Koojoo no tsuki
(Moon Over the
Ruined Castle)
Year: 1901
Composer: Rentaro Taki
Poet: Bansui Doi

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Lyrics:

Haru kooroo no hana no en
Meguru sakazuki kage sashite
Chiyo no matsu ga e wakeideshi
Mukashi no hikari ima izuko



Translation:

In the Springtime, there was a party for viewing the cherry blossoms
from the highest part of the castle. The sake cup casts a shadow
on the ancient pine trees. The branches are fanned out far.
Where did such glory of the old times go?

Aki jin’ei no shimo no iro
Naki yuku kari no kazu misete
Uuru tsurugi ni teri soishi
Mukashi no hikari ima izuko
The color of frost settles on the samurai camp.
Geese fly away in numbers, making music in the air.
Where is this old glory which shines
on this sword planted into the ground?
Ima koojoo no yowa no tsuki
Kawaranu hikari taga tamezo
Kaki ni nokoru wa tada kazura
Matsu ni utau wa tada arashi
Today, the midnight moon is over the ruined castle.
An unchanged light. For whom is it shining?
Whatever is left of the castle’s fence, only a vine clings upon.
And the only singing left to the pines is the mourning winds.
Tenjoo kage wa kawarane do
Eiko wa utsuru yo no sugata
Utsusan tote ka ima mo nao
Aa koojoo no yowa no tsuki
 
The heaven’s shining light over the ruined castle does not change.
The ways of the world continue to go up and down.
And that is the way of this world.
Trying to reflect the glories and successes.
 
This song was included in Shooka for Junior High school in 1901 for the first time, and since then it has been taught in schools up until today. Taki’s alma mater, Tokyo Music Institute, held a competition (boshuu) for setting existing poems to music. This song is one of three that Taki composed for the occasion and the one that won the competition. It was composed right before Taki went abroad to study in Germany in 1901. In 1921 Shigeru Yoshida, a high ranking attaché at the Japanese Embassy in London (who became prime minister after the war), requested that the famous tenor opera singer Yoshie Fujiwara sing it at a party. Its warm reception on that occasion established its fame in foreign countries.
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