This song is called "Momiji" in Japanese. The title of the song 紅葉 has two meanings: "Autumn Colors" and "Red Leaves".
Autumn colors on the mountain lit by the sunset,
Deep colors and pale ones,
A kimono skirt pattern of pine, maple and ivy trees
Decorating the mountain's base.
In the valley stream, scattered autumn leaves
Tremble on the waves alone and together,
Various shades of red and yellow
Forming a woven brocade on the water's surface.
1. Akino yuuhini teru yama momiji
koimo usuimo kazu aru nakani
matsuwo irodoru kaedeya tsutawa
yamano fumotono susomoyou
2. Tanino nagareni chiri uku momiji
namini yurarete hanarete yotte
akaya kiirono iro samazamani
mizuno uenimo oru nishiki.
Lyrics: TAKANO Tatsuyuki (1876-1947)
Music: OKANO Teiichi (1878 - 1941)
Note: Katsuei wrote, "When you pronounce the Japanese name of the song "Momiji", you should put the stress on the first sillable "Mo"(MO-mi-ji)."
Ayako wrote, "We Japanese think of red maple leaves especially when we say 'Momiji'." Ayako further wrote, "Momiji has a coulple of meanings. One of them means autumn leaves in general. It refers various kind of leaves and trees that turn red or yellow in autumn. The second one is another expression about maple trees. So when I hear 'Momiji', I think of red maple trees in autumn leaves."
Sachiko wrote: "This is the loveliest version I have ever heard. I think of my mother when I hear this song. It brings to mind her youth, beauty and innocence and I can imagine her singing this song to the mountains and the birds. Just one song, evokes such love."
By YAMAGISHI Katsuei
Sunset on the mountains, the fall trees aglow,
Brilliant shades of autumn - crimson red, tan, yellow.
Maple leaves and ivy adorning the tall pine trees
Weave a beautiful pattern here at the foot of the mountains.
Autumn leaves at sunset on the mountain streams afloat,
Each leaf a shade of autumn - crimson, brown, yellow.
Maple leaves as they drift near the bank and away
Weave such beautiful brocades as they go by.
Literal translation by Tony:
Autumn Colors 紅葉 ("literally "Red Leaves", but corresponds to the phrase "Autumn Colors")
Mountain autumn colors lit by the autumn sunset
Both deep(-colored ones) and pale(-colored ones)
Colored/decorated by pine, maple and ivy
The base of the mountain's patterned skirt.
(Note: 裾模様 is the pattern on the fabric of the skirt of a kimono)
In the valley stream, scattered floating autumn leaves
Trembling on the waves separately and together
Various red and yellow colors
A woven brocade on (top of) the water.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Tony Horowitz for the 1st translation and the literal one. Many thanks to YAMAGISHI Katsuei for letting us use his translation from his site of Japanese songs.
Thanks to Ayako Egawa for pointing out this song with the YouTube video and for sharing her photos.
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