You’re Alive, Say It Now! by Tomokawa Kazuki (生きてるって言ってみろ / 友川かずき)

A soaking wet, dirty towel
Tied around your waist, dripping
You’re not exactly dead
Standing in front of your house
Trying to make yourself push open the door
It’s not exactly hell
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!

Dreams and reality hang in the air
Tears and loneliness become your friends
You’re not exactly a kokeshi doll
You have long hair and a gracious manner
But just how deep are your roots?
You’re not exactly a tombstone
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!

Making a sorrowful face you bite at the air
and jump up in your blistered body
You’re not exactly a skeleton
Blackly wilting conversations
And briefly connected mortal lives
It’s not exactly muddy water
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!

Picking out what you’ll wear into town
Smearing makeup all over your face, who for?
You’re not exactly a cultural asset
Pulling yourself off the ground, drunkenly staggering along
Tears on your face, you fall backwards in a fit
You’re not exactly a sparrow
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!
You’re alive, say it now!

* * *

ビッショリ汚れた手拭いを
腰にゆわえてトボトボと
死人でもあるまいに
自分の家の前で立ち止まり
覚悟を決めてドアを押す
地獄でもあるまいに
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ

夢と現実ぶらさげて
涙と孤独を相棒に
コケシでもあるまいに
長髪マンネリいさぎ良さ
根っこの太さはどこへやら
墓石でもあるまいに
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ

不幸な面して宙を噛む
ただれた体でジャンプする
ガイコツでもあるまいに
まっ黒にしなびたおしゃべりと
短くつないだ命だけ
泥水でもあるまいに
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ

衣装をこらして街を行く
ベタベタ化粧は誰の為
文化財でもあるまいに
ほお杖うつぶせ千鳥足
泣きっ面うしろ向き馬鹿騒ぎ
スズメでもあるまいに
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ
生きてるって言ってみろ

NOTES:

Tomokawa Kazuki, the “screaming philosopher,” has been recording albums since the mid-70s. His poetic lyrics are often barked out, almost like coughing. Many people became familiar with him in the West after he appeared in a Miike Takashi film, Izo, in which he sang several of his songs in their entirety. He is also a painter.

Lyrics taken from j-lyric. The original recorded version of the song (from Tomokawa’s 1977 album, 「千羽鶴を口に咬えた日々」 (Clutching a Thousand Cranes in My Teeth Day After Day)) only has three verses, and one of those is not among the four above. These lyrics are taken from a live version (possibly from the documentary Les Faute des Fleurs).

2 thoughts on “You’re Alive, Say It Now! by Tomokawa Kazuki (生きてるって言ってみろ / 友川かずき)

  1. Wow! I just found your website and I love your translations of some kazuki tomokawa songs. He’s the greatest musician of all time in my opinion and I was always dying to know what he’s singing about, since I don’t understand japanese. It would be great if you translate much more tomokawa songs, I will visit your blog regulary…

    PS: If I can make a suggestion: I would love to read the english translation of his song Issaigassayyomosueda (“Nothing left but the end of this world”)

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I haven’t been updating the blog much at all in recent months, unfortunately, but I will try to get back into it a little at a time. I will see what I can do about translating more Tomokawa lyrics.

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