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Best Japanese Song of All Time

July 12, 2010

Best Japanese Song Ever

Song: 川の流れのように (Kawa no nagare no yō ni, Like the Flow of the River)
Singer: Hibari Misora
Music: Akira Mitake
Lyrics: Yasushi Akimoto

  • Released on January 11, 1989. Hibari Misora passed away in June of the same year.
  • Voted the greatest Japanese song of all time in an NHK poll in 1997 (n=17 million people)
  • Taught to every high school music student in the country
  • It is often the song of choice for artists performing live tributes to Misora (Placido Domingo’s version)

Lyrics

知らず知らず 歩いてきた
細く長い この道
振り返れば 遥か遠く
故郷が見える
でこぼこ道や 曲がりくねった道
地図さえない それもまた人生
ああ 川の流れのように ゆるやかに
いくつも 時代は過ぎて
ああ 川の流れのように とめどなく
空が黄昏に 染まるだけ

生きることは 旅すること
終わりのない この道
愛する人 そばに連れて
夢 探しながら
雨に降られて ぬかるんだ道でも
いつかは また 晴れる日が来るから
ああ 川の流れのように おだやかに
この身を まかせていたい
ああ 川の流れのように 移り行く
季節 雪どけを待ちながら

ああ 川の流れのように おだやかに
この身を まかせていたい
ああ 川の流れのように いつまでも
青いせせらぎを 聞きながら

Shirazu shirazu aruite kita
Hosoku nagai kono michi
Furi kaereba haruka to’oku
Furusato ga mieru
Dekoboko michi ya magariku netta michi
Chizu saenai sore mo mata jinsei
A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, yuruyaka ni
Ikutsu mo jidai wa sugite
A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, tomedonaku
Sora ga tasogare ni somaru dake

Ikiru koto wa tabi suru koto
Owari no nai kono michi
Ai suru hito soba ni tsurete
Yume sagashi nagara
Ame ni furarete nukurunda michi de mo
Itsu ka wa, mata, hareru hi ga kuru kara
A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, odayaka ni
Kono mi o makasete itai
A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, utsuri yuku
Kisetsu yukidoke o machi nagara

A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, odayaka ni
Kono mi o makasete itai
A-a, kawa no nagare no yô ni, itsu made mo
Aoi seseragi o kiki nagara

Unauthorized English translation by sekicho (lawyer in Tokyo):

There are no personal pronouns in the song, so I’ve interpreted it as meaning “we.” It could just as easily be referring to the singer or the listener. Be advised.

This road is narrow and long
We’ve walked it unconsciously
If we turn our heads, far in the distance
We can see our hometown
Bumpy roads and winding roads
And uncharted roads, c’est la vie
Ah, like the flow of the river, laid back
So many years pass by
Ah, like the flow of the river, endlessly
The sky is dyed with twilight

Living is traveling
On this road without an end
People we love come near us
As we search for our dreams
Even on roads muddied by rain
Someday, again, another clear day will come
Ah, like the flow of the river, calmly
We want to lose ourselves
Ah, like the flow of the river
As we wait for the thaws of the coming seasons

Ah, like the flow of the river, calmly
We want to lose ourselves
Ah, like the flow of the river, forever
As we listen to the stream of blue

Sources

Hibari Misora (Wiki)
Kawa no nagare no yo ni (Everything2)
Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni (Wiki)
Kawa no Nagare no You ni 川の流れのように (Song House)

Related Posts:

Japan
Japanese Music

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7 comments

  1. Not bad, nice lyrics, but I prefer Zetsubou Billy by Maximum the Hormone :)


  2. For some mysterious reason, this song reminds me of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.


    • Oh, that’s an interesting association! I might have forgotten what other compositions were present in Ponyo because the main song erased everything else – it is so addictive and pervasive! :P


  3. Wonderful song … truly wonderful … thanks a lot for sharing this one ^_^

    I really like the nostalgic feeling this song gave me … i can say i really miss the “japan” of those times (namely the 80′s and early 90′s) .. at least studio Ghibli still carriers the scent of those wonderful days … but it’s sad that beautiful songs like these aren’t common any more with the explosion of j-pop these days.


    • You are welcome, I am glad you liked it :)

      Yes, I also feel the same way…


  4. Nice song. Thanks for sharing:) Talking about the list you cited, do you know what other songs are in that top 10 list?


    • You are welcome :)

      Unfortunately, I don’t know what other songs were in that list.



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