Translation

exist†trace — Requiem

I missed Igu day, but March 20th is Omi’s birthday, so I thought it appropriate to do an exist†trace translation anyway. I picked “Requiem,” which unbeknownst to me when I picked it, was written by Omi. Not that it’s particularly appropriate for a birthday, but… (苦笑)

The lyrics in Japanese are on Rock Lyric. Now, because Rock Lyric has JASRAC permission to post lyrics, I assume their lyrics come from official sources and are thus correct. If they are correct, then Omi was having fun with homophones, creating lines that can be interpreted in two (sometimes vastly different) ways, depending on whether you’re reading the lyrics or only hearing them. While I usually like to put the link to the footnotes right next to the word in question, given the great deal of notes, I’ve grouped notes by verse instead.

Requiem

hiroiageta kusuriyubi kimi no omokage wa nakute
nukidasareta gankyuu wa nani wo utsushiteita no

tooi sora haiiro no sora kara
chi no ame inochi no ame ga furu

hakidashita doro darake no risou kakageta kibou
dare no tame? nokosareru kodoku nani mo dekizu ni

tooi sora ikoku no kanata kara
chiriyuku sakura no hana

sayonara…wasurenaide aishita atatakana mono
kizuiteita kono sekai ni ibasho nado nai koto
sono karada ni sono subete ni namida no senrei wo
sayonara…wasurenaide ikiteita akashi wo

tsukuriageta gen’ei wareta daiichi ni utsushi
kawashita koe yakusoku wa mujouna arasoi no ato

tooi sora haiiro (kuroi?) no sora de wa
mienai anata no egao (kao?)

sayonara…wasurenaide sugoshita taisetsuna hibi
kizuiteita kono sekai wa hakanaku morosugita kara
toozakaru ano kisetsu wa nido to kaeranai kedo
sayonara…wasurenaide ikiteita akashi

afureru hi ga mei (mi?) wo tomoshi
kuzureta yume ga me wo hiraku

sayonara…wasurenaide aishita atatakana hito
itsu no hi ni ka kono sekai ni hikari ga sasu made
sono karada wo sono subete wo dakishime aruku kara
sayonara…wasurenaide ikiteita akashi wo

Requiem

I lifted your hand, but all traces of you were gone
Wide open eyes, what had they seen?1

Far off sky, from the ashen sky
The Earth’s rain, life-giving rain falls2

The muddied ideal you spat out, the hopes you put on display
Who was it all for? Loneliness remains, unable to do anything

Far off sky, from beyond a strange land
Cherry blossoms scatter and die

Goodbye… Don’t forget the warm things you loved
You realized there was no place for you in this world
Over your body, over all of this, a baptism of tears3
Goodbye… Don’t forget the proof that you lived

The made up illusion is reflected on the cracked earth
Voices and promises exchanged, the scars of a cruel battle4

Far off sky, in the blackened sky
Your vanished smile5

Goodbye… Don’t forget the precious days you had
Because you realized this world was too fleetingly fragile
Though that time recedes further into the past and won’t return,
Goodbye… Don’t forget the proof that you lived

The light of the flames engulfs your body
Buds sprout from the broken dream6

Goodbye… Don’t forget the warm people you loved
Until the day this world is pierced by light
I’ll walk on holding your body, all of this, tight
Goodbye… Don’t forget the proof that you lived


1. The lyrics say “ring finger,” not “hand,” but I’m taking it as a figure of speech (a synecdoche to be specific) because otherwise I’d have to read the whole song as being sung from the point of view of a serial killer who likes to take ring fingers as trophies, and I think that might just be all the Criminal Minds I binge watch on Ion Television talking. I think the ring finger was used specifically to signify the relationship between the singer and the dead person.

This line also uses an unusual word spelling; 失くて is written for the sung なくて (nakute) which would normally be written 無くて when written with kanji. Also, “nakute” is not an approved reading for 失くて. Had it been written the usual way, I would’ve translated this to “but there were no traces of you.” The kanji 失 means “loss,” so “all traces of you were lost” would’ve also been a good translation. However, I think “all traces of you were gone” sounds best.

In the second line, a more literal translation would’ve been “What did those wide open eyes reflect?” But I think that in English, using the word “reflect” as pertains to what the eyes are seeing doesn’t always work in all the instances it is used in Japanese lyrics. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a more romantic vibe from “eyes reflecting” what they’re looking at. Here, the singer is talking about a corpse with its eyes wide open, so we can imagine the person’s death was of the particularly bad kind, either a homicide or, more likely given the rest of the song, a suicide.

2. Rock Lyric gives 「地の雨」meaning “Earth’s rain” for the sung words ちのあめ (chi no ame). Were this written with the kanji 血 for “chi” instead, this would become “blood rain,” changing the imagery drastically. Considering that the next line brings up mud, I thought it best to keep the imagery of water and soil here.

3. What’s written on Rock Lyric for the sung word “senrei” is 先例, which means “precedent” or “earlier example.” I think 洗礼, meaning “baptism,” makes more sense. Because otherwise the line would be “Over your body, over all of this, an earlier example of tears”…and that takes us back to the “singer is a serial killer” interpretation.

Another interesting thing about this line: the word “subete” meaning “all” is written as 総て rather than the more common 全て.  I don’t know whether to interpret this as having any special meaning. The main definitions given for the kanji 総 in the Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary  are “Total” and “General,” whereas 全 is defined as “Whole.”

4. What’s written for the sung lyric “ato” is 傷跡 (kizuato) meaning “scar.” 跡 (ato) by itself can mean “trace” or “vestige.”

5. In the first line, though the written lyrics say 灰色の空 (haiiro no sora) meaning “the grey sky” or as I prefer “the ashen sky,” it does not sound like that to me at all. Though I can’t quite make out what Jyou is saying, to me it sounds like she’s saying 黒い空 (kuroi sora) meaning “black sky” or perhaps more fittingly, “blackened sky.”

In the second line, a literal translation would be “the smile of you who can’t be seen.” This sounds horrifically unnatural in English. From what I’ve seen, at least in the type of Japanese music I tend to listen to, “you who can’t be seen” means “you who are dead/gone/etc.” So a translation that gets that across without the cumbersome relative clause is probably best. I think the imagery here is of the dead person smiling in heaven. This is a requiem, after all.

THAT said, it doesn’t sound to me like she’s saying 笑顔 (egao) “smile.” It sounds like just 顔 (kao) meaning “face.”

6. A couple of things in this first line. First, the kanji for “flame” 炎 (honoo) is used for the sung word “fire” (hi). Second, the kanji 命, which would normally be read as “inochi” meaning “life,” is sung as I’m not quite sure what. I hear it as either just “i” or “mi” or possibly “mei.” While “mei” is a possible reading for 命, in that case, it means “order” or “decree,” which would make the line “The overflowing fire lights up the decree” which doesn’t quite make sense unless this is a reference to some ritual I don’t know about. But if it’s supposed to be “mi,” the kanji would be 身 meaning “body,” making this line clearly a description of a cremation. I think that makes the most sense.

In the second line, what’s given on Rock Lyric for the sung words “me wo hiraku” is 芽を開く meaning “opens buds” or “sprouts buds.” But if it were instead 目を開く it would mean “opens its eyes.” The imagery becomes one of rebirth—perhaps the soul is reawakening on the funeral pyre. This would connect to the song “Lost in Helix” nicely.

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