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2005年3月21日 (月)

New grads give top honors to principal's song


 知らなかった。そんなお年をめした方だったのか。小生ももっと張り切らなければ、、。(^^;  それにしても歌も素晴らしいが、このエピソードも心に沁みる実にいい話しだ。英和対訳でゆっくり読み込むことでより深く味わえたような気がする。これからも出来るだけ続けていきます。


New grads give top honors to principal's song


In a recent survey, Ongaku no Tomo Sha Corp. asked 230 music teachers around the nation what song their students were singing for the graduation ceremony.

The result was a bit of a surprise. ``Hotaru-no Hikari'' (Glow of fireflies), the traditional standard number for the occasion, ranked only third. ``Aogeba Totoshi'' (Song of gratitude), another perennial favorite, did not even make the top 10 list.



The song that won the most number of votes was ``Tabidachi-no Hi-ni'' (The day of departure). I wonder if readers have heard it.

The song was born 14 years ago in the music classroom of a municipal junior high school in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture. The then-principal, Noboru Kojima, 74, wrote the lyrics overnight and asked the music teacher to put them to music the following morning.


``The song was meant as a present for the graduating students,'' explained Kojima when I saw him to hear his story. ``All the teachers got up on the platform and sang the song. This was supposed to be a one-time performance.''

Kojima reached his mandatory retirement age in March that year, but the song stayed. The following year, a music magazine printed the score just before the graduation season, and many primary, junior high and senior high schools around the nation picked it up. The simple lyrics caught the hearts of youngsters: ``The voice of my dear old friend/ Suddenly comes back/ With the memory of that time/I wept when we fought over something silly.''


The song reminds me of the late singer-songwriter Yutaka Ozaki, who gave expression to the frustrations of young people. It is also similar in feeling to ``Okuru Kotoba'' (A present of words) by singer-actor Tetsuya Takeda.

Kojima, however, said of his work, ``I was trying to emulate the world of Bokusui Wakayama, a poet who wrote about dreams and longing.''


``Hotaru-no Hikari'' and ``Aogeba Totoshi'' were created in the early years of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Strongly reflective of the educational philosophy of that era, the lyrics urge students to work diligently to serve the nation and get ahead in life to repay their teachers.


``The old literary style of those lyrics is a bit too sophisticated for today's kids to really appreciate,'' noted Kojima.

In a departure from the past, many schools now let their students choose the song for the graduation ceremony. Instead of the traditional, government-approved numbers, Kojima's song, which is something of a summation of his 40-year teaching career, is being sung and heard around the nation this month.


--The Asahi Shimbun, March 6(IHT/Asahi: March 21,2005)


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