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About "Kimigayo"

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Kimigayo 君が代 mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml

Title in English: "Imperial Reign"


“Kimigayo” is the Japanese national anthem.  Text is an old poem, author unknown.  Tune is by Yoshiisa Oku and Akimori Hayashi, c. 1880.  The Japanese government employed a German, Franz von Eckert, to harmonize the song.


May our gracious Emperor reign,
Till a thousand, yea ten thou-sand years shall roll,
Till the sand in the brooklet grows to stone,
And the moss from these pebbles emeralds make!.

Ki-mi ga yo wa Chi-yo ni
ya-chi-yo ni Sa-za-re ish-i no I wa-o to na-ri-te,
Ko-ke, no mu su ma de



Note the spare harmonization, especially in the opening and closing measures, where the only harmony consists of octave doubling of the melody.  This conforms to Japanese musical taste and tradition.

Part of "Kimigayo" appears in Giocomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, in Act I when the Imperial Commissioner and Registrar arrive. 

For a list of Puccini's Japanese songs and where they occur in the Madama Butterfly, see Japanese Songs in Puccini's Madama Butterfly on this website.


Hara, Kunio, Puccini's Use of Japanese Melodies in Madama Butterfly, Master's thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2003.  Download from http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?ucin1060955367 [Large pdf file, 3MB].

"Kimi ga Yo." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Oct 2006, 07:37 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 6 Oct 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kimi_ga_Yo&oldid=79612110>.

Powils-Okano, Kimiyo, Puccinis "Madama Butterfly", Verlag für systematische Musikwissenschaft GmbH, Bonn, 1986 (in German).

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