April 3rd, 2017
The poem 私と小鳥と鈴と (A Bell, a Bird and Me) was written by Japanese poet, Misuzu Kaneko (1903 – 1930). Kaneko was first published in 1923. Her work was known during her lifetime, yet after her early death and the advent of WWII it was forgotten. A Japanese poet named Setsuo Yazaki discovered Kaneko’s poem “Big Catch” […]
February 14th, 2015
Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694) was the master of Haiku! Here you can listen to some of his haiku about the moon in Japanese and English. You can read along with the Japanese text, the pronunciation, the English translations and commentary…. MP3 of Basho’s Haiku about the Moon 雲をりをり人をやすめる月見かな kumo ori ori / hito o […]
June 11th, 2014
Sadao Mazuka sent us this article about the rainy season of June in Japan… June is a rainy season here in Japan. The English word “June” gives us a feeling of bright and refreshing air, especially with a word such as, “June-Bride”. But in Japanese, it’s “6月(Rokugatsu = June)”. It makes us think of a […]
June 5th, 2014
Shigin is a way of reciting poems in Japanese that most likely dates back to the 5th century. The poems are chanted, often before an audience. We’re lucky enough to have a Shigin recitation of the famous Haiku poem, “Furuike ya” (Old Pond). The poem was recited by Shihoko Mazuka. You can hear it […]
June 4th, 2014
One of the most well-known forms of Japanese poetry is Haiku. Yet there are many other forms of poems in Japan and it’s interesting to learn about them. Haiku poetry follows a pattern of 5-7-5. That means the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 and the third line has 5 syllables. […]
April 2nd, 2014
In the Spring, people in Japan traditionally view the cherry blossoms and picnic under the trees. This is called Hanami. When people view the blossoms by night, it’s called Yozakura. At this time of year it can be cool at night so some people bring blankets, warm saki and body warmers. Sadao sent me the […]
March 24th, 2014
I love Japanese haikus! Here’s a haiku poem I came across while working on a song about Mt. Fuji. The poem was written by Kobayashi Issa in the Edo period… 蝸牛 そろそろ登れ 富士の山 English Translation: O snail, Climb Mt. Fuji, But slowly, slowly! Pronunciation: Katatsumuri Soro soro nobore Fuji no yama I think these prints […]
August 22nd, 2011
You can hear poet Robert Hass reading his translations of some Haiku poems by Japanese poet and Buddhist priest Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1827) in the video below. The first is one of my favorites: Don’t worry spiders I keep house Casually. Listen to more here… Enjoy! Mama Lisa
May 21st, 2011
A Child’s Garden of Poetry is a show running on HBO for a couple of more days. So if you have HBO – go see it while it’s still on! It’s a half hour program geared towards kids… but adults will enjoy it too. In the show, kids talk about poetry and read a few […]
September 22nd, 2010
Dragonflies are a sign of the seasons in Japan. The red dragonfly is specifically a sign of Autumn. There are Japanese poems in the haiku style about this theme. Haiku is an unrhymed Japanese verse form in three lines only. The 3 lines have five, seven, and five syllables respectively. Below are some haiku poems […]
August 24th, 2009
A Landscape Land, green-brown; Sea, brown-grey; Island, dull peacock blue; Sky, stone-grey. I like the imagery of this poem. What’s interesting is that the sea is brown-grey and the island is blue. “A Landscape” was originally Japanese. If anyone can send in the original, I’d love to add it here. Please email me at email@example.com […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
More about Japanese Poems...
With Lullabies From Around The World
A Mama Lisa Book! Over 50 lullabies and recordings from all over the world. Each Lullaby includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation. Order Here!
With Our New Book 'Kid Songs Around The World'
Whoever the children are in your life - your kids, your grandkids, your students, even yourself (in your heart) - 'Kid Songs Around The World' is a wonderful way to help them experience other languages and cultures.
In 'Kid Songs Around The World' we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they meant in their lives.
We hope this book will help foster a love of international children's songs!