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Voices from the CanefieldsFolksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i$

Franklin Odo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199813032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199813032.001.0001

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(p.195) Other Poetry and Songs

(p.195) Other Poetry and Songs

Source:
Voices from the Canefields
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

English

Japanese

Chapter

As we toil in the sugar cane fields

Satō kibibatake no

2

They watch and learn

Teire wo mite mo

Education for our children

Ko no kyōiku

Back in Yamaguchi prefecture

Suwa de ojorō wa

3

A prostitute earns 35 sen

Sanjūgosen

But a factory girl here [in Gifu]

Kikai kōjo wa

Settles for one lousy potato

Imo hitotsu

I am the son of Japanese immigrants

Moto wo tadaseba imin no segare

7

We built the foundations of this Hawaiian paradise

Rakudo Hawai no ishizue

Our two generations, my parents and mine

Oyako nidai de kizukishi mono wo

What might have caused this wretched fate?

Nan no nan no inga no kankin zo

I don’t brag about

Washi ga nyōbō wo

4

My wife with her

Homeru ja nai ga

Fat round face and

Bota mochi kao ni

Pug nose

Shishibana

I regret that

Oshimuraku

7

For me the new naturalization law

Ware ni kikaken

Was too late

Ososugita

If you lose your voice

Koe ga dennara

1

Lick the horse's ass

Uma no ketsu nebure

From the horse's ass

Uma no ketsu kara

There will come a voice

Koe ga deru

English

Japanese

Chapter

In any household when

Dōken no

3

Husband and wife fight

Fūfu genka mo

Fifty-fifty

Gobu gobu

In today's Hawai`i

Ima ja Hawai de yō—

5

I became a citizen

Shichizenshippu totte

I babysit the third generation

Sansei no mori wo suru

Talking about the second and third generations

Nisei sansei to yō—

But even as we were counting

Kazoeru uchi ni

Here comes the fourth!

Hayame yonsei no ko ga

Kona is way too tough

Kona to yū no wa

6

For me

Ammari hidoi

Kohala is better

Watash’ya Kohara ga

I’ll go there

Tatsu wai na

Mistress, listen well

Goryō yoku kike

2

Master, listen too

Danna mo kike yo

If you mistreat the nursemaid

Omori waru sur’ya

The child will suffer too

Ko ni ataru

No matter what

Dōse kono mi wa

5

I’ll end up feeding

Benten Oki no

The fish in the

Sakana no ejiki to

Bay of Benten

Naru wai na

On his horse

Uma tsukai

3

Swearing mightily

Daikatsu hitogoe

The luna kicks me

Runa ni kerare

On Molokai

Morokai no

1

How filthy with fleas and mosquitoes

Nomi ka no fuketsu ni

We are simply overcome

Heikō shi

Once again to Hawai`i

Hawai e saido

5

I did nine years before

Mae kyūnen

Looking at three more

Ato sannen

Once upon a time

Hitomukashi

7

I longed for the right to

Mae ni kikaken

Become a citizen

Hoshikatta

Our Island of Molokai

Nihon de no

1

In Japan it would be

Morokai shima wa

The sacred Way of the Great Buddhist Sages

Daishidō

Peace talks

Nisshin danpan

1

Between Japan and China fail

Haretsu shite

I board the ship, Azuma,

Shinagawa noridasu

And depart from Shinagawa in Tokyo

Azumabune

Pity the poor couple

Fūfu de

1

On Molokai

Morokai aware

Bound by bad karma

Ma no kusare en

Plantation storms

Kōchi no arashi

3

Sometimes appear as

Tokidoki okoru

Strikes!

Sutoraiki

Stripping the cane leaves

Kibi no ha mushiri

2

I long to trash my

Furugoromo wo

Old work clothes

Nugu kokoro

Sturdy soldiers of a wealthy nation

Fukoku no kyōhei

1

A hoe on the shoulder;

Kata ni hō

Cane knife at the belt

Koshi ni kennaifu

Teahouses during

Ryōriya no

3

Prohibition

Kinshu to narite

Are like the shamisen

Sami to tomo ni

Hitting the wrong chord

Choshi ga nukete

Or, settling for tea

Ocha wo hiku

The boss, after a big catch

Oyakata tairyō de

3

Drinks delicious sake

Umai sake nonde

We—all go hungry

Oretachi himojute

Can’t even afford tea

Cha mo nomenu

The cane drifts down the flume

Kibi wa furomu de

5

To the mill

Miru ni nagare

As for me—where will

Waga mi wa doko e

Life's currents take me

Nagaru yara

The fields are so tranquil

Hōhana uta ni

5

Songs from workers hoeing weeds

Kōchi wa nodoka

Sugar cane, growing so green

Satō soso

Until you are 100

Anta hyaku made yō—

5, 6

And I, 99

Wash’ya kujūku made

We’ll be together

Tomo ni shiraga no

White hair and all

Haeru made ni

(hayashi kotoba)

Aaaa—come along, come along

Aaaa—Tsuite koi, tsuite koi

English

Japanese

Chapter

Why now?

Ima sara

7

We can become citizens

Kika nado

But way too old

Toshi wo torisugiru

Wife-stealing and lewd women

Kakeochi kanpu

4

Are just everywhere

Kagiri nai

The prostitutes all have husbands

Teishu motanai jorō wa nai

The selling of wives

Nyōbō no baibai

How absurd!

Rachi ga nai

Wife-stealing and lewd women

Kakeochi kanpu

3

Are just everywhere

Kagiri nai

The prostitutes all have patrons

Teishu motanai jorō wa nai

The selling of wives

Nyōbō no baibai

(p.196) (p.197) (p.198)