National Anthem of the Republic of China

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National Anthem of the Republic of China
National anthem of ROC score.gif
Sheet music

National anthem of  Republic of China
Lyrics From a speech by Sun Yat-sen, 1924
Music Cheng Maoyun, 1928
Adopted 1937 (de facto)
1943 (de jure)
Music sample

The latest National Anthem of the Republic of China was adopted in 1937; previously, Song to the Auspicious Cloud was used as the official anthem of the Republic of China (ROC). In Taiwan, it remains the national anthem of the ROC government which remains there; but in mainland China, the anthem serves a historical role. The national anthem of the People's Republic of China is March of the Volunteers.

The anthem's words are adapted from a 1924 speech by Sun Yat-sen, via the anthem of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) in 1937. The lyrics relate to how the vision and hopes of a new nation and its people can be achieved and maintained. Informally, the song is sometimes known as San Min Chu-i from its opening line which references the Three Principles of the People (Sanmin Zhuyi), but this name is never used in formal or official occasions.

History[edit]

The text of was the collaboration between several Kuomintang (KMT) party members: Hu Hanmin, Dai Jitao, Liao Zhongkai, and Shao Yuanchong. The text debuted on July 16, 1924 as the opening of a speech by Sun Yat-sen at the opening ceremony of the Whampoa Military Academy. After the success of the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang party chose the text to be its party anthem and publicly solicited for accompanying music. Cheng Maoyun won in a contest of 139 participants.

On March 24, 1930, numerous Kuomintang party members proposed to use the speech by Sun as the lyrics to the national anthem. The national anthem of the republic was the Song to the Auspicious Cloud. Due to opposition over using a symbol of a political party to represent the entire nation, the National Anthem Editing and Research Committee (國歌編製研究委員會) was set up, which endorsed the KMT party song. On June 3, 1937, the Central Standing Committee (中央常務委員會) approved the proposal, and in 1943, the song officially became the national anthem of the Republic of China.

Lyrics[edit]

National Anthem of the Republic of China
ROCanthemBySunYatSen.jpg
The original Whampoa Military Academy speech in Sun's handwriting.
Traditional Chinese 中華民國國歌
Simplified Chinese 中华民国国歌
Hanyu Pinyin Zhōnghuá Mínguó guógē
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 三民主義
Simplified Chinese 三民主义
Hanyu Pinyin Sānmín Zhǔyì
Literal meaning Three Principles of the People
Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese

ㄙㄢㄇㄧㄣˊㄓㄨˇㄧˋㄨˊㄉㄤˇㄙㄨㄛˇㄗㄨㄥ
ㄧˇㄐㄧㄢˋㄇㄧㄣˊㄍㄨㄛˊㄧˇㄐㄧㄣˋㄉㄚˋㄊㄨㄥˊ
ㄦˇㄉㄨㄛㄕˋㄨㄟˋㄇㄧㄣˊㄑㄧㄢˊㄈㄥ
ㄙㄨˋㄧㄝˋㄈㄟˇㄒㄧㄝˋㄓㄨˇㄧˋㄕˋㄘㄨㄥˊ
ㄕˇㄑㄧㄣˊㄕˇㄩㄥˇㄅㄧˋㄒㄧㄣㄅㄧˋㄓㄨㄥ
ㄧˋㄒㄧㄣㄧˋㄉㄜˊㄍㄨㄢˋㄔㄜˋㄕˇㄓㄨㄥ

三民(Sānmín)主义(zhǔyì)()(dǎng)(suǒ)(zōng)
()(jiàn)民国(Mínguó)()(jìn)大同(dàtóng)
()(ěr)多士(duōshì)(wèi)(mín)前锋(qiánfēng)
夙夜(Sùyè)(fěi)(xiè)主义(zhǔyì)(shì)(cóng)
(Shǐ)(qín)(shǐ)(yǒng)()(xìn)()(zhōng)
()(xīn)()()贯彻(guànchè)(shǐ)(zhōng)

The lyrics are in classical literary Chinese. For example,

  • ěr () is a literary equivalent of both singular and plural "you" (which are differentiated in modern Chinese) depending on the context. In this case, it is plural "you".
  • fěi () is a classical synonym of "not" ( fēi). And
  • () is a classical, archaic interjection, and is not used in this sense in the modern vernacular language.

In this respect, the national anthem of the Republic of China stands in contrast to the People's Republic of China's "The March of the Volunteers", which was written a few years later entirely in modern vernacular Chinese.

As well as being written in classical Chinese, the national anthem follows classical poetic conventions. The ancient Fu style follows that of a four-character poem, where the last character of each line rhymes in -ong or -eng, which are equivalent in ancient Chinese.

English translations[edit]

The official translation by Du Tingxiu appears in English-language guides to the ROC published by the government.

Official[edit]

Official Literal
San Min Chu-i,

Our aim shall be:
To found a free land,
World peace, be our stand.
Lead on, comrades,
Vanguards ye are.
Hold fast your aim,
By sun and star.
Be earnest and brave,
Your country to save,
One heart, one soul,
One mind, one goal...

Three Principles of the People,

The foundation of our party.
Using [this], [we] establish the Republic;
Using [this], [we] advance into a state of total peace.
Oh, you, righteous men,
For the people, [be] the vanguard.
Without resting day or night,
Follow the Principles.
Swear [to be] diligent; swear [to be] courageous.
Obliged to be trustworthy; obliged to be loyal.
[With] one heart and one virtue,
[We] carry through until the very end.

Lines seven and eight of the Du and literal translations seem to vary dramatically, but the Du translation is actually just in inverse order, probably to suit a more natural English word order. The words "day" and "night" are replaced by the metonyms "sun" and "star". Being so compact and concise, classical Chinese poetry allows for a great amount of license in interpretation.

The real differences are caused by the official interpretations, where some political and martial words have had their other connotations emphasized:

  1. "Our party" (吾黨) has been extended to be "our alliance", meaning "of us together", including the non-party members. (Translated in the Du version as "our")
  2. "Warriors" (多士) personifies the persistence and fighting spirits in all citizens, including the civilians. ("Comrades")
  3. "Vanguard" (前鋒) symbolizes the "model citizens".

The "great unity" (大同) has been interpreted to mean "total world harmony" (世界大同) and is a Confucian term used in the Great Learning as the ultimate aim that humans should strive for. In the nineteenth century, the term was also occasionally used as a translation of the term "socialism" (共産); the later popular Chinese term for communism was coined by Japanese and has no Confucian morphological roots. Sun Yat-sen's philosophy was that by providing for a strong China which could relate to the world as an equal, world harmony could be achieved.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Reed W. L. and Bristow M. J. (eds.) (2002) "National Anthems of the World", 10 ed., London
  • Cassell, p. 526. ISBN 0-304-36382-0

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Song to the Auspicious Cloud
(1913–1928)
Three Principles of the People
1943–present
(1943-1949 in the Mainland)
Succeeded by
March of the Volunteers
(1949-1966 and 1976-today), in the Mainland