mercredi 19 octobre 2016

Arigatou - ありがとう (Eng)

For the 10th year in Major of its creators and 1st performers, Ikimonogakari (いきものがかり), I introduce one of their signature song, Arigatou which, you probably already know it, means "Thank you" 😉 . But to who are these thanks, and from who ? And why this song rather than any other with the same title did engrave itself into the Japanese culture ?

Arigatou - ありがとう

The Spouse of the Youkai

Version française ici.
1st French publication: 2016/10/12
1st English publication: 2016/10/19
Last Update: 2021/01/26



This 6-minute track was composed by Mizuno Yoshiki (水野良樹), leader and electric guitar player of the band, produced and arranged by Honma Akimitsu (本間昭光) in 2010. It is in fact an order made for the theme song of a morning "drama" (series) produced by the NHK called GeGeGe no Nyôbô 『ゲゲゲの女房』, which could be translated in "The Spouse of the Repelling", broadcast from March to September. The Chief Producer of the drama, Mr Taniguchi, was indeed a fan of Ikimonogakari.
This drama is based on the autobiography of Mura Nunoe (武良 布枝), released in 2008 and big popular success (more than 500 000 books sold at that time). Although it was her first opus, one must say that she is not less than the wife of one of the most famous mangakas of his time, Mizuki Shigeru (水木 しげる), Mura Shigeru as his real name !
Nunoe, born Iizuka (飯塚) in a merchants family, is in charge of helping her grand-mother, while her sisters live their life, until 1961 where her grand-mother dies. Her family starts then trying to get her married, but at these times, at 36 years old, it is quite late. An uncle makes her meet Shigeru and they decide to get married only a few days later !

Gegege no Nyobo / Japanese TV Series
(without subtitles)

Shigeru is not yet the famous author who everybody knows (or should discover, in the following part of this article ;-p). In fact he has, at this time, nothing of the good party the high society's families are looking for, but he is maybe less reluctant regarding the age of the potential fiancées. Indeed, born in 1922 near Osaka, he was conscripted in the army at 20 and sent on the New-Britain island, in Papua-New Guinea, where he lost his left arm during a bombing raid. An amputation all the more handicapping since he was lefty! He tries then to forget the war by integrating a local tribe, but he is finally sent back to Japan.
After the war, he makes different jobs, while training to write and draw with his right hand. He starts in 1957 to realize manga and kamishibai, a kind of street theater using drawn supports, on the themes of war and Yôkai, more or less monstrous creatures of the Japanese folklore, he got interested in since his childhood in Sakaiminato in the Tottori prefecture.

When he marries Nunoe, he hardly makes a living for an entire month, but he just started what will become his popular masterpiece: GeGeGe no Kitarô (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎), the following of a kamishibai and manga series called Hakaba no Kitarô (Kitarou of the Graveyard), which he adapts to younger readers. Kitarou is a half-youkai with one eye left, who uses his powers to protect the peace between Youkais and Humans. Mizuki Shigeru has thus inspired numerous modern stories, from Inuyasha to Yôkai Watch.
Turned a strong pacifist, Shigeru has thus written a lot about war too: biography of Hitler in manga, autobiography of his stay around Rabaul, where he returned in 2003 and where a street is named after him, and a short story in 1991, War and Japan, as a reply to the revisionists thesis of fagots who, curiously, did not make the war...
He achieves fame in 1968, as GeGeGe no Kitarô is then adapted into an anime for the 1st time (by the future famous co-funder of Ghibli, Takahata Isao) ! He also received several Awards for his opus: Manga Awards from  Kôdansha magazine, in 1965 and 1989, Best Album and Heritage Awards from the Angouleme festival (France), as well as several Japanese Honors (Cultural Merit, Rising Sun Order...). He deceased on November the 30th 2015.

Ge-Ge-Ge figures an unpleasant cackling sound. Shigeru thought he was as repelling as his Youkai. However these ones achieved a nice posterity, as the city of his childhood, Sakaiminato, even decided to feature more than 100 of their bronze statues on the main avenue, as well as the author and his wife, receiving thus some income from the pilgrimage of mangas fans ! There is also a museum dedicated to the author. His both daughters manage his production heritage.
Nunoe wrote 2-3 other books since then. Her autobiography is mainly centered on her 1st years of marriage in poverty. If she married Shigeru so fast, it was more a reason affair, to not be alone, and because he looked gentle. But the problems of money and the lack of self-confidence of her husband are a real hardship for her at first and she is close to leave him. That's by watching him work a lot to his books, of which she notices the quality, that she decides to stay and support him. She even participated to the colorization for some of the 1st rushes. Their perseverance in the hard times largely contributed to give them the image of a model and romantic couple.

This is thus were the title and the success of Nunoe's book, and of the drama. And with Arigatô, the J-Pop trio Ikimonogakari had the hard duty to transmit these feelings. Let's see how it turned (if the official video below does not work, try a sample in the Discography section)...

Music Video

Official channel of Ikimonogakari, uploaded in 2020 without regional restriction:

Lyrics and romaji

(Members Best Selection booklet).

“ありがとう” って伝えたくて あなたを見つめるけど
"Arigatô" tte tetsutaetakute, anata wo mitsumeru kedo
繋がれた右手は 誰よりも優しく ほら この声を受け止めてる
Tsunagareta migi te wa, dare yori mo yasashiku, hora, kono koe wo uketometeru

まぶしい朝に 苦笑いしてさ あなたが窓を開ける
Mabushii asa ni, nigawarai shite sa, anata ga mado wo akeru
舞い込んだ未来が 始まりを教えて またいつもの街へ出かけるよ
Maikonda mirai ga, hajimari wo oshiete, mata itsumo no machi he dekakeru yo
でこぼこなまま 積み上げてきた ふたりの淡い日々は
Dekobokona mama tsumiagetekita, futari no awai hibi wa
こぼれたひかりを 大事にあつめて いま輝いているんだ
Koboreta hikari wo, daiji ni atsumete, ima kagayaiteirunda

“あなたの夢” がいつからか “ふたりの夢”に変わっていた
"Anata no yume" ga itsu kara ka, "Futari no yume" ni kawatteita
今日だって いつか 大切な 瞬間(おもいで)
Kyô datte, itsuka, daisetsuna, omoide*
あおぞらも 泣き空も 晴れわたるように
Aozora mo, nakizora** mo, harewataru yô ni

“ありがとう” って伝えたくて あなたを見つめるけど
"Arigatô" tte tetsutaetakute, anata wo mitsumeru kedo
繋がれた右手が まっすぐな想いを 不器用に伝えている
Tsunagareta migi te ga, massuguna omoi wo, bukiyô ni tsutaeteiru
いつまでも ただ いつまでも あなたと笑っていたいから
Itsumademo, tada itsumademo, anata to waratteitai kara
信じたこの道を 確かめていくように いま ゆっくりと 歩いていこう
Shinjita kono michi wo, tashikameteiku yô ni, ima, yukkuri to aruiteikô

ケンカした日も 泣きあった日も それぞれ彩(いろ)咲かせて
Kenka shita hi mo, naki atta hi mo, sorezore iro*** sakasete
真っ白なこころに 描かれた未来を まだ書き足していくんだ
Masshirona kokoro ni, egakareta mirai wo, mada kakitashiteikunda

誰かのために生きること 誰かの愛を受け入れること
Dareka no tame ni ikiru koto, dareka no ai wo ukeireru koto
そうやって いまを ちょっとずつ 重ねて
Sô yatte, ima wo, chotto zutsu, kasanete
喜びも 悲しみも 分かち合えるように
Yorokobi mo, kanashimi mo, wakachiaeru yô ni

思いあうことに幸せを あなたと見つけていけたら
Omoiau koto ni shiawase wo, anata to mitsuketeiketara
ありふれたことさえ 輝きをいだくよ ほら その声に 寄り添っていく
Arifureta koto sae, kagayaki wo idaku yo, hora, sono koe ni, yorisotteiku

“あいしてる” って伝えたくて あなたに伝えたくて
"Aishiteru" tte tsutaetakute, anata ni tsutaetakute
かけがえのない手を あなたとのこれからを わたしは 信じているから
Kakegae no nai te wo, anata to no kore kara wo, watashi ha shinjiteiru kara
“ありがとう”って言葉をいま あなたに伝えるから
"Arigatô" tte kotoba wo ima, anata ni tsutaeru kara
繋がれた右手は 誰よりも優しく ほら この声を受け止めてる
Tsunagareta migi te ha, dare yori mo yasashiku, hora, kono koe wo uketometeru

Personal Translation

"Thank you", that's what I would like to transmit to you. I'm staring at you but,
With you right hand I'm holding, sweeter than anyone's else, come on, receive this message !

In the dazzling morning, with a bitter smile, you open the window.
The future which had suddenly been given to us taught us the beginning, but we still going out in the same surrounds.
Our pale daily life together kept slowly accumulating.
Our dropped light, we carefully reassembled it, and now it is starting to shine.

Without notice, "Your dream" has become "Our dream".
This very day, the coming days, the precious times,
The blue sky, the sad sky, let everything turn glorious !

"Thank you", that's what I would like to transmit to you. I'm staring at you but,
With you right hand I'm holding transmit clumsily this sincere thought.
Because I would like to laugh forever, simply forever with you,
This way I believed in, from now on, let's walk it quietly to see where it goes.

The days we argue, the days we cry too, make countless colors to bloom.
In our bleached hearts, the future we sketched is still painting on.

For who shall one live ? From who shall we accept the love ?
Let's start, superimpose little by little the present instants,
And get able thus to share joy and sadness.

If I can find happiness with you by taking care of each other,
Even the banal things will become brilliant. Come on, snuggle up to this voice.

"I love you", that's what I would like to transmit, to transmit to you,
Because I believe in the future with you and in your irreplaceable hand.
"Thank you". Because I can finally transmit this word to you,
With your right hand I'm holding, sweeter than anyone's else, come on, receive this word.

Interpretation Notes

omoide* : indicated reading for the kanji 瞬間, normally read shunkan, which means instant.
nakizora** : forged word meaning literally "crying sky"; I don't know if there is a similar expression in English 😅.
iro*** : kanji 彩 from the word 彩色 (saishiki: coloration, to put colors), maybe an allusion to the help given by Nunoe to Shigeru...

Tsunagareta migi te: te wo tsunagu is translated by to hold hand in hand, but tsunagu means also to connect, to link; I think that the particular expression here can make a reference too to the fact that Shigeru, left-hander, had to "reappropriate", "reconnect" his right hand after his amputation of the left arm.

Anecdotes, legacy

This MV was filmed in the Cliffside Ballroom in Yokohama (Motomachi yard near the harbor and the China Town), built in 1946. This allows to immerse easily in the ambience of the 60s and thus of the drama.
There is a 3D version of the MV, which was broadcast in cinema during one week after the release.

This single, 18th of the band who is already well appreciated by the public, is released on May the 5th 2010, the Day of Children, and... it ranks 2nd at the weekly Oricon, in the Top 100 of which it will stay more than one year, selling more than 1 million units !
It appears then in the 1st Members Best Selection (disc 2, track 9) released in November of the same year and therefore it has the particularity of never having been released in a normal album ! The Best of itself sold more than 1.5 millions units, starting 1st in the weekly Top Oricon and staying there more than one year too ! The band starts their 1st national tour of the Arena-type venues.
In December 2010, the Japan Record Awards give to Arigatou one of the Best Song Awards, and MTV Japan attributes the Award of Music Video of the Year, while Hajimari no uta, released in December of the previous year win the Best Album award of the JRA ! On December the 31th 2010, it is the climax with a new invitation to the Kouhaku, where the trio performs "of course" Arigatou !

It was helped by the popular success of the drama, but the track adds its own qualities to become a must-known hit of the Japanese pop music. Like songs such as YellMirai Yosozu II... it features a piano introduction easily acknowledgeable. The word "Arigatou" is adequately used in its 5 hiragana decomposition (a "o" followed by a "u" is otherwise read as a long ô) to be sang on the very simple do-re-mi-fa-sol melody.

On the contrary, the complexity of the lyrics, which change from a chorus to the other, one of the signature of the band, does not make it as popular in the karaoke 😅.
Lyrics, precisely, are both very imaginative and referenced, but the are also general enough to allow everyone to identify to them. The theme of the thankfulness can be used for wedding or departure ceremonies, as did Mizuno Yoshiki acknowledge in a TV interview.

In 2013, speaking of it, the song is included in the music manuals of highschools as a choir song; she is indeed regularly sang during the graduation ceremonies ("sotsugyou"), in March-April, to thank the professors and friends.
For this reason, she still appears in the Music Station's Top 100 of the most spring-evocating songs in 2016. It was also ranking 33 in the Top 100 of the most remarkable songs of all times (including international songs) in 2016.

The melody is used too since 2012 in the train station of Chofu (調布) in Tokyo, on the Keiô line (京王線), as it appears in the drama.

On December the 31th 2015, during the 66th Kouhaku of the NHK (see article here), while Golden Girl was announced, the band performs again Arigatou in homage to Mizuki Shigeru deceased one month earlier. It was thus their 1st title to be performed there more than once.
In August and September 2016, for the 10 years of the band, it was chosen as the opening song of all 4 lives they held, and of last bonus "Encore" of the last of these concerts, to thank the fans.

Main performers

If the official video is available in your country, you still can listen to audio samples through the links below, and buy if you enjoy them (affiliation CD Japan).
Ikimonobakari -Members' BEST Selection- / Ikimonogakari
Ikimonogakari : author and first performers, with numerous success ; full introduction here.

Scene25 - Best of Nao Matsushita / Nao Matsushita
Matsushita Nao: pianist, the drama actress performed its theme song in an instrumental version in 2010 in her 『Scene25 〜Best of Nao Matsushita』. One of her performance was projected with excerpts of the drama during the live of Ikimonogakari at the Kouhaku 2010.

Goose House: the association known for a tie-up with the anime version of Your lie in April, amateur at that time, covered it on their YouTube channel in a male-vocal version in 2010 (

Shikisai no Syujinkou / Yoshimi Iwasaki
Iwasaki Yoshimi (岩崎良美) : The ex-Idol of the 80s, who sang in particular the eponym song of anime Touch, performed it in a "on demand" cover album, 『色彩の主人公』, in 2011. A version more lounge or variety.

Sakura Maya (さくらまや) : the youngest pro Enka singer (at 10) at that time, and also actress, performed it in a cover album (in 2012 at 14 years old), 『まや☆カラ カラオケクイーンさくらまやと歌おう!!』. A very fidel version.

Heart Song / Chris Hart
Chris Hart: the popular Afro-American crooner, who lives in Japan, covered it in 2013 in his 1st cover album 『Heart Song』. A quite fidel version.


Official website of Ikimonogakari

Other sources: Music Station, TV news, Kouhaku 2015 on NHK, Japanese Wikipedia (including pictures of GeGeGe no Kitarô and of the statue)...

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