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Διογένη Γαλήνη
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21.05.2012

Πέμπτη, 1 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

MISSING A FRIEND - 人を戀ふる歌 -



                                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?



人を戀ふる歌 (Hito o kouru uta) was written by Yosano Tekkan (1873-1935) and the original composer is unknown. Tekkan is known as a publisher who organized modern Tanka poets in late Meiji period. His wife Yosano Akiko is one of the most famous modern Tanka poets.

Hito o kouru uta is a long poem in 16 stanzas. One stanza consists of four lines and 7-5-7-5-7-5-7-5 sound units phrases[1]. This video shows you the first four stanzas of it. As you know, Haiku consists of 5-7-5 syllables(or moras) and Tanka consists of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables(moras). 5-7(or 7-5) sound units phrases are pleasant to the ear of Japanese. You could easily find this pattern not only in Japanese classical literature but even in today's popular songs in Japan.

The lyrics of this song isn't about the romance between men and women but about men's friendship. This lyrics express romanticism, desire for a stormy life and machismo that is based on traditional bushido spirit, while the tune restrains emotional expression. This song was very popular with adolescents when it was published. Young guys at that time used to gather to drink, sing this song to express their passion.

I don't know if my poor English translation as follows might help you to appreciate this song. Better than nothing. And you could freely replace these literal phrases with your own poetical phrases.

* * * * *

The song of missing a friend
by Yosano Tekkan, 1899

If you marry someone, choose a woman
Who is clever, beautiful and has mercy.
If you make a friend, choose a man
Who reads books, has some passion and more manly spirit.

Thinking about love,
I'd rather regard my honor highly as a man.
Thinking about friendship,
I'd throw myself into the risk for a just cause.

Come, fill the cup of sake!
Songbird has guts, which girls never have.
Being only a young desk worker,
I can see a veritable man inside of you.

Ah I don't have talent as Coleridge[2] has.
I don't have passion as Byron[3] or Heine[4] have.
I don't care, however, for the spirit of Bashō[5]
Who might love inanimate stones and compose poems in the wilds.

* * * * *

Lastly, as to my song, I know I'm not a good singer. But I couldn't find a proper singer nearby and uh.. well.. I wanted to sing. Any complaints?

moheji

Notes :
[1] The last line of the last stanza of this lyrics is 7-7 just like Tanka.
[2] Samuel Taylor Coleridge(1772-1834)
[3] George Gordon Byron(1788-1824)
[4] Heinrich Heine(1797-1856)
[5] Matsuo Bashō(1644-1694)

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