東京節 || The Tokyo Song

東京節
Tokyo-bushi
The Tokyo Song

Vocals: emaru
Lyrics: Soeda Tomomichi/Satsuki (添田知道[添田さつき])
Composed by: Henry Clay Work
Arranged by: Asahi (アサヒ)
Group: macaroom
Release date: March 22, 2015

Requested by: Eiki

Update: I updated the translation for accuracy thanks to some helpful feedback from 空見りんき

Listen to the track here!

So, this is an arrangement of the Japanese version of ‘Marching Through Georgia,’ a song that was written at the end of the American Civil War. The Japanese version was released in 1918. It’s basically a kind of protest song, providing a satirical look at Japanese society at the time. It has a lot of in-jokes and cultural references, which made it hard to translate. So, in other words, what’s presented below is only my interpretation. I wanted to keep the translation notes brief, so I’ve limited them to explaining why I translated the first katakana section the way I did. Of course, if you have questions about any of the references, please leave a comment!

I also made use of the following Japanese sites in forming my interpretation: 1, 2, 3.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

東京の中枢は 丸の内
日比谷公園 両議院
いきな構えの 帝劇に
いかめし館は 警視庁
諸官省ズラリ 馬場先門
海上ビルディング 東京駅
ポッポと出る汽車 どこへゆく
ラメチャンタラ ギッチョンチョンで パイノパイノパイ
パリコト パナナで フライ フライ フライ

Tokyo no chuusuu wa Marunouchi
Hibiya Kouen ryougi’in
ikinakamae no teigeki ni
ikameshi yakata wa keishichou
shokanshu zurari Babasaki-mon
kaijou birudingu Tokyo-eki
poppo to deru kisha doko e yuku
ramechantara gicchonchon de pai no pai no pai
parikoto panana de furai furai furai

The centre of Tokyo is Marunouchi
Hibiya Park is the home of the Diet.
The Imperial Theatre is stylish.
That stately palace is the Metropolitan Police Department.
The government ministries are all in a row. Babasaki-mon is there, too.
The Tokio Marine Building and Tokyo Station are also there…
The steam trains chug out from the station – where are they going?
The world’s a mess, heigh-ho! Pai no pai no pai! (1)
Parisian coats, bananas – fry, fry, fry! (2)

東京で繁華な 浅草は
雷門 仲見世 浅草寺
鳩ポッポ豆売る お婆さん
活動 十二階 花屋敷
すし おこし 牛 てんぷら
なんだとこん畜生で お巡りさん
スリに乞食に カッパライ
ラメチャンタラ ギッチョンチョンで パイノパイノパイ
パリコト パナナで フライ フライ フライ

Tokyo de hanka na Asakusa wa
Kaminarimon nakamise Sensouji
hato poppo mame uru obaa-san
katsudou juunidai hanayashiki
sushi okoshi gyuu tempura
nan da to kon chikushou de omawari-san
suri ni kojiki ni kapparai
ramechantara gicchonchon de pai no pai no pai
parikoto panana de furai furai furai

Prosperous Asakusa is in Tokyo, too.
It contains Kaminarimon, shrine shops, and Sensouji.
The pidgeons coo, and the old lady sells beans.
Movies, skyscrapers, and the Asakusa amusement park.
Sushi, okoshi, beef, and tempura.
“What’s with you, you brute!” “Officer, come quickly!”
Pilfering from the pickpockets and the beggars…
The world’s a mess, heigh-ho! Pai no pai no pai!
Parisian coats, bananas – fry, fry, fry!

東京の自慢は なんですね
三百万人 うようよと
米も作らずに 暮らすこと
タジレた市長を 仰ぐこと
それにみんなが 感心に
市長のいうことを よく聞いて
豆粕食うこと 痩せること
シチョウサンタラ ケチンボで パイノパイノパイ
洋服も ツメエリで フルイ フルイ フルイ

Tokyo no jiman wa nan desune
sanbyakuman-nin uyo uyo to
kome mo tsukurazu ni kurasu koto
tajireta shichou wo aogu koto
sore ni minna ga kanshin ni
shichou no iu koto wo yoku kiite
mamekasu kuu koto yaseru koto
shichousantara kechinbo de pai no pai no pai
youfuku mo tsume’eri de furai furai furai

I wonder what the pride of Tokyo is…
It’s crawling with 3 million people
Who live without making rice
And bow their heads to their irrational mayor.
Also, how admirable –
They listen carefully to what their mayor has to say,
All the while eating soybean scraps and growing thinner…
The mayor’s such a cheapskate! pai no pai no pai!
With western clothes and an upright collar, fry, fry fry!

東京名物 満員電車
いつまで待っても 乗れやしねえ
乗るにゃ喧嘩腰 いのちがけ
ヤットコサ スイタのが 来やがっても
ダメダメと 手を振って
又々止めずに 行きやあがる
なんだ故障車か ボロ電車め
シチョウサンタラ ケチンボで パイノパイノパイ
洋服も ツメエリで フルイ フルイ フルイ
ラメチャンタラ ギッチョンチョンで パイノパイノパイ
パリコト パナナで フライ フライ フライ

Tokyo meibutsu man’in densha
itsu made mattemo noreya shinee
noru nya kenkagoshi inochigake
yattokosa to suita no ga kiyagattemo
dame dame to te wo futte
mata mata tomezu ni ikiyagaru
nan da koshousha ka boro densha me
shichousantara kechinbo de pai no pai no pai
youfuku mo tsume’eri de furai furai furai
ramechantara gicchonchon de pai no pai no pai
parikoto panana de furai furai furai

Tokyo’s specialty is its packed trains.
No matter how long you wait, you’ll never get on one!
You need to fight to get on. You’ll risk your life.
Even when a less crowded train finally arrives…
“No, no!” With a wave of a hand,
The train heads off once again without stopping.
What, is it broken down? What sort of shabby train is this?!
The mayor’s such a cheapskate! Pai no pai no pai!
With western clothes and an upright collar, fry, fry fry!
The world’s a mess, heigh-ho! Pai no pai no pai!
Parisian coats, bananas – fry, fry, fry!

_ _ _ _ _

(1) ラメチャン (ramechan) appears to be a corrupted version of でたらめ (detarame – random/messed up). ギッチョンチョン (gicchonchon) is apparently a nonsense word used to fill in space, and パイノパイノパイ appears to represent laughter. So basically, ‘even if the world’s a mess, we just need to laugh it off!’

(2) Another interpretation sees sentence (1) as referring to the low standards of hygiene seen in Tokyo at the time. This is why フライ フライ フライ (furai furai furai) is translated as ‘fry’ instead of ‘fly’ – basically, hygiene standards were low because people were cooking on the streets.

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3 thoughts on “東京節 || The Tokyo Song

  1. 空見りんき November 14, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    It is hard for me to interpret every part of 「東京節」’s lyrics.
    I will write here 4 of parts which I can.

    1.
    > 東京の中枢は 丸の内
    > The Marunouchi line is the centre of Tokyo.

    I think this 「丸の内」 refers to the area or around the area, not the line or subway
    as same as 「浅草」 in the second paragraph does.

    2.
    > いかめし館は 警視庁
    > The squid-cook’s hut is near the Metropolitan Police Department.

    We could rewrite 「いかめし館」 to 「厳めしい館」, rather than 「烏賊飯館」.
    And I think “stately palace” could be suit.

    3.
    > なんだとこん畜生で お巡りさん
    > “What’s with those brutes,” says the policeman

    I imagine
    two people are fighting and says 「なんだとこん畜生」
    「(それ)で」 ANOTHER person calls the policeman maybe saying 「お巡りさん(!)」.

    4.
    > シチョウサンタラ ケチンボで パイノパイノパイ
    > If the mayor’s a cheapskate, well then, pai no pai no pai!

    This 「タラ」 will be used in a way the below citation says,
    not in a meaning of assumption.

    I’m not sure how to translate. How about this:
    “The mayor is that cheapskate, well then, pai no pai no pai!”

    ========================================
    ▼ たらとは – Weblio辞書
    [URL] http://www.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%9F%E3%82%89

    軽い非難・軽蔑,または親しみの気持ちをこめて,話題として提示する。
    「おとうさん-,なかなか起きないのよ」 「あの店っ-,サービスが悪いんだから」

    じれったい気持ちで呼びかける。
    「あなたっ-。返事ぐらいしてよ」 「早く早く,お母さん-」
    ========================================

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pcdodd March 1, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Gokurosama deshita macaroom
    I stumbled across this bizarre little song by accident and found your translation by googling gicchonchon…
    P

    Liked by 1 person

    • releska March 1, 2017 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you for reading my translation and taking the time to comment! I appreciate it, and I hope you enjoyed your time here 🙂

      Like

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