Kaga ~Japanese birthday song~


This is a sudden question, but I have a question.
What is the standard birthday song that Japanese people sing to celebrate their birthday?

98 out of 100 people will answer,
"Happy Birthday to You"! and.

Happy birthday to you~
Happy birthday to you~
Happy birthday, dear 〇〇chan~
Happy birthday to you♪

As you can see, the lyrics are in English.
But the lyrics and melody are simple. Even children can sing.
Perhaps for this reason, it has been registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most sung song in the world, and is considered a standard birthday song not only in Japan but around the world.

By the way, this great celebratory song "Happy Birthday to You".
Did you know that it's a parody song?

The original song is "Good Morning to All," which was written and composed by American sisters Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill.
Somehow, it became a worldwide birthday song.
If the lyricist/composer is known, the work is naturally copyrighted and has a protection period.
The lyrics of "Happy Birthday to You" were protected by copyright until 1999, and the melody until 2007, and originally it could not be sung without permission.
※Detail isWikipediaPlease refer to the

What I want to talk about this time is not "Happy Birthday to You was actually a parody song!"
Is there a birthday song by Japanese people for Japanese people? is.

By the way, Kudan's "Happy Birthday to You" has Japanese lyrics written by Toshio Oka.
But let's leave aside the existence of this song for now.
Quiet topic...

Is there an authentic Japanese birthday song?

Of course!
Yes, in our Kokin Wakashu.

Audio distribution of this article “21st Waka Birthday Song Special Feature!”
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The Kokin Wakashu has a section called ``Kaka''.
It contains 22 celebratory songs, of which 17 are clearly recognizable as birthday songs.

348 “Chihayafuru, the gods are cut down, and the slope of Chitose is also a voiceless one” (Henaki)
This birthday song was sung by Hensho at his aunt's birthday party at Kokoin.
This birthday party, according to the lyrics, was my aunt's 80-year-old birthday party. It is said that the average lifespan for a woman in the Heian period was just under 30 years old, so my aunt has a very long life.

347 “Hide it, in any case, leave it to you or Yachiyo” (Kokoin)
This song is an exceptional birthday song. This is because the ruler at the time, Kokoin, sings to his vassal (Henaki) with a lot of emotion, saying things like, ``I want to live forever and see your life in Yachiyo.''
Status and status no longer matter. This is a serious birthday song.
Hensho must have been overwhelmed with emotion when he received the song.

355 “Even the cranes and turtles, after a thousand years, leave it to their dying hearts without knowing it.” (Shigeharu Arihara)
A crane and a turtle appeared, and what a blessing it was.

357 “The heart that celebrates the eternal life while gathering young greens in Kasugano is a god-like soul” (Nature)
As you can see from the three poems above, it is standard for waka birthday songs to include long years in the form of ``Chiyo'' and ``Yachiyo.''
In this song, we finally reached "Yorozu". By the way, ``Yahoyorozu'' is written above it.
By the way, the number "eight" has the meaning of "very many." In addition to songs, there is also a name called ``Oedo 808 Towns.''

349 “The cherry blossoms are fading or fading, and the path of old age is coming” (Narihira Ariwara)
As expected of Rokukasen, Narihira Ariwara. Your personality shines through in your birthday song.
Instead of singing the classic Chiyo and Yachiyo, he says that ``Cherry blossoms scatter!'' is not a good omen, and sums it up beautifully by saying, ``Let's hide the way we are getting old.'' That's a great sense.

343 “My lord, for a thousand and eight thousand generations, will become a rock of ripples and a child of moss” (Yomito Shirazu)
This song...
There is no need to explain it, this is the song that became the basis of the national ``Kimigayo''.
By the way, there are no lyrics in the Kokin Wakashu, and even readers do not know about them. Due to such uncertainties, issues such as the singing of the national anthem are sometimes brought into question.
However, this song is also one of the auspicious birthday songs. Let's take it seriously.
→Related article “Who are you? ~Kimigayo and collection of ancient and modern waka poems~

Well, did you enjoy this birthday song by Japanese people for Japanese people?
From now on, instead of saying “Happy birthday, dear 〇〇-chan~”,
Let's go with "Chise ni Yachiyo XX-chan~" or "XX-chan's Yachiyo ni Afuyoshi Mogana~"♪

(Written by Uchida Engaku, a poet)

Learn the basics of waka poetry and try reciting it!

We are holding a "Utajuku" with the goal of learning from representative classical works and being able to compose traditional "Waka" on an individual basis!

季刊誌「和歌文芸」
令和六年冬号(Amazonにて版販売中)

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