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Kaji Meiko Lyrics - Urami Bushi


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By popular demand...

After reviewing the very cool Kaji Meiko CD, which, by the way, is both highly addictive and soothing in that sexy kimono-clad, sword-wielding, gonna-cut-your-heart-out-and-leave-you-bleeding sort of way, I have been inundated with requests to translate her lyrics.

So here I have translated perhaps the most (recently) famous of Kaji's tunes, Urami Bushi, the so-called "Grudge Song". (More lyric translations are soon forthcoming.)

The lesson I have learned from this exercise is the following: Gentlemen, if you EVER hear your significant other singing or even humming this tune, I seriously recommend to IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE the premises. You can thank me later.


Urami Bushi [???] is the theme song of Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion and is sung by the film's lead femme fatale Kaji Meiko (????). This and another of her songs were recently used by Quentin Tarantino in both volumes 1 & 2 of Kill Bill.

If you are interested in Kaji's songs, she released an audio CD containing 20 songs from this same (early 1970s) era, all of which she sings and several of which are theme songs from films she played the lead role in.

The following English lyrics are my own LITERAL translation and are not intended to be (nor are they in any sense of the words) rhythmic or poetic. To date, I do not believe these lyrics have yet been formally translated into English, and so I would ask that you (correctly) treat the following as a uniquely SaruDama contribution.

Urami Bushi [???] (Bitter Melody / aka Grudge Song)

?????? ?????
??????? ???????
??? ??? ????? ???

Hanayo kireito odaterare
Saitte misereba sugu chiraseraru
Baka-na Baka-na Baka-na onna-no urami bushi

The flower, if it is pretty, becomes flattered
(Then) If it shows itself in full blossom, soon its petals are scattered
Foolish! Foolish! Foolish woman's bitter melody.

-----------

?????? ?????
??????? ???????
? ??? ???? ???

Sadane kanashito akiramete
Naki o misereba mata nakasareru
Onna onna onna-no namida-no urami bushi

If fate is harsh, you must accept it
If you show yourself crying, you will be forced to cry again
A Woman, a woman, a woman's tears' bitter melody*

-----------

?????? ????
???????? ??????
?????? ????????

Nikui kuyashii yursenai
kesunai kisenai wasurarenai
Tsukinu tsukinu tsukinu onna-no urami bushi

This hateful regret, I cannot forgive
It is not erased. I does not disappear. I cannot forget it.
Pierced through, pierced through. Pierced through woman's bitter melody.

-----------

????? ?????
??????? ???????
???? ????? ???

Yuumei-yo mirento warawarete
Samete misemasu mada samekireru
Onna onna onna gokoro-no urami bushi

When dreams bring lingering regret, laugh
If they appear while you're awake, don't close your eyes
A woman, a woman, a woman's heart's bitter melody

-----------

??????? ?????
??????? ????????
?????? ????? ???

Makka-na bara-nya toge ga aru
Sashitaka naiga sasazu nya okanu
Moeru moeru moeru onna-no urami bushi

The most brilliantly red rose has many thorns
If the (thorn's) wound was not deep, it was not fate to wound deeply
Burning, burning. Burning woman's bitter melody.

-----------

?????? ??????
???? ?????
???? ????? ???

Shinde hanami** ga saku jyanashi
Urami hitosuji ikite iku
Onna onna onna-no inochi-no urami bushi

The dying fruit of the flower*, it can no longer bloom
In blind bitterness it lives out its days
A woman, a woman, a woman's life's bitter melody.

??[END]

[Notes:
* A more readable English translation here and in the other verses would be something like "The bitter melody of a woman's tears", but this song makes a point of ending each verse with the phrase "bitter melody".

** The term hanami also carries a metaphorical reference to the "interior and exterior" -- here referring to the singer's heart (interior) and body (exterior).]

11 Comments


hey, i'm glad i found someone who also likes meiko kaji, but i have to say that there are some mistakes in the japanese text and also in their translation, anyway, good luck!


Thank you very much. I love the songs of Kaji. And now, knowing the lyric, I love it even more.


People..
Meiko Kaji is the best singer ever she's amazing
i'm new to Japanese language so it was very little the things that i understood so thanks for th English lyrics..!
I'm glad that i've got it..!


i do not know Japanese. I came to know of this song through kill bill movie.Ever since i`ve been listening to this song.Thanks for the translation now the song meaning is much clear.


i heard it from Kill Bill and have become a fan of Kaji. Ordered the audio CD and feel she's got a terrific voice, beautifully played, lyrics. I would love to see her in person (if she is still out there). Namaste!


this song is great. its got meaning and is sung by a beautiful voice


Hi,

Thanks for all your work. There is a translation mistake for ???.
I think that it is in fact the negative form of ???, to be
exhausted and thus rather than "Pierced through" it should be
translated as "un exhaustable " (don't think it is correct
english) which makes more sens.



Wow, thanks Scott, that was full learning from a great song. We all feel the words without speaking Japanese, but reading it all in english, confirmed that it's really well write.


Scott - thank you SO much for providing an actual translation of the
lyrics to "Urami Bushi". The only English lyrics available are
hollow transliterations, devoid of sense and beauty. Yours are both
very meaningful and aesthetically rich.


This song changed my
perspective to towards music
for life.in nigeria here,no
one cares abt d japanese
language but I think its d
most beautiful language on
earth.thanks for the
translation.I love meiko even
more now


I love the songs in Kill Bill very much even though i dont know Japanese. Thanks to Scott now i understand the meaning and so my feeling is deeper.

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