Amagi Goe

13

July 29, 2009 by korshi

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This is my translation of another Japanese song, one I came across in my Japanese pop culture class last semester.  It belongs to a genre known as Enka, something along the lines of Japanese country music.  Although it may look like a traditional artform, Enka is a 20th century phenomenon, produced partly in reaction to the mostly Western-inspired J-Pop.  Fans are typically older and more working-class than pop listeners, and performers tend to be chosen for their powerful voices rather than the cute looks and charisma that are responsible for the success of most Japanese Idols.

Like Country singers, Enka singers dress fairly conservatively- suits for men and kimono for women, and along with its pentatonic scale (which I understand to mean it lacks two notes) this may responsible for its traditional feel.  As with Country music, Enka lyrics are full of stories of tragic love and loss, everyday hardships and nostalgic references to their lyricists’ particular rural roots.

Amagi Goe (Crossing Amagi) is a case in point; The title refers to Mount Amagi, and specific waterfalls, bridges and marshes pop up throughout the song.  Amagi Goe was also used as the theme tume of  a drama series of the same name, in which a young boy does indeed, cross Mount Amagi, meeting on the way a beautiful geisha.  I haven’t seen the series, so I can’t really say how much the song relates to its plot; but if the lyrics are anything to go by, its a bittersweet and powerful story of  frustrated longing and jealousy.  Visit YouTube and watch Ishikawa Sayuri belt it out (Amaaaagiii Goooooooooe); it’s a great piece of music.

[Thanks to John Williams for correcting my translation, see the comments below for his full comments]

天城越え
Amagi goe
Crossing Amagi

隠しきれない 移り香が
Kakushi kirenai utsuri na ga
The indelible, lingering scent

いつしかあなたに しみついた
Itsu shika anata ni shimitsuita
Stained you unawares

誰かに盗られる くらいなら
Dare ka ni torareru, kurai nara
If someone stole you, I couldn’t bear it

あなたを殺して いいですか
Anata o koroshite ii desu ka?
Could I kill you?

寝乱れて 隠れ宿
Nemidarete kakure yado
An unmade bed in a secret room,

九十九折り 浄蓮の滝
Tsuzura ori jouren no taki
The winding Jouren waterfall

舞い上がり 揺れおちる 肩のむこうに
Mai agari, yure ochiru, kata no mukou ni
Rises dancing, falls trembling; over your shoulder

あなた…… 山が燃える
Anata… Yama ga moeru
My dear… the mountain is burning

何があっても もういいの
Nani ga atte mo mou ii no
Whatever is there, it’s enough

くらくら燃える 火をくぐり
Kura kura moeru hi o kuguri
Passing through the dizzily burning fire

あなたと越えたい 天城越え
Anata to koetai, Amagi goe
I want to cross with you, cross Amagi

口を開けば 別れると
Kuchi wo hirakeba wakareru to
If you open your mouth we will be parted,

刺さったまんまの 割れ硝子
Sasatta manma no ware garasu
The broken glass that found its mark

ふたりでいたって 寒いけど
Futari de itatte samui kedo
It’s cold even with you there,

嘘でも抱かれりゃ あたたかい
Uso demo dakarerya atatakai
If you would hold me, I would be warm even if it was a lie

わさび沢 隠れ径
Wasabi Sawa, Kakure michi
Wasabi Marsh, the hidden path,

小夜時雨 寒天橋
Sayoshi gure Kanten Bashi
A light shower falls on Kanten bridge

恨んでも 恨んでも からだうらはら
Uurande mo, urande mo, karada urahara
Even if I resent you, even if I resent you, who turned your back on me

あなた…… 山が燃える
Anata… Yama ga moeru
My dear… The mountain is burning,

戻れなくても もういいの
Modorenakute mo mou ii no
Even if there is no return, it’s enough

くらくら燃える 地をはって
Kura kura moeru chi o hatte
Walking over the dizzily burning earth

あなたと越えたい 天城越え
Anata to koetai, Amagi goe
I want to cross with you, cross Amagi

走り水 迷い恋
Hashiri mizu mayoi goi
Running water, love lost

風の群れ 天城隧道
Kaze no mure amagi suidou
The wind rushes, the waterway through Amagi

恨んでも 恨んでも からだうらはら
Urande mo urande mo karada urahara
Even if I resent you, even if I resent you, who have turned your back on me

あなた…… 山が燃える
Anata… Yama ga moeru
My dear… The mountain is burning

戻れなくても もういいの
Modorenakure mo mou ii no
It’s okay if I don’t go back

くらくら燃える 地をはって
Kura kura moeru chi o hatte
Walking over the dizzily burning earth

あなたと越えたい 天城越え
Anata to koetai, Amagi goe
I want to cross with you, cross Amagi

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13 thoughts on “Amagi Goe

  1. hey are you going to put up an update on your exhibition at berkelouw?
    when is it anyway? Britt only said sometime in august…

  2. mark says:

    hi from England
    I’ve been looking for a translation of this gorgeous song for ages. Thanks so much for posting. 🙂

  3. Andrea says:

    Hi! Thank you for the translation, I’m also a student of japanese language and culture and I wanted to chek my translation of the same lyrics.
    There is some point that I still don’t understand, can you give me some explanation privately? thanks
    Andre

  4. korshi says:

    Hi Andrea, I won’t pretend to be an expert on Japanese, this translation was an exercise for myself as much as anything else, but if you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer them 🙂

  5. John Williams says:

    It’s about infidelity sung by a jilted woman who cannot bear to lose him – with hints of a murder of passion/suicide so they will be together forever?

    The below is still rough, but closer to the intent of the song I think:

    Verse One
    The indelible lingering perfume attached to you, unawares
    I couldn’t bear it if someone stole you from me
    May I kill you?
    An unmade bed in a secret room
    The meandering Joren Waterfall.

    Rises dancing; falls trembling; over your shoulder my dear: the mountain burns (something like “the fire burns” – i.e. my love for you – in English and obviously not meant literally)
    Whatever happens, it’s enough
    Dive into the dizzily burning fire
    I want to cross over with you; cross Amagi.

    Verse Two
    If you open your mouth then we part
    The broken shard of glass that found its mark
    As for us, it’s gone cold
    Even if its a lie, if you held me I would be warm

    Wasabi Valley, a hidden path
    Light night rain on Kanten Bridge
    Even if I resent you, you who turned your back on me
    The mountain burns
    If we (?) don’t come back, it’s enough
    Crawl into the dizzily burning earth
    I want to cross over with you; cross Amagi.

    Verse Three
    Running water, love gone astray
    The rush of the wind, Amagi waterway
    the rest repeats Verse Two

  6. […] translation from: Return of the Space Gods) GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  7. slackerco93 says:

    Thanks for the lyrics and romanji and translation! but there’s a tiny little mistake at the last verse:

    戻れなくても もういいの
    Modorenakure mo mou ii no
    It’s okay if I don’t go back

    it’s Modorenakute mo instead of modorenakuremo

  8. andrey says:

    That’s all about a Buddhist meditation and reaching far beyond this mortal world, not about “oh my dear love”. Here is corrected translation http://lib.mlm.ru/japanese/a174.htm

  9. […] I used one of the lines in there for the short quotation for which I am grateful for. It’s Return of the Space Gods. Listen to the song while reading those […]

  10. Jack says:

    The “series” you refer to is actually a drama broadcasted on TBS in several part in 1998; it and a previous movie in 1983 was based upon a novel by Seicho Matsumoto. The original tunnel (pass) through Mt. Amagi (not to be confused with a more modern running parallel to it) is still there and the area is quite beautiful.

  11. Wanjai Otomonai says:

    わさび 沢隠れ径
    Wasabisawa Kakuremichi
    わさび沢 =Wasabisawa
    隠れ径 = Kakuremichi
    Please carefully(*^^*)
    Thank you for your translation
    I love this song

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