夕焼小焼け – Yuyake Koyake
After some time living in Japan I realized everyday at 5PM in many places you could hear a 30 seconds catchy melody. You can usually listen it near schools, city halls and official buildings; they use pretty powerful speakers, if you are walking around Tokyo at 5PM is very probable that you will listen it.
The song is used as a signal, it means that Japanese children finish school and can go home. The title is Yuyake Koyake (夕->Sunset 焼->Burn 小->Little 焼け -> Burn), “Yuyake” means something like “the red sunset sky” and Koyake “the after sunset orange sky”.
The song was composed by a school teacher called Nakamura Uko eighty years ago. Nakamura Uko was born in Hachiouji, in that city there is bus stop called Yuyake Koyake.
Here you have many Yuyake Koyake versions I found on the net:
Yuyake Koyake was made for Japanese children.
This is the song lyric:
１ 夕焼け 小焼けで 日（ひ）が暮（く）れて
おててつないで みなかえろう 烏（からす）と いっしょに かえりましょう
２ 子供（こども）が かえった あとからは
小鳥（ことり）が夢（ゆめ）を 見（み）るころは 空（そら）には きらきら 金（きん）の星（ほし）
The sunset is the end of the day,
the bell from the mountain temple rings
hand by hand let’s go back home together with the crows.
After the children are back at home
a big and round moon shines,
when the birds dream, the brightness from the stars fills the sky.