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Akita Ondo

秋田音頭

This is a piece of genre Min'yo from the Min'yo School.

History (Takahashi Yujiro):

This Japanese "rap" song unites spoken lyrics with lively dance music. Akita is renowned for its folk songs, women, mines, forests and numerous other products, often mentioned in this most thorough of local praise songs. Ono no Komachi, a 9th-century court lady, was the first famous "Akita beauty". The last verse refers to the mythological incident seen as the birth of all Japanese dance, when the sound of boisterous dancing tempted the Sun Goddess out of the cave where she had hidden, thus restoring light to the world.
The added verse, which has the ring of truth, is of the cheerily bawdy sort often sung but almost never recorded. Professionals today struggle against a lingering image of drunken partying and degeneracy. This image was only ever partly accurate, but in defense today's artists generally avoid such lyrics.

Yaatose, This is the "Akita Dance Song".
Well anyhow, please forgive me as I launch into the Ondo's nonsense.
There may be some objections from your ears, but here I go.
Akita's a fine place, full of famous spots, Number 1 in the northeast.
Mountains of ore, mountains of trees, blooming gardens with beautiful girls dancing.
You guys watching the girls dancing, don't open your mouths so wide.
It's ok now, but in spring the sparrows will build there nests there.
Akita's famous products: Hachimori butterfish, Oga yellowtail,
Noshiro lacquerware, Hiyama fermented soybeans, and Odate birchbark vessels.
Why are Akita girls so pretty? What a stupid question!
This is the birthplace of Ono no Komachi - didn't you know that?
Whatever the problems and events of the world today, dancers, just keep dancing:
at the dawn of Japanese history, at the Door of the Celestial Rock Cave,
the gods danced all night long!
(My sister and the guy next door went into a squash field for a quickie.
No paper to wipe with, so they grabbed a squash leaf-and were sore for three days.)

Akita Ondo appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Min'yo - Folk Song from Japan - Takahashi Yujiro and friends None

    This Japanese "rap" song unites spoken lyrics with lively dance music. Akita is renowned for its folk songs, women, mines, forests and numerous other products, often mentioned in this most thorough of local praise songs. Ono no Komachi, a 9th-century court lady, was the first famous "Akita beauty". The last verse refers to the mythological incident seen as the birth of all Japanese dance, when the sound of boisterous dancing tempted the Sun Goddess out of the cave where she had hidden, thus restoring light to the world.
    The added verse, which has the ring of truth, is of the cheerily bawdy sort often sung but almost never recorded. Professionals today struggle against a lingering image of drunken partying and degeneracy. This image was only ever partly accurate, but in defense today's artists generally avoid such lyrics.

    Yaatose, This is the "Akita Dance Song".
    Well anyhow, please forgive me as I launch into the Ondo's nonsense.
    There may be some objections from your ears, but here I go.
    Akita's a fine place, full of famous spots, Number 1 in the northeast.
    Mountains of ore, mountains of trees, blooming gardens with beautiful girls dancing.
    You guys watching the girls dancing, don't open your mouths so wide.
    It's ok now, but in spring the sparrows will build there nests there.
    Akita's famous products: Hachimori butterfish, Oga yellowtail,
    Noshiro lacquerware, Hiyama fermented soybeans, and Odate birchbark vessels.
    Why are Akita girls so pretty? What a stupid question!
    This is the birthplace of Ono no Komachi - didn't you know that?
    Whatever the problems and events of the world today, dancers, just keep dancing:
    at the dawn of Japanese history, at the Door of the Celestial Rock Cave,
    the gods danced all night long!
    (My sister and the guy next door went into a squash field for a quickie.
    No paper to wipe with, so they grabbed a squash leaf-and were sore for three days.)

    Copyright 1999 - Dr David W. Hughes
    e-mail dh6@soas.ac.uk


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018