Cool chinese poem

Yet another cool poem from my daughter’s TV show Nihongo de asobo on NHK. Although it’s a Japanese show, the poem is by Chinese poet Mèng Hàorán, who in Japanese is known as Mōkōnen (孟浩然). He was one of many famous poets during China’s Tang Dynasty:1

Meng Haoran on Wikipedia

The poem is titled A Spring Morning (春暁):

春眠暁を覚えず shunmin akatsuki wo oboezu
処処に啼鳥と聞く sho sho ni teichō to kiku
夜来風雨の声 yarai fūu no koe
花落つること hana otsuru koto
知んぬ多少ぞ shinnu tashōzo

The translation, from the original Chinese, is as follows:

I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds –
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms were broken.

Also, here are other poems by Meng Haoran.


1 Which in turn had a huge, huge impact on Japanese culture, especially during the Nara and Heian Period. The court aristocracy of Kyoto was deeply influenced by trends in Tang Dynasty China, as was Buddhism at the time (and even beyond).

2 thoughts on “Cool chinese poem

  1. That video is enough to make me a fan of Nomura Mansai. He is an actor of kyogen, a comedic version of Noh. He uses the kyogen style of proclaiming the dialogue very effectively; maybe he is giving the kids who watch the show a taste for kyogen. He is wearing a kyogen costume as well.

    I tried to read the poem (and I succeeded in reading the translation!) before watching the video. The musical setting of the poem seemed to destroy the feeling that I had from the poem. Turning the depth of the poem into a pop song. The big guy (and one of the singers) is former sumo wrestler Konishiki (born in Samoa or Hawaii?).

    Even though I like Nomura Mansai’s part of this video, it is still not enough to convince me I need a TV.


  2. Yeah, that’s Konishiki. This show brings in a lot of specialty celebrities who play certain recurring roles, like Nomura Mansai and others. One fellow is really good with the shamisen. Yeah, I never heard of Nomura Mansai, but I really like his acting on the show, so I too am a fan. 😀

    I happen to see the skit before the poem, so I have to admit I like the song actually. It’s cute, and interprets the poem in a cute way, particularly the first line, 春眠暁を覚えず, which can be interpreted elsewhere as “In spring one sleeps a sleep that knows no dawn”. Hence the “sleep” motif.

Comments are closed.