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果てなく、歌を歌う Singing, hatenaku

Written By: daveski on June 10, 2010 No Comment


This post, especially, feels like it has no beginning and no end. Texts are a little like rivers, with so many sources. And it’s impossible to find them all.

数日前、ある友達が子供のころによく聞いていたSPEEDのWhite Loveの初言葉である、「はてしない」の意味を私に尋ねました。「はてしないってどういう意味なのか」という単純な質問でしたが、当時には「”Endless” or “infinite”, something like that」というふう簡単に答えたように覚えています。そして話しが(話しがするように)自然に次へとつづきました。

Several days ago, a friend asked me about the meaning of the word “hateshinai“, the first word in the SPEED song called “White Love” that she used to listen to years ago. Hers was a straightforward question–“What does hateshinai mean?”, I think she asked–and I think I responded with a pretty straightforward “‘Endless’, or ‘infinite’, or something like that.” And then the conversation moved on naturally, as conversations do.


And why not? For sure, “hateshinai” sounds quite poetic, with many meanings and nuances hidden inside, or layered on top of one another. But this word wasn’t one of those that had had its own personal history with me, or so I thought. Not like the words “unkai” (sea of clouds) in Japanese, or “noeul” (glow of sunset) in Korean.

でも、、、言葉には響きがある、その中に自らの(言葉の)歴史も、人間の意図と別で、存在すると認めなければならいのかも知れません。”White Love”の話をした翌日にか、私が90年代に日本の金沢大学で留学をしていたころ、韓国人の友達が紹介してくれた、また別な歌が頭に浮かんできたのです。

But…I have to acknowledge that words have echoes, or maybe it’s better to say that they carry their own histories, quite apart from people’s intentions and plans. I think it was the day after she and I had chatted about “White Love” that the memories of another song floated into my mind–a song that had been introduced to me by some Korean friends when I was studying abroad at Kanazawa University in Japan.


The song I remembered was “Hatenaki Kouro” by the Korean Japanese blues singer and guitarist with many songs about journeys, Eiichi Arai (“hateshinai“, “hatenaiand “hatenaku” all share the same source). And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that things that one might call “hateshinai” might not just be “endless” or “infinite”, like I had tried to articulate the day before. Rather, they might presuppose that people themselves be on a journey or journeys of their own, in movement, while time is going by, and it would be only then that things that are “hateshinai” would come into view.


But, this is not a philosophy class, and I’m no philosopher. Below, I’ve given a shot at translating Mr. Arai’s lyrics to this song into English. Translating, in order to understand better what “hatenai” means. And I thought that reading by itself might not convey the spirit of the song, so I (very luckily, with Mr. Arai’s permission) have uploaded the song here too. Please take a listen as you read through the lyrics. And, if you’re so moved, please leave a comment below and say something about what “hatenai” (or similar words in another language) might mean to you, and what songs it makes you think of.

そして新井さん、どうもありがとうございます!今回 、広い海や長い年月を超えて、メールのやり取りができて、本当にうれしかったです。過去と現在と未来をつなげる航路が、つづいていると実感しました。

And last but not least, my sincere thanks to you, Mr. Arai, for letting me copy and post your music here. Exchanging an email from across the ocean and across the years was a surprise and joy, and has truly made me feel that the path continues, without end.

果てなき航路 (新井英一)  HATENAKI KOURO (by Eiichi Arai)

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灰色の鳥がマストを横切る      Hai-iro no tori ga masuto o yokogiru
いく千年の昔からよせる波に      iku sennen no mukashi kara yoseru nami ni
青い影を落とす aoi kage o otosu
陽はまだ高い     Hi wa mada takai
果てなき航路はつづく     Hatenaki kouro wa tsuzuku

Grey birds sweep across the ship’s mast
casting a blue shadow across
the waves advancing from generations past
And the sun is still high
This path on the sea continues without end

金色の魚が海を跳ねる        Kin-iro no sakana ga umi o haneru
いく千年の昔から吹く風に      iku sennen no mukashi kara fuku kaze ni
虹色のしぶき niji-iro no shibuki
夕やけ遥か      yuuyake haruka
果てなき航路はつづく       Hatenaki kouro wa tsuzuku

A gold-colored fish jumps up from the sea
sending spray the color of the rainbow into
the wind blowing from generations past
and the glow of sunset in the distance
This path on the sea continues without end

いくつもの星がデッキを照らす    Ikutsumo no hoshi ga dekki o terasu
いく千年の昔からとどく光に      iku sennen no mukashi kara todoku hikari ni
船が青く染まる       fune ga aoku somaru
波と風のしぶき     nami to kaze no shibuki
果てなき航路はつづく Hatenaki kouro wa tsuzuku
命あるかぎりどこまでも     Inochi ga aru kagiri, doko made mo
果てなき航路はつづく      Hatenaki kouro wa tsuzuku

Countless stars shine down upon the deck
covering the ship in blue with
light arriving from generations past
and the spray of the waves and the wind
This path on the sea continues without end
wherever I go, as long as I’m alive
this path on the sea continues without end

Yo solo, yo solo
(I alone, I alone)

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