2014/03/10

Yon no Uta

Released on 2014 Feb. 26th, included in the first album.
Lyric: BLACK BABYMETAL / Music: BLACK BABYMETAL / Arr.: tatsuo, KxBxMETAL

This song is made and sung by MOAMETAL (R ch) & YUIMETAL (L ch).

Yon no Uta (Song of 4)

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!

After one is two. [ Hey! Hey! ]
After two is three. [ Hey! Hey! ]
After three is, woo, four. [ Four! ]

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!

Before seven is six. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Before six is five. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Before five is, woo, four. [ Four! ]

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!

"4" is for "happiness".
And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
"4" is for "failure".
"4" is for "favor-asking". [ Four! ]

"4" is for "happiness".
And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
"4" is for "vitamin C".
"4" is for "joy".
Four. Four. Four. Four. [ Four! ]

Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Oops-a-daisy! ]
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Heave ho! ]

Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Goody! ]
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Delicious! ]

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!

After one is two. [ Hey! Hey! ]
After two is three. [ Hey! Hey! ]
After three is, woo, four. [ Four! ]

Before seven is six. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Before six is five. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Before five is, woo, four. [ Four! ]

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!

"4" is for "happiness".
And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
"4" is for "failure".
"4" is for "social reform". [ Four! ]

"4" is for "happiness".
And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
"4" is for "delicious".
"4" is for "joy".
Four. Four. Four. Four. [ Four! ]

Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!



  ROMAJI LYRIC AND NOTES ARE BELOW.


[i] About Japanese Reading of Numbers and Superstition

The number 4 has two readings in Japanese: native "yottsu" (yon, yo) and "shi" from (ancient) Chinese. Many people associate the number 4 with death because both are read as "shi", and they tend to avoid the number 4. This is common in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. (the pronunciations differ a bit from that of Japanese). For example, many Japanese parking lots lack #4 & #9 (both 9 and pain are read as "ku").

This song is probably sung against such a superstition, claiming to associate the number 4 not with bad things but with good things.

Unnecessary addition: since there are two or more readings for each number in Japanese, the Japanese have invented many mnemonics for important numbers (mathematical, historical, etc). For example, root 5 = 2.2360679 = Fuji sanroku oomu naku. = A parrot calls at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

[ii] About Songwriting of Miss Moa, Miss Yui & Miss Suzuka

Miss Moa said (in some magazines) she & Miss Yui made this song during their Singapore tour (2013 Sep.?), and they kept on singing this song then, so the staff complained about it. And you may find the childish songs they made in their twelve somewhere in the internet. She seems to have made a few more songs.

Miss Suzuka said (in some magazines) she longs to be a singer-songwriter and she has made and written down many poems or fragments of poem in her notebooks. Not a few fans are waiting for those notebooks leaked out, holding the guitar or sitting at the piano.


Yon no Uta (Song of 4  *0)

Romaji LyricEnglish TranslationNotes
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!1
 
Ichi no tsugi wa ni. [ HEY! HEY! ] After one is two. [ Hey! Hey! ]2
Ni no tsugi wa san. [ HEY! HEY! ] After two is three. [ Hey! Hey! ]
San no tsugi wa, uu, yon. [ Four! ] After three is, woo, four. [ Four! ]3
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
 
Nana no mae wa roku. [ HEY! HEY! ] Before seven is six. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Roku no mae wa go. [ HEY! HEY! ] Before six is five. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Go no mae wa, uu, yon. [ Foo! ] Before five is, woo, four. [ Four! ]
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
 
Shiawase no shi "4" is for "happiness4
Shinu ja nai shi. [ Foo! ] And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ][i],5,3
Shippai no shi. "4" is for "failure".
Yoroshiku no yon. [ Foo! ] "4" is for "favor-asking". [ Four! ]6
 
Shiawase no shi. "4" is for "happiness".
Shinu ja nai shi. [ Foo! ] And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
Bitamin no shi. "4" is for "vitamin C".7
Yorokobi no yon. "4" is for "joy".
Yon. Yon. Yon. Yon. [ Foo! ] Four. Four. Four. Four. [ Four! ]
 
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. [ Yoishoo! ] Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Oops-a-daisy! ]8
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. [ Yokkorasho! ] Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Heave ho! ]8
 
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. [ Yosshaa! ] Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Goody! ]9
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. Four, four, four, four, four, four.
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon. [ Oishii! ] Four, four, four, four, four, four. [ Delicious! ]
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
 
Ichi no tsugi wa ni. [ HEY! HEY! ] After one is two. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Ni no tsugi wa san. [ HEY! HEY! ] After two is three. [ Hey! Hey! ]
San no tsugi wa, uu, yon. [ Four! ] After three is, woo, four. [ Four! ]
 
Nana no mae wa roku. [ HEY! HEY! ] Before seven is six. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Roku no mae wa go. [ HEY! HEY! ] Before six is five. [ Hey! Hey! ]
Go no mae wa, uu, yon. [ Foo! ] Before five is, woo, four. [ Four! ]
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
 
Shiawase no shi "4" is for "happiness
Shinu ja nai shi. [ Foo! ] And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
Shippai no shi. "4" is for "failure".
Yonaoshi no yon. [ Foo! ] "4" is for "social reform". [ Four! ]
 
Shiawase no shi. "4" is for "happiness".
Shinu ja nai shi. [ Foo! ] And it doesn't mean "to die". [ Four! ]
Oishii no shi. "4" is for "delicious".
Yorokobi no yon. "4" is for "joy".
Yon. Yon. Yon. Yon. [ Foo! ] Four. Four. Four. Four. [ Four! ]
 
Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Yon, yon! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four! Four, four!
 

Notes

  1. I hit on this translation before BABYMETAL officials began to use "Song 4" as English title. But, does it express "singing about the number 4"?
  2. In this part of live performances, YUIMETAL & MOAMETAL put their index finger on their lip. It is a gesture of "be silent!". One reading of 4 (= shi) resembles the voiceless sound "shh" associated with the gesture, and probably no more implication. (Thanks to WHENIM64-METAL san on 2015 Mar. 12th)
  3. This is "the number after one is two", and so forth.
  4. This sounds like the shout rather than English "four", the shout characteristic of a Japanese comedian, Razor Ramon H.G. (H.G. means "hard gay". Kids shouldn't search for his videos).
        But watching carefully their hands in these parts of live performance (in their World Tour 2014 Trailer and in fancam videos of concerts in Europe 2014 Jul.), they raise up one hand keeping finger signs of number 4, so I changed translation from "foh" to "four" on 2014 Jul 16th (thanks to latrell Cruz san of comment of 2014 May 5th).
  5. This is like "S is for Space", and so forth, but "shi" itself means the number 4 and written so in the official lyric. It's difficult to translate.
  6. Though written as "4" in the official lyric, this "-shi" is a grammatical particle connecting sentences. "***-shi, ---" means like "***, and also ---". But "and also ---" is often omitted, and "***-shi, +++" often means "Because *** (and some other reasons), +++". Sometimes the consequence is also omitted like this line. Then it is already said or only suggested (for this line: "so you shouldn't avoid the number 4").
  7. "Yoroshiku (onegai shimasu)." is used in various contexts, but basically to ask someone some favor. In this line, it is asking to cope with the "failure" mentioned before.
  8. More literally, "4(shi) is for that(C) of vitamins".
  9. "Yoisho(o)" and "yokkorasho" are uttered when one lifts up something heavy, raises oneself, etc. The latter is uttered in heavier cases. Replace these if you know more suitable English words.
  10. This "yossha(a)" is uttered when a good chance has come (e.g. one has drawn a good card in a card game). Replace this if you know a more suitable English word. "Yossha" is also used for agreeing.
  11. Ending with "-nai?" (contracted "-ne?") is a form of tag question. As the main part is negative, it becomes a double negation form.
  12. In most cases, Japanese "hai", "soo", etc. (= yes) are to agree with the questioner, and Japanese "iie", "chigau", etc. (= no) are to disagree with the questioner. In this case, the questioner thinks it's not the Metal, and the answerer agrees with her.

Yon no Uta (444 ver.)

The Apocalypse limited edition of the first album includes "Yon no Uta (444 ver.)". Only the latter half of Reggae part is a bit different, and the words of that part are almost the same as that of the Vega mix ver. of "IINE!".

the latter half of Reggae part of 444 ver.
Romaji LyricsTranslationNotes
 
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon.
    [ Yoyoyo!? ] [ Yoyoyo!? ]
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
    [ Four, four, four!? ] [ Four, four, four!? ]
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon.
    [ Are? Kore Metaru ja naku-nai? ]  
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
    [ Why? This is not the Metal, is it? ]  
10
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon.
    [ Metaru ja naku-ne? ]
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
    [ It's not the Metal, is it? ]
10
Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon.
    [ Soo DEATH ne! ]
Four, four, four, four, four, four.
    [ No, it isn't. ]
11
 

46 comments :

  1. As usual...and I hope this isn't getting tiring...it is sincere,
    Arigatou gozaimasu.
    ^____^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not tiring at all while working for Suzuka, Yui & Moa.

      Delete
  2. "4" is for "vitamin C". that's hillarious! nice one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Moa & Miss Yui are geniuses in word play.

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  3. Very interesting about numbers 4 & 9.

    In western countries often hotels/skyscrapers have no 13th roomnumber/floor.

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    Replies
    1. I think these numbers need not be skipped. Those who don't care or people in urgent need would take them if remained. Skipping numbers doesn't create new demands.

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  4. Japanese wordplay makes me cry tears of joy and I knew from the start this song would be a goldmine. Thank you for catering to my amusement.

    By the way: "H.G. means "hard gay". Kids shouldn't search for his videos" - I think you should include office workers in this warning as well. But I knew H.G. for many years and I don't think he's inappropriate even for kids.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, it is just the precaution for the interested kids to be careful if asking the adult "why does he shake his hips that way?", and for the kids who don't like such things not to see what they don't like.

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  5. Random question: Do you know what the "social reform" was meant to mean? I don't quite understand it.

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    Replies
    1. "Yonaoshi" (= social reform) means some challenge to change the society for the better: democratic revolution, campaign against a superstition, saying "no" to bullying, etc.

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    2. I am wondering if for the message and intent of this particular song (I know they also have the anti-bullying song) if it possibly means to reform Japanese society's negative view of the number four.

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    3. I guess the intended message is like "There are many words that have the sound 'shi' or 'yo'. Why do you associate the number 4 only with 'death'?"
      In daily life, "4" is very often read "yo/yon" to avoid the ambiguity, so the number 4 itself seldom reminds the Japanese of "death" except talking about this negative view.

      Delete
  6. In the Bible, the number 4 is actually considered a holy number. Funny how cultures around the world can be so different.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. So I think we should keep it in mind.

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  7. Sir can you explain why 'yon' is translated as 'four' then 'shiawase no shi' comes as 'four is for happiness' are there different words for numbers?
    Awesome work my friend. Babies taking over the world

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    1. Like native "foursome" and Latin-borrowed "quartet", Japanese has two ways of reading numbers: native "hitotsu futatsu mittsu yottsu ..." and borrowed from ancient Chinese "ichi ni san shi ...". They are selected according to what word comes next: "futa-tsuki" = "ni-ka-getsu" = two months, but "yon" is often used where "shi" to be used, not to be misheard as "shichi" (7).

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  8. I appreciate all the translations you do, Du Enki! Your blog has really helped me appreciate BABYMETAL more. I'd like your opinion on a theory I have on 'Yon no Uta'.

    My theory is that the Reggae music is there because it gives one the feeling that they are on a tropical island by the sea. Sea = C = Shii. So kind of a musical pun in a way. Does it sound possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That part really makes me think of some tropical sea, but what I recall is the vision, not the sound of the word "sea" (nor "umi"), so it is hard for me to hit upon. If more directly associated with the word, it will work well (e.g. the rhythm of samba and number 3 (san)).

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  9. Actually FOO is Suppose To BE Four Cause Japanese Peeps Don't Have R :D

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    1. Thank you for your opinion. Japanese pronunciation of "4" is really so, but the problem is whether the ordinary Japanese think it to be a meaningless shout or to be an English word used as a shout when they hear it. I think I was not proper to judge that, and I will reconsider that.

      Delete
  10. Just Say
    Thank You

    from
    BMID

    ReplyDelete
  11. Amazing post as always, learning a lot about BM. Thanks Du Enki!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Really hope that the girls add some lyrics and music for the new material. Some people is complaining about that because most the of the songs were made by others. So, looking forward to it.

    Thanks for your post as always!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for your detailed notes! Where do you get your info about BM? You mentioned magazines; which magazines do you follow? (In another post you also mentioned 2ch? which subforums?) I'm learning Japanese and enjoy reading original sources. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry I don't remember which magazines I read. Several magazines carry nearly the same interview, the articles are short (2p or so), but the magazines are fat and expensive, so, in most cases, I read them only once at bookstore without buying (^_^;). Suzuka spoke her wish to be a singer-songwriter here (6'10"-10'45").
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGX4bPfAQbA
      I get information about the past by searching on the internet. If the source is a personal blog, etc, I try to find plural sources.

      I posted the questions about BABYMETAL's lyrics on BABYMETAL thread in 狼 ( hello.2ch.net/morningcoffee/ ). But the threads contain only few valuable posts (10/300 a day then, 10/1000 a day now).

      Delete
  14. Are there any additional lyrics for "4 no uta (444 ver.)"?
    Because I believe I heard SU-METAL talking during the second "Yon, yo, yo, yo, yon, yon" line.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In "4 no Uta (444 ver.)", the lyrics of the second part of reggae section is modified like
      "Metaru ja naku-ne?" - "Soo desu ne!" ("It isn't the Metal, is it?" - "No, it isn't!").
      Probably SU-METAL's voice is not in this part. But rumor say the laughing voices near the ending are of three girls including SU-METAL (in both normal & 444 ver).

      Delete
  15. Thanks again for the nice translation.
    I like the reduced lyrics but for the first time I'm disappointed by the music.
    To me it sounds more like a failed patchwork.
    Even the choreography of Maosan and Yuisan stands far behind there standards.
    However even the best group has at last one week song...

    And BABYMETAL still rocks!
    Two months ago they completely blew away the german audiance in Koeln :)

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    Replies
    1. I wish the song be more melodious. And I hear some fans complain the producer is negligent about arrangement of this song.

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  16. Greetings Du Enki, Thank you for all your work! I use your translations almost every day while listening to BABYMETAL. Your notes regarding the meanings etc are wonderful.

    Anyway, I have noticed in Yon No Uta that between the reggae-like choruses (after Yokkorasho!) there is a male voice saying the word "Die!" three times. I do not know whether you did not hear them or you merely decided to not include them.

    Best regards, DeruMetal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. I did hear them, and concluded I should ignore them.

      Delete
  17. Thank you for all of your detailed translations and the many explanatory notes.

    The English title of this song made me think. I guess what they meant to do with the official 'Song 4' was actually more like 'The 4 Song' (as in The Happy Song, The Birthday Song etc.).

    Technically, of course you are right with 'Song of 4' - or even 'Song about 4'.

    However, semantically I've come to the conclusion that probably a good way to put the title would be 'Song for 4' or 'Song for the 4'. This choice of preposition is due to 3 reasons:
    1) First meaning of 'for' is 'opposite of against' (pro instead of contra). Since culture has many superstitions and prejudices against the number 4 and this song tries to counter-act this, it is literally for the 4 (all for it, so to speak).
    2) Second meaning of 'for' is 'addressed towards' (like 'a gift for someone'). This song is kind of a gift for the number 4.
    3) From your notes I understand that the whole song and lyrics in Japanese relies heavily on word-play and pun. Since in English 'for' sounds much like 'four', this preposition manages to capture some of the pun.

    However, please don't take my word for granted, since English is not my native language. I'd be interested in native English speakers' opinion on that.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you for your comment, and sorry for late reply.
      I think "Song for 4" is the best, too, but it means a kind of campaign against the superstition. I can't start it without the permission of Miss Moa & Miss Yui.

      Delete
  18. WHENIM64-METAL12 March, 2015 08:06

    other gimmick about 4 : Their finger sign on lips "Be Quiet!" are voiceless "shi, shi, shi, shi, "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. I will add the note about it.
      And, let me say, I noticed it about a month ago but forgot to add the note.

      Delete
  19. Greetings, Du Enki-san

    Though it's only denoted in the apocalypse limited edition, the lyrics denote the「HEY! HEY!」after the lyrics: Ichi no tsugi wa ni/Ni no tsugi wa san/Nana no mae wa roku/Roku no mae wa go, the「Four!」after U~~~ yon!, and the「フォー!」after the second U~~~ yon!

    Also, would the same DEATH denotation be applied to the 444 ver.?

    Regards,
    DaburyuuMetal

    P.S. Did you see the lyric video of Over the Future with your credits on YouTube?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for information.
      I've changed eight romaji lines to "HEY! HEY!", two lines to "Four!" with small-caps, & one line to "Soo DEATH ne!". I don't have that limited edition. Please tell me if these are not what you meant.

      And I've never seen any "Over The Future" with English lyrics.

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    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jw3Qpqf-Zw

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    3. Thank you for the video. I hope it will survive long.

      Delete
  20. To pair up with the vitamin C pun, the lyric card writes the line "Oishii no shi" as おいCの4.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry it is too difficult a pun for me to express in romaji.

      Delete
  21. I have a suggestion for your note #9, but since I don't know Japanese, I can't know if it is correct. However, from your description, it sounds like the word could be "Alright!" (or it could even work as an exclamation form of "Yes!")

    Tangential note: In slang English, it can be written with the L softened as "Awright!" and with both L and R omitted as in the hip-hop style "A'ight!" which strangely looks like the word "Eight", which is twice as much as "Four". ;-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Maybe "Alright!" is more suitable. I chose "Goody!" because "Yossha!" comes from the adjective "yoshi" that is the old form of "yoi" (= good).

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    2. Thanks for your replies, and thanks so much for these translations. I've decided I want to learn more Japanese! :-)

      Delete
  22. I was thinking, would the "so DEATH ne" be a pun of "so desu ne?" it sounds similar! I don't know Japanese though, so I could be wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. It's a pun of "so desu ne".

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