Shichi-go-san, The 7 – 5 – 3 Festival in Japan and a Japanese Song called Tooryanse

Shichi-go-san, 七五三, takes place on November 15 and it celebrates girls who are 7, boys who are 5, and boys and girls who are 3 years old. These numbers were chosen because odd numbers are considered lucky in Japan. It’s celebrated on the 15th because 7 + 5 + 3 = 15 and November 15th is considered to be the luckiest day of the year. Also…

3 is when kids stopped having their heads shaved (a custom in old Japan) in a celebration called Kamioki. The third birthday was also important because there was such a high infant mortality rate – when a child lived to 3, it meant they were much more likely to survive.

5 is when boys start wearing a hakama, a special skirt that samurais wear, in a celebration called Hakamagi.

7 is when girls start wearing an obi, a special sash for tying their kimonos, in a celebration called Obi-toki.

On Shichi-go-san the children dress up in special clothes, usually kimonos, hakamas, dresses or suits. The kids are taken to the Shinto shrine, where their parents pray for the children’s future health and longevity.

The children are also given long chitose-ame (thousand year) candy, colored red and white, in long bags decorated with turtles and cranes. These are all symbols of longevity in Japan.

At night families gather together for a special feast in honor of the children.

Shichi-go-san is truly a day in which parents show their love for their children!

Here’s a Japanese song called Tooryanse that’s related to Shichi-go-san. It talks about going to the shrine in honor of the child’s 7th birthday. I’ve provided an English translation with the Japanese transliteration, the Japanese text and a midi of Tooryanse.

Midi of Tooryanse

MP3 of Tooryanse

Pass Through, Pass Through
(English Translation)

Pass through, pass through
Where does this narrow path lead?
It is the path to Tenjin Shrine
Please let us pass through
People with no business are usually not allowed through
This child is now seven years old
We’ve come to make our offering
Going is safe, but not returning
If you are prepared, go through, go through.

Tooryanse
(Japanese Transliteration)

Tooryanse tooryanse
Koko ha doko no hosomichi ja
Tenjin-sama no hosomichi ja
Chiito tooshite kudashanse
Goyou no nai mono toosha senu
Konokono nanatsu no oiwai ni
O fuda wo osame ni mairimasu
Ikiha yoi yoi kaeriha kowai
Kowai nagara mo tooryanse tooryanse

Japanese Text of Tooryanse

Tooryanse in Japanese Characters

Many thanks to Nathan Yeldell for providing the Japanese text and to Monique Palomares for the midi.

Please email me if you can provide a recording for Tooryanse.

Come visit The Mama Lisa’s World Japan Page for more Japanese Children’s Songs with their English translations.

And if you’re a boy and you’re 3 or 5, or if you’re a girl and you’re 3 or 7, Happy Shichi-go-san!

-Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, November 14th, 2005 at 9:14 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Holidays Around the World, Japan, Japanese, Japanese Kids Songs, Languages, Shichi Go San 7 - 5 - 3 Festival in Japan, Tooryanse. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Shichi-go-san, The 7 – 5 – 3 Festival in Japan and a Japanese Song called Tooryanse”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Nathan wrote me…

    I just found a midi (of Tooryanse), although not the best one most likely. You can listen to it here:

    http://www5c.biglobe.ne.jp/~pekepon/yukari_midi/toryanse.mid

    If you’re familiar with the recent release of Zatoichi, starring Beat Takeshi, there is a really great rendition of the song in a sequence where a geisha is performing. Well, I hope this has been of some help to you!

    -Nathan

    Thanks for writing!

    Lisa

  2. Lisa Says:

    Jessica McDonald wrote me…

    Just today I stumbled on this site, mainly I was looking for a translation to Tooryanse. My Japanese friend sent the song to me …there’s something my friend said that I find interesting, and it’s not mentioned on the site. According to him, when sung backwards, Tooryanse is a curse. I’m not a superstitious person, but I guess since the song is so creepy sounding to begin with, there’s no way I’d consider even trying to read it backwards to see what it would sound like.

  3. Lisa Says:

    John wrote…

    ??らん? would normally be transliterated by a newer system of ROMAJI as TŌRANSE …..as opposed to the TOORYANSE.

    It’s an old children’s song from hundreds(?) of years back, and makes reference to the Temple of Tenjin-Sama (whose name in life was Sugawara Michizane, b.845 A.D.). The song is in a dialect I can’t readily pin down, it may be from around the Kyoto-Nara area.

    John

  4. Rick Del Vecchio Says:

    I am helping the Japan Garden in Miami promote a 7-5-3 festival in November. I have a picture of Japanese girls dressed in Kimono for the ceremony. Do you have any pictures of the boys in dress? If so could you email it to me to use. Thank you.
    Rick Del Vecchio
    Friends of Japan Garden, Miami, Florida
    305.992.0703

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