YOSHIKO YAMAGUCHI – SOOCHOW SERENADE (1940)

lyrics by YASO SAIJO | music by RYOICHI HITTORI

This is a pop standard in Japan, and it’s been covered by a diverse amount of artists, including Togawa Jun herself (on the Guernica demo tape, as well as during live performances). It is emblematic of early 1940s Japanese pop, though Yamaguchi herself had a career both in Japan and in China. I believe she had a few roles in American films as well?

Translation and notes are under the cut:

What I hear as I am wrapped in your arms
Are the shanties of dreams, and songs of birds
Do you hold dear those springs,
flowers falling onto the waters in Soochow? (1)
The weeping willows sob

The flow of the water carries away the floating petals
Though I know not where I will be tomorrow
Oh please, our figures reflected
In the water tonight – may they never vanish

“Have you something in your hair?” “Shall we kiss?”
You pick a flower from the peach tree
Moved to tears underneath hazy moonlight
The bells of Hanshan (2) ring out


1: Soochow is the former romanization of Suzhou.
2: Hanshan is a temple located in Suzhou.

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