Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sakura Sakura - Japanese Folk Music

This is part one of a series of Japanese folks music for your enjoyment. The summer Obon holiday is just about upon us so I thought it was a good time to present some of these songs to you.

Obon, which was July 15 in the old calendar, is held on August 15 (one month later or 'tsuki-okure') in most areas, and there are many companies which have set the period around this day as Summer holiday (the Obon holiday). Now people celebrate Obon as the summer holidays and with a festival.

Obon Festival (Wikipedia):

Obon (お盆) or just Bon () is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.
The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however its starting date varies within different regions of Japan. When the lunar calendar was changed to theGregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan reacted differently and this resulted in three different times of Obon. "Shichigatsu Bon" (Bon in July) is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around 15 July in eastern Japan (Kantō region such as TokyoYokohama and the Tohoku region), coinciding with Chūgen. "Hachigatsu Bon" (Bon in August) is based on the lunar calendar, is celebrated around the 15th of August and is the most commonly celebrated time. "Kyu Bon" (Old Bon) is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and so differs each year. "Kyu Bon" is celebrated in areas like the northern part of the Kantō region, Chūgoku regionShikoku, and the Ryukyu Islands. These three days are not listed as public holidays but it is customary that people are given leave

And, as I said, to coincide with these holidays, he is the traditional Japanese song. "Sakura Sakura." From Wikipedia:

"Sakura Sakura(さくら さくら?), also known as "Sakura",(Cherry Blossoms) is a traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring, the season of cherry blossoms. Contrary to popular belief, the song did not originate in ancient times; it was a popular, urban melody of the Edo period and was adopted as a piece for beginningkoto students in the Tokyo Academy of Music Collection of Japanese Koto Music issued in 1888 (in English) by the Department of Education.[1] The song has been popular since the Meiji period, and the lyrics in their present form were attached then. It is often sung in international settings as a song representative of Japan.

1 comment:

Andrew Joseph said...

Man... I haven't heard that song in nearly 20 years - I love it!
Do YOU do the Obon thing for the family or also for yourself?
Cheers, Mike!

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