Daisyfield Archive of Japanese Traditional Music
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|Song Title||View or Listen|
|O-Edo-Nihonbashi||お江戸日本橋||mus pdf mid xml|
This song dates to the Edo Period (1603-1867). “Edo” is the old name for Tokyo, and “O-Edo” is an alternate form of “Edo”. Yet another rendering of the city's name is "Yedo". The Nihon Bridge used to be the last bridge you crossed as you left Tokyo toward the south.
"O-Edo-Nihonbashi" is about a feudal baron’s journey to the Imperial city of Kyoto, to pay homage to the emperor. (Powils-Okano, p.54)
Rudolf Dittrich, in his 1895 song collection (see below) gives the following text, in Japanese, German, and English. (The explanations below of the Japanese words and names are also from Dittrich.)
O Yedo Nihon-bashi
Hatsu no tabi
*Kocha e, *kocha e!
(Volkslied mit Shamisen-Begleitung)
Von der Nihon-bashi in Yedo
Sind wir um vier Uhr Morgens
Zu unserer ersten Reise
In geordnetem Zuge aufgebrochen;-
Nun wir in Takanawa*** sind,
Bricht schon der Tag an,
Und wir können unsere Handlaternen auslöschen!
Kocha e, kocha e!
(Popular Song with Shamisen accompaniment)
From the Nihon-Bashi in Yedo
We started at four in the morning
On our first journey
in orderly procession.
Now that we are in Takanawa,***
The day is already breaking
And we may extinguish our lanterns.
Kocha e, kocha e!
*"The Nihon-Bashi ("Japan Bridge") is a stone arched bridge
in the centre of **Yedo (now called Tokyo.) From this bridge all the distances
through the whole empire are measured"—Rudolf Dittrich, 1895.
***"Takanawa is the first halting place on the celebrated imperial highway ('Tokaido') connecting Tokyo with Otsu (near Kyoto)"—Rudolf Dittrich, 1895.
"O-Edo-Nihonbashi" appears in Giocomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly. It occurs in Act I when Butterfly's friends congratulate her. Also, a fragment of the song occurs in Act II in the clarinet, just before Sharpless and Butterfly begin their conversation.
For a list of Puccini's Japanese songs and where they occur in the opera, see Japanese Songs in Puccini's Madama Butterfly on this website.
Dittrich, Rudolf, Nippon Gakufu, Second Series (“Ten Japanese Songs collected and arranged for the Pianoforte”), Breitkopf and Härtel, Leipzig, 1895.
Nagai, Y., and Kobatake, K., Japanese Popular Music, A Collection of the Popular Music of Japan Rendered in to the Staff Notation, S. Miki & Co., Nos. 106 and 107 Shinsaibashi Road, Osaka, 1892.
Powils-Okano, Kimiyo, Puccinis "Madama Butterfly", Verlag für systematische Musikwissenschaft GmbH, Bonn, 1986 (in German).