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Sometimes, men and women are born.
Out of season, like the winter cicadas.
Yet if those cicadas,
without lamenting their brief time,
devoted themselves to singing,
no one would say that they lied.

Though one may call it a dream,
that wanders withered fields,
someday it will come true.
Ah, life is life,
and dreams are dreams.
Where will they bloom,
ask the wind.


This is a Japanese song from the anime, Fuyu no Semi (Winter Cicadas), sung in Morikawa Toshiyuki’s Β gorgeous voice.

Every time I hear it, it evokes such beautiful imagery and profoundΒ emotion somewhere deep with in me. It is one of my all time favorites.

This translation is by the group,Β Aarin Fantasy. Thank you for translating this treasure. I’ve tweaked it slightly to get the meaning across.

Song

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12 thoughts on “Winter Cicadas

  1. Beautiful lyrics!

    I don’t know how much Japanese you know, but poetically or lyrically interpreting between Japanese and English isn’t easy for a number of reasons — some of which are cultural. I’ve written a bit about this here.

    More of a psychedelic rocker. But in the genre, I like Origa’s singing of Yoko Kanno’s, “Moon” (though there are some intentionally un-translatable lyrics). Also Kenji Kawai’s neo-traditional, “Reincarnation” (I have a translation posted somewhere in here) and “Voyage to Avalon”… Heavenly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Feel free to delete this if it’s a nuisance — no worries. Despite being a native, I’m not a native speaker. Japanese is a recovered language for me, and I frequently have to look up kanji when reading.

        Kenji Kawai’s, “Reincarnation,” uses passages from an old wedding song in some traditional vocalizations. Very beautifully Japanese to me, and the soloist brings tears. Below are the words, translated, but not really interpreted. In the film, the marriage is implied as the conjoining of a person’s soul to her body.

        The first line are the words written in traditional Japanese. The second line is phonetic in hiragana for the kanji pronunciations. Third is phonetic in romaji (you can follow the singing). The fourth line is my own so-so translation — it lacks some of the implied meanings of Japanese, but it beats Google. Ja mata! (-_^)

        Reincarnation (Kanji Kawai)

        εΎγŒθˆžγΈγ°γ€ιΊ—γ—ε₯³γ€ι…”γ²γ«γ‘γ‚Šγ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚γŒγΎγΈγ°γ€γγ―γ—γ‚γ€γ‚‘γ²γ«γ‘γ‚Šγ€‚οΌ‰
        A ga maeba, kuwashime yoinikeri.
        Because I had danced, the beautiful lady was enchanted.

        εΎγŒθˆžγΈγ°γ€η…§γ‚‹ζœˆγ€ιŸΏγ‚€γͺγ‚Šγ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚γŒγΎγΈγ°γ€γ¦γ‚‹γ€γγ€γ¨γ‚ˆγ‚€γͺγ‚Šγ€‚οΌ‰
        A ga maeba, terutsuki toyomunari.
        Because I had danced, the shining moon echoed.

        η΅ε©šγ«γ€η₯žγ€ε€©δΈ‹γ‚Šγ¦γ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚ˆγ°γ²γ«γ€γ‹γΏγ€γ‚γΎγγ γ‚Šγ¦γ€‚οΌ‰
        Yobai ni, kami amakudarite.
        Proposing marriage, the god shall descend.

        ε€œγ―ζ˜Žγ‘γ€ι΅Ίι³₯、鳴く。
        οΌˆγ‚ˆγ―γ‚γ‘γ€γ¬γΈγ¨γ‚Šγ€γͺく。)
        Yo wa ake, nuedori naku.
        The night clears to dawn and the thrush will sing.

        εΎγŒθˆžγΈγ°γ€ιΊ—γ—ε₯³γ€ι…”γ²γ«γ‘γ‚Šγ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚γŒγΎγΈγ°γ€γγ―γ—γ‚γ€γ‚‘γ²γ«γ‘γ‚Šγ€‚οΌ‰
        A ga maeba, kuwashime yoinikeri.
        Because I had danced, the beautiful lady was enchanted.

        εΎγŒθˆžγΈγ°γ€η…§γ‚‹ζœˆγ€ιŸΏγ‚€γͺγ‚Šγ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚γŒγΎγΈγ°γ€γ¦γ‚‹γ€γγ€γ¨γ‚ˆγ‚€γͺγ‚Šγ€‚οΌ‰
        A ga maeba, terutsuki toyomunari.
        Because I had danced, the shining moon echoed.

        η΅ε©šγ«γ€η₯žγ€ε€©δΈ‹γ‚Šγ¦γ€‚
        οΌˆγ‚ˆγ°γ²γ«γ€γ‹γΏγ€γ‚γΎγγ γ‚Šγ¦γ€‚οΌ‰
        Yobai ni, kami amakudarite.
        Proposing marriage, the god shall descend.

        ε€œγ―ζ˜Žγ‘γ€ι΅Ίι³₯、鳴く。
        οΌˆγ‚ˆγ―γ‚γ‘γ€γ¬γΈγ¨γ‚Šγ€γͺく。)
        Yo wa ake, nuedori naku.
        The night clears to dawn and the thrush will sing.

        遠η₯žζ΅θ³œγ€‚
        οΌˆγ¨γ»γ€γ‹γΏγ€γ‚‘γΏγ€γŸγ‚γ€‚οΌ‰
        Toh kami, emi tame.
        A distant god’s precious blessing!

        遠η₯žζ΅θ³œγ€‚
        οΌˆγ¨γ»γ€γ‹γΏγ€γ‚‘γΏγ€γŸγ‚γ€‚οΌ‰
        Toh kami, emi tame.
        A distant god’s precious blessing!

        遠η₯žζ΅θ³œγ€‚
        οΌˆγ¨γ»γ€γ‹γΏγ€γ‚‘γΏγ€γŸγ‚γ€‚οΌ‰
        Toh kami, emi tame.
        A distant god’s precious blessing!

        Liked by 1 person

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