Shabondama

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Shabondama (シャボン玉?, lit. "Soap Bubbles") is a Japanese nursery rhyme written by Ujō Noguchi in 1922. It is widely taught in Japanese nursery schools and kindergartens as a simple melody; it is also sometimes used in elementary school moral education courses, where students learn that it is a meditation on the death of a child.

Noguchi's daughter Midori died at the age of just 7 days in 1908. In the Meiji period, the infant mortality rate was quite high and 20 to 30 percent of children died before reaching schooling age. It was common to have many children to aim for success of the household, but Noguchi was divorced, and he thus mourned the loss of his only child for a long time.

It is widely believed that Noguchi, seeing the girls in his village play with bubbles, was reminded of the brief existence of his daughter, and wrote this poem on that occasion. However, other than the above facts, the direct inspiration for the song is unknown.

The tune is a modification of the Christian hymn "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know".

It is used as the melody for departing trains in Yumoto Station, Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

Lyrics[edit]

Japanese

シャボン玉飛んだ
屋根まで飛んだ
屋根まで飛んで
こわれて消えた

シャボン玉消えた
飛ばずに消えた
産まれてすぐに
こわれて消えた

風、風、吹くな
シャボン玉飛ばそ

English

The soap bubble flew
It flew up to the roof
But reaching the roof,
It broke and was no more

The soap bubble broke
It broke before flying
So soon after it was born,
It broke and was no more

Wind, wind, don't you cry
Let my bubble fly

External links[edit]