The Sword March

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The Sword March
Traditional Chinese 大刀進行曲
Simplified Chinese 大刀进行曲
Literal meaning The Big-Knife March

"The Sword March" is a Chinese patriotic song first sung in Republican China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (World War II) after the Japanese invasion of 1937. It is also known in Chinese by its first line, Dàdāo xiàng guǐzi de tóu shàng kǎn qù: "Our dadaos raised o'er the devils' heads! Hack them off!"


Mai Xin wrote the song in 1937 specifically to honor the valor of the 29th Army[1] during the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, where their standard weapons were only a rifle and a machete-like sword known in Chinese as a dadao. As this name literally means "big knife", the song was also known as "The Big Sword March", despite the dadao more closely resembling a machete. Guizi—literally, "the hateful one(s)"—was a racial epithet formerly used against the Western powers during the failed Boxer Rebellion; the anthem helped popularize its use in reference to the Japanese, which remains current in modern China.

The lyrics were later changed to broaden its appeal from just the 29th to the "entire nation’s" armed forces.[1] This song became the de facto army marching cadence in the Republican National Revolutionary Army. The Chinese television series known in English as Chop! in fact used the song's opening line as its title. It also appears in the films Lust, Caution and The Children of Huang Shi.


Traditional Simplified Hanyu Pinyin English translation
大刀向鬼子們的頭上砍去! 大刀向鬼子们的头上砍去! Dàdāo xiàng guǐzi men de tóu shàng kǎn qù! Our swords raised over the devils' heads, hack 'em off!
全國武裝的弟兄們! 全国武装的弟兄们! Quánguó wǔzhuāng de dìxiongmen! The whole nation's armed brethren,
抗戰的一天來到了, 抗战的一天来到了, Kàngzhàn de yītiān láidào liǎo, The day of our defense has come!
抗戰的一天來到了! 抗战的一天来到了! Kàngzhàn de yītiān láidào liǎo, The day of our defense has come!
前面有東北的義勇軍, 前面有东北的义勇军, Qiánmian yǒu dōngběi de yìyǒngjūn, In front, the nor'east volunteers!
後面有全國的老百姓, 后面有全国的老百姓, Hòumian yǒu quánguó de lǎo bǎixìng, In the rear, The populace of the entire nation!
咱們中國軍隊勇敢前進, 咱们中国军队勇敢前进, Zánmen Zhōngguó jūnduì yǒnggǎn qiánjìn, Our Chinese army, valiantly advancing!
看準那敵人! 看准那敌人! Kàn zhǔn nà dírén! See there! The Enemy!
把他消滅,把他消滅! 把他消灭,把他消灭! Bǎ tā xiāomiè, bǎ tā xiāomiè! Destroy them! Destroy them!
衝啊! 冲啊! Chōng a! Charge!
大刀向鬼子們的頭上砍去, 大刀向鬼子们的头上砍去, Dàdāo xiàng guǐzi men de tóu shàng kǎn qù! Our swords raised o'er the devils' heads, hack 'em off!
殺! 杀! Shā! Kill!


  1. ^ a b Lei, Bryant. "New Songs of the Battlefield": Songs and Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, p. 85. University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh), 2004.

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