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories (Shinya Shokudo) soundtrack, Omoide, by Tsunekichi Suzuki. I give a background on the songwriter, translate the lyrics, present the song in Japanese and English, and give a commentary on the translation. But first thing’s first…

Who sings the theme song on Netflix Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories?

The opening song for Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories (深夜食堂 Shinya Shokudo) is the song Omoide 思ひで by Tsunekichi Suzuki. It was first released on his 2006 album ぜいご Zeigo.

Albums that Midnight Diner Theme Song Appears On:

Zeigo Tsunekichi Suzuki Album
Midnight Diner Soundtrack

Approx Japanese level

Themes

Background To Midnight Diner Song Omoide and Tsunekichi Suzuki

In 2015, Japanese singer-songwriter Tsunekichi Suzuki wrote on his blog about how he left his home country at the age of 61 to go on an adventure to China. The trip was one of a handful of international music tours he made in his life, a life which would end just five years later in 2020. 

Tsunekichi’s blog describes how, after a soundcheck for one of his Chinese tour dates he went to have a cigarette on the street and a youth waiting outside asked him “is this where Tsunekichi Suzuki is playing tonight?”

Tsunekichi told him it was. The young person asked “is Tsunekichi Suzuki famous in Japan, like he is in China?”

Tsunekichi just mumbled ineffectually. He didn’t really know what to say.

Later, on his blog, Tsunekichi said “I should have just told the young man straight out, no Tsunekichi Suzuki is not famous in Japan…None of the people waiting outside the gig knew it was me they had come to see. I thought it had been suspicious when people told me I was popular in China”.

Tsunekichi Suzuki and Midnight Diner

But the truth is, he had become kind of big in China, and in Korea, and in several other countries to boot. He had achieved this level of international notoriety because of a TV show called Shinya Shokudo in Japan but you may know the show by it’s Netflix international release name “Midnight Diner”.  Midnight Diner uses several of his songs in its soundtrack . If you don’t know the show, it’s set in a wood-paneled Tokyo bar, that caters to a midnight to morning clientele of colourful fringe dwellers.  The show opens with a long sequence of the bright downtown lights of Tokyo, sans street noise. The footage is strikingly off-set to Tsunekichi’s gentle acoustic Irish Folk influenced song “Omoide” or Remembrance.  This was the proverbial 2nd wind for the singer. A significant time had passed since Tsunekichi had first experienced a fairly short, but intense, few weeks in the national spotlight in 1989. His band, Cement Mixers, had appeared on the TV show “Ikasu Bando Tengoku”. They sounded like this:

Tsunekichi Suzuki & Cement Mixers on Ikaten (いかすバンド天国)

The TV show’s title Ikasu Bando Tengoku いかすバンド天国 translates as “Cool Band Heaven”, and it was kind of like bandstand meets battle of the bands meets eurovision, but read right to left, Japanese style. 

This show was a phenomenon in Japan and coincided with what came to be known as the バンドブーム “Band Boom”, where young groups playing guitars wrested prominence for a time from the studio manufactured “idols” that dominated the charts of the second biggest music market in the world. 

The Ikasu Bando Tengoku show even got it’s own shortened nickname いかてん“Ikaten”, which had particular out of left field resonance with the word “Ikaten” also meaning “Deep fried Tempura Squid”. Many of the bands grew out of the 歩行者天国Hokosha Tengoku “pedestrian paradice” scene of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district where 100s of bands would perform on the street on the weekends. This scene had its own nickname too, the “Hoten”. The two “tens” Ikaten and Hoten became inexorably entwined. Now all the record indie execs had to do to scout their next big thing was to take a trip down to the swinging parklands of Tokyo and literally pick a band off the street.

The whole thing didn’t last though, because the good residents of Harajuku didn’t take so well to their neighbourhood becoming a default outdoor live band arena where the music and wacky fashion raged 24/7. The Ikaten program was taken off the air at the end of 1990 and the bands were largely turfed out of the streets of Harajuku. In 1991, the bubble of the Japanese economic post war miracle came to an end and ushered in what is now known as the 失われた10年 “Ushinawareta 10 nen”, or the lost decade.

You can watch a 2007 television program looking back at the Ikaten program here:

Post-Ikaten Tsunekichi 

It seems Tsunekichi’s hopes of superstardom were also lost somewhere along with those ten years, after his band released one album on a major label, to some critical acclaim, and promptly broke up. He formed another band つれれこ社中Tsurereko Shachu, which managed to release one album later that decade, in 1997. Tsunekichi wasn’t to reappear greatly in the public consciousness again until his 2006 solo album ぜいご Zeigo, which was lauded by one of the songwriters I’ve translated here in the past 高田渡 Wataru Takada. The album was ultimately picked up to form the raw materials of the soundtrack to the Midnight Diner tv show many have now watched on Netflix around the world.

Omoide’s 18th Century Irish Folk Origins

One of the strange circularities of this story is that the song Omoide, featured in the opening scenes, is itself based on an 18th century folk song from another island people half way across the world. It is essentially a re-working of the catchily, and perhaps pastorally racily, titled  Irish folk song “A pretty girl milking her cow”. Judy Garland made the song world famous by singing it in the 1940 movie “Little Nellie”.

A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow Lyrics

The English version is attributed to Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

It was on a fine summer’s morning

The birds sweetly tune on each bough

And as I walked out for my pleasure

I saw a maid milking a cow

Her voice was so enchanting, melodious

Left me quite unable to go

My heart, it was loaded with sorrow

For the pretty maid milking her cow

Then to her I made my advances

“Good morrow most beautiful maid

Your beauty my heart so entrances”

“Pray sir do not banter,” she said

“I’m not such a rare precious jewel

That I should enamour you so

I am but a poor little milk girl,”

Says the pretty maid milking her cow

The Indies afford no such jewel

So bright, so transparently clear

I do not add things to my funeral

Consent but to know me my dear

Oh, had I the Lamp of Aladdin

Or the wealth that gold mines can bestow

I’d rather be poor in a cottage

With the pretty girl milking her cow.

An interesting aside about this song for Australians is that this song was apparently sung by Jack Jones,  teenage son of Anne Jones the publican of the Glenrowan Inn (Victoria, Australia) while it was under siege by the famous Ned Kelly Gang bushrangers.

Tsunekichi’s reworking of the Irish tune

Tsunekichi gives the song about girls milking cows a much more ethereal feel, and an ephemeral theme. Here it becomes a Japanese musing on the impermanent nature of things, as the song’s protagonist muses on such questions as what becomes of a breath once it is exhaled, and if you pierce through the sky and the clouds, do you find another sky and clouds waiting there beyond?

I’ll let you ponder those questions as you listen to these Japanese and English versions of the song Omoide, or “Remembrance”.

Omoide Lyrics and Translation

君が吐いた白い息が
kimiga ha i ta shiroi i kiga
今ゆっくり風に乗って
ima yuku ri kazo notte
空に浮かぶ雲の中に
sorani ukabu kumo no nakani
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku

遠く高い空の中で
tōku takai sorono naka de
手を伸ばす白い雲
tewo no ba su shiroi kumo
君が吐いた息を吸って
kimiga ha i ta ikio sute
ぽっかりと浮かんでる
pok karito ukan deru
ずっと昔のことのようだね

zutto mukashino kotono yō da ne
川面の上を雲が流れる
kawa mono u e o kumo ga naga re ru
照り返す日差しを避けて
teri kae su hizashi o sa ke te
軒下に眠る犬
noki shita ni memoru i nu
思い出もあの 空の中に
omo i de mo a no sora no nakani
少しづつ消えてゆく

sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku
この空の向こう側には
ko no sorano mukō-gawa ni wa
もうひとつの青い空
mō hitotsu no aoi sora
誰もいない空の中に
daremo i na i sorano nakate
ぽっかりと浮かぶ雲
pok karito ukanbu kumo
ずっと昔のことのようだね
zutto mukashino kotono yō da ne
川面の上を雲が流れる
kawa mono u e o kumo ga naga re ru

君が吐いた白い息が

 

kimiga ha i ta shiroi i kiga
今ゆっくり風に乗って
ima yuku ri kazo notte
空に浮かぶ雲の中に
sorani u ka bu kumo no nakani
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku

See your pale breath floating over there

As it slowly drifts off in the air

See it billow into the clouds in the sky

And vanish before your eyes

See the white clouds reaching out there hands

In the sky so far above the land

Breathing in the air you breathed out

Rolling on, Rolling On, Rolling On

And do you remember

The clouds streaming by ‘bove the river?

And didn’t they look just like this?

Or maybe my mind plays tricks

And do you remember the glaring sun

And the dog sleeping there ‘neath the eaves

And all of these memories

Fade into the sky as they leave

On the other side of the sky

There’s another sky there so blue

There’s not a single soul or a sound

But there’s a rolling, rolling cloud

And do you remember

The clouds streaming by ‘bove the river?

And didn’t they look just like this?

Or maybe my mind plays tricks

See your pale breath floating over there

As it slowly drifts off in the air

See it billow into the clouds in the sky

And vanish before your eyes

And vanish before your eyes

What is Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo?

Shinya Shokudo is originally a Manga. It has appeared in the Big Comic Original in serialized form since 2006. It was later turned into serialised and movie screen adaptations.

Where Can I Read Shinya Shokudo in English?

Many editions of the comic have been translated here on the Internet Archive.

Where can you buy shinya Shokudo Comics?

Shinya Shokudo are available in the original Japanese from Amazon Japan here.

Where Can You Watch Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo?

You can watch Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories on Netflix, or you can buy it out right on Bluray here:

Are there Midnight Diner Cook Books?

There’s not an official Midnight Diner Cook Book available at the moment, but there are several books that feature similar recipes:

Or if you can read Japanese you could try these:

Hungry for Midnight Diner Merch?

Cool, a t-shirt of the sign on the Midnight Diner restaurant ”めしや” “Meshiya”, which is a colloquial term for “restaurant”. Simple & understated. Nice.

Or give the Midnight Master some love.

I’ve also done manga & anime related translations/investigations of songs such as Gurenge from Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba, and Laputa Castle in The Sky Theme Song or visit my Youtube channel here.

Like Current Japanese Culture? I translate Japanese Social Media:

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Graded Japanese Reading & Listening Practice

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A Japanese essay read in Japanese and English. The essay by, Inazo Inamoto, uses Tokyo Tower to examine the difference between seeing from a far and getting up close, and argues that getting up close wins.
In today’s age of information gluts, and gluttony, where to “know” something is to say that you once googled it and scanned the the top 3 search result headlines, the essay argues the case for deeper experiential learning.
日本語と英語で読まれた日本のエッセイ。

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Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Translating Kiyoshiro Imawano’s Slow Ballad

Kiyoshiro Imawano, King of Japanese Rock

Many musicians have been appointed as rulers of a given musical domain. Sinatra was the chairman, Elvis was the King, Bowie was the Duke, Springteen the boss, and there have been many more fathers and godfathers than there have been mothers and godmothers similarly anointed to go around.

Well, other countries have their own musical monarchs too. Japan may be lorded over by an Emperor, but realm of rhythm is ruled by a King of Rock. His name is Kiyoshiro Imawano and he inhabits are persona somewhere between Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Van Morrison.

 

Today I’ve translated his song “Slow Ballad”, which was released as the 6th single for Kiyoshiro’s band RC Succession.

Approx Japanese level

Themes

About RC Succession's "Slow Ballad"

The song is a meta-power ballad about a young man hearing a slow song on the radio while he’s sleeping in the car with his girlfriend. Slow Ballad has a soul feel that would not sound out of place sung by, say, Otis Redding, replete with horns provided by American group Tower Of Power, who happened to be touring in Japan around the time the song was recorded. But the song is made by Kiyoshiro’s passionately, impained, rasp of a vocal that is on the edge, often over the edge, of losing control. 

Nicholson Baker once wrote that to write a poem all you have to do is describe the most significant moment of your day. Slow Ballad is right on cue. Kiyoshiro’s moment is of two people on a frigid night, in a municipal car park, in a sedan, wrapped in a blanket sleeping while the tunes play. The strength of the song is in the fact that it never tries to break out of the instant. And yet, you still get the sense that the moment is part of some larger inexorable, and most probably darker, pulse of time. 

Released six years after the band’s first single, Slow Ballad appeared at a time when few people were buying the band’s music or coming to shows. And it would not be until the release of their 9th single another four years later that the band would see large-scale success. Kiyoshiro himself would ultimately go on to eclipse the band and have cross-over mainstream success another two years later after collaborating with Ryuichi Sakomoto on the track Ikenai Rouge Magic.

 

 

But the song Slow Ballad has lodged itself in the popular consciousness of Japan, as a record of the humbler and leaner days of the man who would go on to become rock royalty. From the municipal ground car park, kiyoshiro would claim his own country’s mantle of the King of Rock, and take his own throne at the table of the international council of dionysian lords of song.

Lyrics

昨日はクルマの中で寝た
あの娘と手をつないで
市営グランドの駐車場
二人で毛布にくるまって
 
カーラジオからスローバラード
夜露が窓をつつんで
悪い予感のかけらもないさ

あの娘のねごとを聞いたよ
ほんとさ 確かに聞いたんだ
 
カーラジオからスローバラード
夜露が窓をつつんで
悪い予感のかけらもないさ
ぼくら夢を見たのさ
とってもよく似た夢を

Last night I slept in a car
Hand in hand with a girl neath the stars
In the carpark at the municipal ground
With a warm warm blanket wrapped around us

And the radio played a balad so slow
As the night dew shimmered on the wind screen window
And I didn’t have a single bad feeling no no

And I tell you I heard her talk in her sleep
But what she said is a secret I’m gonna take with me
And the radio played a balad so slow
As the night dew shimmered on the wind screen window
And I didn’t have a single bad feeling no no
And the two of us dreamed a dream
So alike, that just one it may well have been

 

Japanese Essay Tokyo Tower

A Japanese essay read in Japanese and English. The essay by, Inazo Inamoto, uses Tokyo Tower to examine the difference between seeing from a far and getting up close, and argues that getting up close wins.
In today’s age of information gluts, and gluttony, where to “know” something is to say that you once googled it and scanned the the top 3 search result headlines, the essay argues the case for deeper experiential learning.
日本語と英語で読まれた日本のエッセイ。

Read More »

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。