This song is called "Momiji" in Japanese. The title of the song 紅葉 has two meanings: "Autumn Colors" and "Red Leaves".

紅 葉 - (Momiji) - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Romaji (Pronunciation)

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)

Katsuei wrote, "When you pronounce the Japanese name of the song "Momiji", you should put the stress on the first syllable "Mo"(MO-mi-ji)."

Ayako wrote, "We Japanese think of red maple leaves especially when we say 'Momiji'." Ayako further wrote, "Momiji has a couple 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."

紅 葉 - (Momiji) - Japanese Children's Songs - Japan - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image


Alternate Translations:


Autumn Leaves

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")

秋の夕日に 照る山紅葉
Mountain autumn colors lit by the autumn sunset
濃いも薄いも 数(かず)ある中に
Both deep(-colored ones) and pale(-colored ones)
Among others,
松をいろどる 楓(かえで)や蔦(つた)は
Colored/decorated by pine, maple and ivy
山のふもとの 裾模様(すそもよう)
The base of the mountain's patterned skirt.
(Note: 裾模様 is the pattern on the fabric of the skirt of a kimono)

渓(たに)の流に 散り浮く紅葉
In the valley stream, scattered floating autumn leaves
波にゆられて 離れて寄って
Trembling on the waves separately and together
赤や黄色の 色さまざまに
Various red and yellow colors
水の上にも 織る錦(にしき)
A woven brocade on (top of) the water.

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - 紅 葉 - (Momiji)

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.

Arigato gozaimasu!