Sakura Sakura

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This article is about the Japanese folk song. For the Japanese visual novel of the same name, see Sakura Sakura (visual novel).
Score of "Sakura"
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"Sakura Sakura" (さくら さくら?, "Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms"), also known as "Sakura", is a traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring, the season of cherry blossoms. Contrary to popular belief, the song did not originate in ancient times; it was a popular, urban melody of the Edo period and was adopted as a piece for beginning koto students in the Tokyo Academy of Music Collection of Japanese Koto Music issued in 1888 (in English) by the Department of Education.[1] The song has been popular since the Meiji period, and the lyrics in their present form were attached then. It is often sung in international settings as a song representative of Japan.

In 2007, it was selected for Nihon no Uta Hyakusen, a collection of songs and nursery rhymes widely beloved in Japan.

Melody[edit]

The "Sakura Sakura" melody uses a pentatonic scale known as the Japanese mode. This could also be construed as natural minor in western musical theory, using scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 (A, B, C, E, F or Do, Re, Me, Sol, and Le in solfège).

Lyrics[edit]

The original lyrics[2] are listed as the second verse. In 1941, the Japanese Ministry of Education published an additional verse in Uta no hon (うたのほん 教師用 下), listing it first before the original verse.[3]

StandardHiraganaRomajiTranslation

桜 桜
野山も里も
見渡す限り
霞か雲か
朝日に匂う
桜 桜
花ざかり

桜 桜
弥生の空は
見渡す限り
霞か雲か
匂いぞ 出ずる
いざや いざや
見に行かん

さくら さくら
のやま も さと も
みわたす かぎり
かすみ か くも か
あさひ に におう
さくら さくら
はな ざかり

さくら さくら
やよい の そら は
みわたす かぎり
かすみ か くも か
におい ぞ いずる
いざや いざや
みに ゆかん

sakura sakura
noyama mo sato mo
mi-watasu kagiri
kasumi ka kumo ka
asahi ni niou
sakura sakura
hana zakari


sakura sakura
yayoi no sora wa
mi-watasu kagiri
kasumi ka kumo ka
nioi zo izuru
izaya izaya
mini yukan

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
In fields and villages
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the morning sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Flowers in full bloom.

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the spring sky,
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the air.
Come now, come now,
Let's look, at last!

Variations[edit]

Dream of the Cherry Blossoms by Keiko Abe, a virtuoso percussionist, is a five-minute piece for marimba. This piece is based on "Sakura Sakura" and has become popular in the marimba repertoire. Yukihiro Yoko, a classical guitarist, made an arrangement for his instrument, a theme with variations, in which he uses different guitar techniques to imitate the sound of the koto.[citation needed]

Alfred Reed's Fifth Symphony "Sakura" is based on this folk song.

Because the melody spans a modest range, it is ideally suited to instruments that have a limited pitch range, such as the Native American Flute.[4]

In 2013 Marc Edwards recorded an album featuring 3 20 minute versions of Sakura Sakura, in a free jazz electric guitar style.[5][6][7]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tsuge Gen'ichi. Sakura. International Shakuhachi Society website.
  2. ^ Tokyo Academy of Music, Collection of Koto Music 東京音楽学校編 「箏曲集」 Tōkyō ongaku gakkō hen, Sōkyokushū. Tokyo, Japan. 1888. 
  3. ^ Uta no hon, kyōiku-yō, ge 「うたのほん 教師用 下」 (Book of Songs, Volume 2, for Educational Use). Tokyo, Japan: Monbushō (文部省). 1941. 
  4. ^ Clint Goss (2011). "Sakura Sakura - Sheet music for the Native American Flute". Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  5. ^ "Sakura Sakura (3 variations) | Marc Edwards". Marcedwards.bandcamp.com. 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  6. ^ Applegate, Grego (2014-04-17). "Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog: avant free psychedelic metal jazz rock". Gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  7. ^ "DogAndPanda Records". Dogandpanda.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 

External links[edit]