箱根八里 - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

*Kankokukan [Han-Gu-Guan] is a Chinese place name that was very hard to pass through.
**This part is an exaggerated expression.
***Regarding "Eight-ri" - The literal translation of the title is "Hakone Eight-ri". "Ri" is a Japanese distance unit equal to 3.9 km, so "eight-ri" means 31.2 km. In order to understand the meaning of eight-ri in the title and in the song you first need to know about the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō. These were rest stops along the Tōkaidō (an important route connecting Tokyo to Kyoto during the Edo period in Japan). They were government stations where travelers had to stop and show their traveling permits. The distance from the Odawara to the Hakone Station was 15.6 km. And the distance from the Hakone to the Mishima station was 15.6 km. So total was 31.2 km of steep mountain road.
****Skoku=Chinese place name


*****

The following translation was sent to us by the Japan Information and Culture Center, a part of the Embassy of Japan. This English version fits the tune. Please enjoy singing the sing using these words...

Hakone Mountains hard to cross,
The mighty fortress lies right here,
High up in the ranges, deepest in the dales,
Rising in front, peaking in the rear,
Oh, clouds around the tops, oh, mist fills the vales,
How dark are the cedar woods, huge trees in rows and rows,
See, the narrow winding lane that shines with moss,
Only the strongest man can keep the whole fortress from foes,
Bravest warriors who go on the road
Might have trod the rocks and ranges,
Trampling, climbing all out of the way,
Was it in this way they traveled in those days?

Hakone Mountains hard to cross,
The mighty fortress lies right here,
High up in the ranges, deepest in the dales,
Rising in front, peaking in the rear,
Oh, clouds around the tops, oh, mist fills the vales,
How dark are the cedar woods, huge trees in rows and rows,
See, the narrow winding lane that shines with moss,
Only the strongest man can keep the whole fortress from foes,
Bravest hunters who chase in the hills
With their hunting guns on their shoulders,
Trampling, climbing all out of the way,
Was it in this way they hunted in those days?

箱根八里 - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image
箱根八里 - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1
箱根八里 - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 2

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Japanese Pronunciation:

はこね(Hakone)はちり(hachi-ri)

はこねの(Hakone-no) やまは(yama-wa)てんかの(tenkano)けん(ken)
かんこくかんも(Kankokukan-mo) ものならず(mononarazu)
ばんじょうの(banjyo-no) やま(yama) せんじんの(senjin-no)たに(tani)
まえに(mae-ni)そびえ(sobie) しりえに(sirie-ni)ささう(sasau)
くもは(kumo-wa)やまを(yama-wo)めぐり(meguri) きりは(kiri-wa)たにを(tani-wo)とざす(tozasu)
ひるなお(hiru-nao) くらき(kuraki) すぎの(sugi-no) なみき(namiki)
ようちょうの(yochoh-no) しょうけいは(shoukei-wa) こけ(koke) なめらか(nameraka)
いっぷかんに(ippukan-ni) あたるや(ataruya) ばんぷも(banpu-mo) ひらくなし(hiraku-nashi)
てんかに(tenka-ni) たびする(tabi-suru) ごうきの(gouki-no) もののふ(mononofu)
だいとう(daitou) こしに(koshi-ni) あしだ(ashida) がけ(gake)
はちりの(hachi-ri-no) いわね(iwane) ふみならす(fuminarasu)
かくこそ(kaku-koso) ありしか(arishika) おうじの(ouji-no) もののふ(mononofu)

はこねの(Hakone-no) やまは(yama-wa)てんかの(tenkano) そ(so)
しょくの(shoku-no) さんどう(sando) かずならず(kazu-narazu)
ばんじょうの(banjyo-no) やま(yama) せんじんの(senjin-no)たに(tani)
まえに(mae-ni)そびえ(sobie) しりえに(sirie-ni)ささう(sasau)
くもは(kumo-wa)やまを(yama-wo)めぐり(meguri) きりは(kiri-wa)たにを(tani-wo)とざす(tozasu)
ひるなお(hiru-nao) くらき(kuraki) すぎの(sugi-no) なみき(namiki)
ようちょうの(yochoh-no) しょうけいは(shoukei-wa) こけ(koke) なめらか(nameraka)
いっぷかんに(ippukan-ni) あたるや(ataruya) ばんぷも(banpu-mo) ひらくなし(hiraku-nashi)
さんやに(sanya-ni) かりする(kari-suru) ごうきの(gouki-no) ますらお(masurao)
りょうじゅう(ryouju) かたに(kata-ni) わらじ(waraji) がけ(gake)
はちりの(hachiri-no) いわね(iwane) ふみやぶる(fumiyaburu)
かくこそ(kaku-koso) ありけれ(arikeri) きんじの(kinji-no) ますらお(masurao)

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Many thanks to HAMADA Miwa and team at the University of Toyama for allowing me to use the Hakone Hachiri recording and midi from their wonderful site of Japanese Songs. On their site you'll find the Japanese lyrics to many Japanese children's songs and folk songs. You'll find transliterations of the songs, recordings, midis and sheet music. Thanks also to Prof. Dr. Tsutomu Anayama for singing this song!

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Many thanks to Susan Pomerantz for playing this tune on piano.

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - 箱根八里

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sadao Mazuka for the pronunciation and for help with the 1st translation (done with Lisa). Many thanks to the Japan Information and Culture Center, a part of the Embassy of Japan, for contributing this song, the 2nd translation, the 2nd illustration and musical score. Thanks also to Kiara Kyo for the Romaji lyrics to "Hakone Mountains". 1st image is "Hakone-juku" in the 1830s, as depicted by Hiroshige in "The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō".

Arigato gozaimasu!

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