TOGAWA JUN UNIT – QUALIFIED TO BE HUMAN [NINGEN GOUKAKU] (1985)

lyrics and music by JUN TOGAWA

The title to this song is most likely a reference to the famous novel by Osamu Dazai, which has a similar title – Ningen Shikkaku, or No Longer Human in English. A literal translation of the title is, according to Donald Keene, Disqualified from Being Human, and as there’s not really an easy way to make an inverted title for No Longer Human, I’ve rendered it as a take-off on the literal title. I’ve also seen it given as “Successful Human,” but I don’t think that really captures the same nuances.

Translation and notes under the cut:

One day in summer
While standing on the poolside
Hit by the splash from
The pool you dove into, I understood:
The smell of sweat
The smell of spit
The smell of piss
The smell of humans
They’re all such human smells

One day in winter
At the crematorium
I cried and saw off a person who’d gone
The pure white smoke rose
The smell of bone
The simply human smell of
That burning black hair
They’re all such human smells

One day in spring
In a boy’s room
Did he hear it from someone?
Did he read it in a book?
The smell of humans
That resembled chestnut trees
It’s such a human smell

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