Friday, 8 October 2010

Akane-iro No Yuuhi Part 1 (The Madder Red Setting Sun) An English Translation of Post on 3rd Oct

I am feeling pretty nervous today to write a post on such a special song, "Amane-iro No Yuuhi" (The Madder Red Setting Sun).
Mr. Shimura said in his interview , "From a point of view that I could express my impulsive feeling into words, no other songs beat this song.  In my whole life, the thought put in this song is the strongest one among all."
For Mr. Shimura, the songwriter of this song, and also for Fujifabric fans, this song is just so special.
I am going to write on this topic next 3days.

Sei Shonagon (966-1017) wrote in her book, 'The Pillow Book (Makura no soushi)', that the dusk is the most admirable in autumn time. For more details  The Pillow Book (Penguin Classics)
Since Heian Era (794-1185), the setting sun has been so special for Japanese people.

In the world of Haiku (Japanese poetry), the setting sun is a word symbolizing summer, but afterglow looks the most beautiful in autumn due to the clear air and short daylights.
Because of the angle of the setting sun, the red, orange and yellow lights reach spread the most in the atmosphere and easily reach our eyes.

Many of Japanese nursery rhymes include the beautiful scenery of the setting sun - "Red Dragonfly" (Aka Tonbo), "Afterglow" (Yuuyake Koyake), "The Setting Sun" (Yuuhi) is well know among all Japanese.
Here are some for you.

In my hometown, Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture, local people can forecast the weather by afterglow over the mountains in the west.
If the setting sun looks beautiful with red and orange lights, then it will be fine tomorrow.
This old-fashioned way of weather forecast was actually often correct, so it is probably possible to prove it scientifically.

Japanese have always had this special feeling towards the time of dusk.

After the sunset, dark dark night is waiting for you. (See this post on Spooky Jacaranda to find out how Japanese feel about dusk.)
In old days, there was no street lights on, so it was jet-black darkness at night.
Travelers must have rushed back home around this time of the day.

A beautiful afterglow does not last long, so it has been symbolizing the ephemera, farewell, sadness and empathy.

It is also thought to be related to the feeling of nostalgia, too.
In the book, 'Wanpaku Tengoku" ("The Heaven of The Mischievous Boys" sorry, out of print) written by Satoru Sato, boys playing at dusk in Anjin-zuka area were lively and vividly described.
Completely forgot the time and played till sunset, and suddenly realised the time and rushed back home nearly at dinner time...
Some of you might share the same memories with us in Japan.

As long as I know, foreigners watch the sunset as one of the beautiful natural phenomena.
For example, there is a famous beach for the sunset in Oafu, Hawaii.
One of my friends, who is a Japanese-American living in Hawaii since she was born, told me that she does not gaze the sun setting with any feeling of nostalgia or ephemera.
In the traditional Japanese worldview, the transience of life is felt through the changing seasons.
The sunset dovetails perfectly with the traditional Japanese aesthetic sensibility that finds beauty not only in the red madder setting sun but also in ephemera of its nature.

Continued to tomorrow!

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