Obokuri Eeumi おぼくり ええうみ (from the anime: Samurai Champloo) by Ikue Asazaki 朝崎郁恵

This is a traditional folk song by Japanese folk singer and legend from Kagoshima, Ikue Asazaki 朝崎郁恵 entitled: Obokuri Eeumi おぼくり ええうみ, (Obtain Our Bearings). The song proved to be quite popular amongst anime fans the world over after it was featured in one of the most touching scenes (scene #14) in the anime Samurai Champloo サムライチャンプルー . The anime television series was broadcast from May 2004 to March 2005 on Fuji TV network.

As one can tell from the music, it is a song of sadness, poverty and longing.

Asazaki-san sings this in her traditional Kagoshima/Okinawan/Japanese style, accompanied by piano. Some say that Ikue Asazaki is Okinawan and from Okinawa. Some say she’s from Kyushu, the southernmost large island of Japan, where Kagoshima, her birthplace is. This is a testament to the complexity of history and who claims what. Some say she sings in Okinawan. Some say she sings in the Kyushu dialect. Both and none may be true. Most mainstream Japanese do not understand what she is singing. Dialect? Another language? Okinawan? Japanese? Kyushu language or dialect? In the end, we listen to the beautiful language and song, to reflect, enjoy, feel.

As in most nation-states, the dominant state language is demanded. When I was growing up in Japan, those who spoke the language that she speaks, were ridiculed and often called stupid and primitive and unsophistocated. Nowadays, the young Japanese are more fascinated with these languages. The stigma of it has changed. In destruction, while languages and cultures become museum pieces for us, are we then appreciative? Let us listen and appreciate.

For the BEST ONLINE SELECTION in the English language, of Ikue Asazaki recordings go to:

Farside Music located in the UK.

Lyrics are below the video.

The video contains mostly photos/images of mainland Japan and should not be confused with indigenous Okinawan/Ryukyu culture.


Arayashikiku no dei
Harasaku baku no dei
Hare fushigyurasa nejyuku
Surajifushiro yondo
Hare fushigyurasa nejyuku
Fushigyurasa nejyuku
Surajifusero yondo

Kirishigaki ku no dei
Kuganeya be tatei tei
Hare momo tobyuru wakya
Ya uriba yuwa o yondo
Hare momo to byuru wakya
Momo to byuru wakya
Ya uriba yuwa o yondo

Hateigachi ya naryuri
Tobibani ya neranu
Hare utou katabani
Ya karachitabore
Hitotsu aru bani ya
Kanasha se ni kusuitei –
Hare wanu ya okuyama
Nu kazuradasuki –

Ojyuugoya no teiki ya
Kami gyurasa teryuri
Hare kana ga jyo ni tataba kumo tei taborei

Translation:

In search of new lands, I build a new house
I thatch the house with reed stalks, gathered neatly in bundles
I thatch the house with reed stalks, gathered neatly in bundles
At the stone wall, let us celebrate the golden house, that was built by a hundred carpenters.
At the stone wall, let us celebrate the golden house, that was built by a hundred carpenters.
Let us celebrate the golden house, that was built by a hundred carpenters.

The eighth month is fast approaching, and yet I have nothing to wear
I want to dress up, so brother, will you lend me just one sleeve?
I wish to dress my children and loved ones… in the one kimono that I own
As for me, I will wear vines… that I plucked deep in the mountains

The light of the full moon shines down,
illuminating the world with its divine light
When my lover sneaks in to visit me,
I wish that the clouds would hide that light just a little.

Lyrics translated by silmanaro on YouTube and myself

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2 responses to “Obokuri Eeumi おぼくり ええうみ (from the anime: Samurai Champloo) by Ikue Asazaki 朝崎郁恵

  1. I too fell in love with this song as soon as I heard it for the first time. Thank you so much for putting up the translations for everyone to enjoy.

  2. Pingback: Music speaks louder than words – おぼくりええうみ (Obokuri Eeumi) « A Fantasy of Far Japan

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