(Usagi to Kame)
"I would like to introduce a traditional children's game from Japan called 'Kendama'. It's quite similar to the 'cup and ball' game in the UK. The main goal is to get the ball in the cup. Many Japanese children sing this song 'Hare and Tortoise' while playing Kendama. It was composed more than 100 years ago. The song lyrics are from an Aesop's fable.
I made the English translation match the music-notes for easy singing. So this is not exactly the same meaning as the Japanese text." -Sadao Mazuka
You can find the literal meaning and the pronunciation in the Song Notes.
(Usagi to Kame)
The Hare and The Tortoise
もしもし かめよ かめさんよ
あゆみの のろい ものはない
どうして そんなに のろいのか
なんと おっしゃる うさぎさん
そんなら おまえと かけくらべ
むこうの こやまの ふもとまで
どちらが さきに かけつくか
どんなに かめが いそいでも
どうせ ばんまで かかるだろ
ここらで ちょっと ひとねむり
グーグー グーグー グーグーグー
これは ねすぎた しくじった
ビョンピョン ピョンピョン ピョンピョンピョン
Hey you Tortoise, Tortoise on the bank!
I hear you are the slowest in the world
Why are you so slow at everything?
You will always come behind.
Oh, no my dear Hare in the field
I don't think that I'm so slow
Ok, shall we run a race to that hill?
Who will win the game at the end?
If he ran fast to the goal,
He'll just get there by night-time
So I will take a nap under the tree
The root is my nice pillow.
Oh, gosh darn it! I've overslept
I should hurry up and run quickly
Hare, I've got to the finish line
Didn't you boast of your speed?
Hello, hello, Tortoise, Mr. Tortoise
There's no one in the world like you,
No one walks as slow as you.
Why are you so slow?
What do you say Mr. Hare?
I'll do my best against you in the race
To the foot of the small hill over there
Where did he run ahead to?
No matter how fast the tortoise runs
Anyhow, he'll take till night,
I'll take a nap here
Zzz zzz, zzz zzz, zzz zzz zzz
I messed up and overslept
Hop jump, hop jump, hop jump, jump
Too late Mr. Hare
You said boasting, what was that?
Usagi to Kame (Sing in Japanese)
Moshi moshi kame-yo kame-san-yo
Sekai-no uchini omae-hodo
Ayumino noroi mono wa nai
Doushite sonnani noroinoka
Nanto ossharu usage-san
Sonnara omaeto kake-kurabe
Mukou-no koyama-no fumoto-made
Dochiraga sakini kake-tsukuka
Donnani kame-ga isoidemo
Douse ban-made kakarudaro
Kokorade chotto hito-nemuri
Goo goo, goo goo, goo goo goo
Kore-wa nesugita shikujitta
Pyon pyon, pyon pyon, pyon pyon pyon
Anmari osoi usage-san
Sakki-no jiman-wa doshitano
Author Wasaburo Ishihara 石原和三郎 (1865-1922)
Composer Benjiroh Nosho - 納所弁次郎 (1865- 1936)
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Sadao Mazuka for sharing this song with us with the translations, pronunciation, midi tune and sheet music. Literal translation by Sadao Mazuka and Lisa Yannucci.
Photo by Tomomarusan, CC 2.5.