Warabe uta

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Warabe uta(童歌) are traditional Japanese songs, similar to nursery rhymes. They are often sung as part of traditional children's games. They are described as a form of min'yo: traditional Japanese songs, usually sung without accompanying instruments.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Nursery rhyme traditional song or poem for children

A nursery rhyme is a traditional poem or song for children in Britain and many other countries, but usage of the term only dates from the late 18th/early 19th century. The term Mother Goose rhymes is interchangeable with nursery rhymes.


The centuries-old lyrics are often incomprehensible to modern Japanese (especially to children who are singing it), and others can be quite sinister on close analysis.[ citation needed ] Like many children's songs around the world, because people are used to them from an early age, they are often oblivious to the real meanings.

Examples of warabe uta


"Tōryanse" is often played as an electronic tune at pedestrian crossings in Japan to signal when it is safe to cross.

"Tōryanse" (通りゃんせ) is the name of the traditional Japanese children's tune. It is a common choice for music played by traffic lights in Japan when it is safe to cross.

(When infant mortality was high, people traditionally celebrated when a child survived to reach the age of 7. See Shichigosan)

Infant mortality

Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five mortality rate, which is referred to as the child mortality rate, is also an important statistic, considering the infant mortality rate focuses only on children under one year of age.

This particular warabe-uta is sung as part of a traditional game identical to "London Bridge Is Falling Down". Two children facing each other link their hands to form an arch 'checkpoint', and the remaining children walk through underneath in a line (and back round again in circles). The child who happens to be under the arch when the song finishes is then 'caught'.

London Bridge Is Falling Down nursery rhyme from England

"London Bridge Is Falling Down" is a traditional English nursery rhyme and singing game, which is found in different versions all over the world. It deals with the depredations of London Bridge and attempts, realistic or fanciful, to repair it. It may date back to bridge rhymes and games of the Late Middle Ages, but the earliest records of the rhyme in English are from the seventeenth century. The lyrics were first printed in close to their modern form in the mid-eighteenth century and became popular, particularly in Britain and the United States during the 19th century.

The tune is played at Japanese pedestrian crossings by analogy with this game, i.e., it is safe to cross until the music stops.


A teru teru bōzu is a little traditional hand-made doll which supposedly brings sunshine. "Teru" is a Japanese verb which describes sunshine, and a "bōzu" is a Buddhist monk. Children make teru-teru-bōzu out of tissue paper and a string and hang them from a window to wish for sunny weather. There is a famous warabe uta which is about the small ghost-like dolls which people can see hanging on rainy days.

The lyrics are allegedly about a story of a monk who promised farmers to stop rain and bring clear weather during a prolonged period of rain which was ruining crops. When the monk failed to bring sunshine, he was executed.


Yuki() is a song Japanese children sing when it's snowing and they want to play outside. 'Yuki' means 'Snow' in Japanese. The song is also commonly known as 雪やこんこ (Yuki ya konko) The snow falls densely.

A kotatsu is a low, heated table. In the first stanza, flowers blooming in winter probably refers to the snow collecting on empty branches. The literal translation of the line is something like "No withered trees remaining, flowers bloom".

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