Do I know the words yet? No, not yet!
May 14, 2006 2:20 PM   Subscribe

The professor and his students break into drunken song in Madadayo. Are those traditional songs?

I would like to know the lyrics. One has a refrain that goes something like, "One-two pharmacist" and another is about the moon.
posted by bleary to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
One-two Mr. Pharmacist

One-two Medicine is the best in Japan;
Buy One-two Medicine!
The medicine cures...
Pyrosis, stomach trouble, diarrhea,
Dizziness before and after childbirth,
Asthma, headache, influenza.
Medicine can cure numerous illnesses,
But no medicine can cure a fool.
Foolishness is in heaps today;
Japan is blooming with fools now.
Suffer defeat, held under occupation,
But fools call it the end of the war.
Advocating democracy loud and clear,
Only crooks throw their weight about.
Bribery and corruption currently pass with impunity,
Brazen fair and square,
Scandals, paradise, a doodlebug trap—
Those haughty fools never learn.
Chirp and twitter all in unison:
Chirp, chirp, twitter, twitter
posted by languagehat at 3:06 PM on May 14, 2006

The music for the movie is by Shin-ichiro Ikebe.
posted by languagehat at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2006

Thank you, kindly.

I like the statistics on that movie page: Monster Appearances: N/A
posted by bleary at 3:52 PM on May 14, 2006

The Moon Song:

The moon turns into a perfect circle
The moon turns into a bow
Spring, summer, autumn, winter
She shines over entire Japan

The moon is out, the moon is out
Round, round, perfectly round
The moon is like a tray

The moon is hiding, hiding
Behind black, black, jet black
CIouds like black ink
The moon is out once again
Round, round, perfectly round
The moon is like a tray
posted by matkline at 8:16 PM on May 14, 2006

Thanks, ya'll. Now to ask, are these traditional songs, or peculiar to the movie or that era? I'll google on the lyrics to see what I find.

aside: I'm not sure if Kurosawa meant to suggest Buddhist imagery with the tray/moon pantomime at the party, but that is what came to mind--the circle around his head. Yet, the first time they sing the song it doesn't quiet have that aspect--more like drunken poets looking at the moon (Li Bai, an exemplar). Nice evolution.

The movie mixes in religious themes along the way, and should I consider that Japanese buddhism is a syncretism of shinto and other traditions? He asks for a circle pond with an island, and has a fence around the garden--shinto shrines become sacred when surrounded by boundaries. I don't remember a plankway leading up to his garden study, though perhaps the gap in the fence Nora comes through is a torri. Then we switch over of course to the sun at the end.

anyway, the movie wasn't as strong as his others, but I enjoyed it and what it told of the changes happening through pre-war to past-war. (I'd been saving it up and finally watched it this weekend). The songs intrigued me because usually he has orchestral music.

(The professor makes up some of his own lyrics for the pharmacist song, which is why I think it is traditional or at least a popular song of the time. I like how at the final party one of the students asks for new extemporaneous lyrics since the current times call for the same treatment as the old times)

(tangent: it was a Chinese poem, perhaps, where a professor once told my class that the poem had moons in many of the characters all over the poem about the moon. I should look that up.)
posted by bleary at 6:40 AM on May 15, 2006

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