"Sakura Sakura" (さくら さくら?, "Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms"), also known as "Sakura", is a traditional Japanesefolk 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. 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.
The original lyrics 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.
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!
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.
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.
In 2013 Marc Edwards recorded an album featuring 3 20 minute versions of Sakura Sakura, in a free jazz electric guitar style.
BABYMETAL used a part of "sakura, sakura" in their song "Megitsune" which was released on June 19, 2013.
Cat Stevens used the melody of "Sakura Sakura" at the intro in the live version of his "Hard Headed Woman" song, during his 1976 Earth Tour that was later released on his album and DVD entitled Majikat.
A techno dance remix of "Sakura Sakura", titled simply "桜" ("Sakura"), was created for the Konami game Beatmania IIDX and later appeared in the DDR series from Dance Dance Revolution Extreme onwards. It was attributed to RevenG, a pseudonym used by Konami composer Naoki Maeda for songs with an ethnic Asian feel.
The rock band Thrice used an altered version of the melody of Sakura Sakura in their song 'Music Box' which appeared in their fourth album Vheissu, released in 2005.
The song is in the Tamagotchi Music Star as an Asian-genre song.
An extract from the song was also used as part of Piston Honda's fight introduction in the NES game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!.
In 2012, the second verse was sung by the android 'Kara' in a trailer made by Quantic Dream to demonstrate their motion capture technology.
A part of the melody can be heard on the campaign map of the Total War: Shogun 2 strategy video game.