Japanese Song Lyrics ~ Cosmos by Yamaguchi Momoe

hqdefault-1Cosmos is a song by Yamaguchi Momoe released in 1978 emitting a certain radiance of sadness and an unalterable situation. Looking at the lyrics of the song bit by bit taught me some interesting words, while also understanding the meaning of the song. Let’s go over this together. While I prefer acoustic and slower versions of the song, here’s the original version:


Japanese English
Usubeni no kosumosu ga aki no hi no
Nanigenai hidamari ni yurete iru
Konogoro namida moroku natta haha ga
Niwasaki de hitotsu seki wo suru
A pale pink cosmos sways
In an ordinary spot in the sun on an autumn day
My mother, who has cried easily recently
Coughs once by the garden

Here some interesting words are Hidamari and Engawa. Hidamari is a spot in the sun, and Engawa is the typical wooden flooring in the garden of a Japanese house. These words pull you in the scene and create a certain image.



Japanese English
Engawa de arubamu wo hiraite wa
Watashi no osanai hi no omoide wo
Nandomo onaji hanashi kurikaesu
Hitorigoto mitai ni chiisana koe de
She opens an album by the trees
And talks about memories of my childhood
Over and over again
In a small voice, as if talking to herself

A very powerful and emotionally loaded paragraph, and a little sad. I immediately thought about old people with dementia who talk to themselves and start to forget things. Just why is this mother reminiscing her daughter’s childhood? In the next paragraph we get an answer as what’s going on.

Japanese English
Konna koharu biyori no odayaka na hi wa
Anata no yasashisa ga shimite kuru
Ashita totsugu watashi ni kurou wa shitemo
Waraibanashi ni toki ga kaeru yo
Shinpai iranai to waratta
On this peaceful day in an unusually warm autumn
I feel your kindness deeply
I laughed and said
“Even if my getting married tomorrow is causing you pain now
Time will turn it into a funny story, so you don’t need to worry”

The use of the word biyori meaning “perfect/peaceful day” doesn’t seem to apply to the mother who is sad about losing her daughter to a man. It’s a song about a girl turning a woman and saying goodbye to her mother, but I wonder if the daughter herself is okay with all this, or whether this is an arranged marriage forced against her will. Also a beautiful usage of “yasashisa ga shimite kuru” where shimiru meaning to feel something deeply, piercingly and touchingly.

The next to paragraphs delve into what the mother is feeling, or maybe the daughter, it’s not really clear in the first paragraph but I’m leaning towards the mother who clearly starts to realize she’s going to be all alone now, and loses it in the second paragraph. I’ve been there with my mom times and times again, as she slowly came to grips and is still coming to grips with me wanting to live abroad.

Japanese English
Are kore to omoide wo tadottara
Itsu no hi mo hitori dewa nakatta to
Imasara nagara wagamama na watashi ni
Kuchibiru kande imasu


Ashita e no nizukuri ni te wo karite
Shibaraku wa tanoshige ni ita keredo
Totsuzen namida koboshi genki de to
Nandomo nandomo kurikaesu haha

“Now I’m looking back on various memories
I’ve realised there was never a day when I was alone”
She bites her lip as she looks at me
Who is still as selfish as ever


She helped me pack for tomorrow
And we kept our spirits up for awhile
But then suddenly Mum burst into tears
And said “Good luck” again and again

They use namida kobosu where kobosu means to spill, but when I looked it up it also meant “to let one’s feelings shown”. I like how the objects of the sentence (the mother and “I”) are always written at the end and using noun modifiers to describe them making the lyrics more powerful in my eyes.

Final paragraph:

Japanese English
Arigatou no kotoba wo kamishimenagara
Ikite mimasu watashi nari ni
Konna koharu biyori no odayaka na hi wa
Mou sukoshi anata no kodomo de
Isasete kudasai
I’ll try to live my life my way
With the words “Thank you” in my heart
Let me be your child
A little longer
On this peaceful day in an unusually warm autumn

Only interesting here is how they translated Arigatou no kotobo wo kamishimenagara as “With the words thank You in my heart”. The verb kamishimeru means “to chew thoroughly” or to digest. I think a closer translation would be “While digesting/taking in words of thanks [I’ll try to live my life my way]”. Nonetheless the translation is beautiful but I’m not sure it should be this heavy.

I think anyone in the world as a parents can relate to the lyrics of this song, and it’s even harder as a widow. This song was very popular in the late 70s and continues to be favored today. There’s been plenty of covers including this one I really like by Sada Masashi

Lyrics source


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