Kimi Ga Yo

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Score of Kimi Ga Yo

Kimigayo (きみ が よ; Kanji: 君が代) is the national anthem of Japan.[1] The name of the song roughly means 'Imperial Reign' in English. The anthem is based on a poem written by an unknown poet from Japan about one thousand years ago. The music was written more recently (about two hundred years ago) and was then rewritten shortly afterwards because the original tune was unpopular.

Although popular for a long period and sung in situations where people from other countries would usually sing their country's national anthem, Kimi Ga Yo was only considered as Japan's official national anthem in 1999. The law that stated this also defined the Flag of Japan in a similar way.

Sazare-Ishi (conglomerate rock) -- pebbles which grow into boulders as in the lyrics of Kimi ga Yo[2]

Kimigayo is one of the shortest known national anthems of any country. It is only 56 seconds long.

Lyrics[change | change source]

With Kanji characters[3] Kana (Hiragana) only[3] Rōmaji[2][4] Phonetic transcription (IPA) English translation[5]
Poetic English translation
by Basil Hall Chamberlain[6]

君が代は
千代に八千代に
細石の
巌となりて
苔の生す迄

きみがよは
ちよにやちよに
さざれいしの
いわおとなりて
こけのむすまで

Kimigayo wa
Chiyo ni yachiyo ni
Sazare-ishi no
Iwao to narite
Koke no musu made

May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,
Until the tiny pebbles
Grow into massive boulders
Lush with moss

Thousands of years of happy reign be thine;
Rule on, my lord, until what are pebbles now
By ages united to mighty rocks shall grow
Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.

References[change | change source]

  1. Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Japan Fact Sheet, pp. 2-4; retrieved 2011-12-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hood, Christopher (2001). Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy, p. 166; English translation of Kimi ga Yo: "May your reign Continue for a thousand, Eight thousand generations, Until the pebbles Grow into boulders Lush with moss"
  3. 3.0 3.1 国旗及び国歌に関する法律
  4. https://web-japan.org/factsheet/en/pdf/11NFlagAnthem.pdf National Flag and Anthem (PDF). Web Japan. Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2000. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  5. Hood, Christopher (2001). Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy. Routledge. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-415-23283-8. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  6. "Politika i ekonomija (Upoznajte Japan)" (in Serbian). Japanska ambasada u Srbiji i Crnoj Gori. 2003. Archived from the original on 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-05-17.

Other websites[change | change source]