Kappa Boogie Woogie

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Country: Japan
Language: Japanese

This is a song from postwar Japan of the late 1940s that made the singer, twelve year old Hibari Misora, a superstar. Misora went on to have a fifty year career and become Japan’s best loved Japanese modern folk singer . “Kappa Boogie Woogie” marked the Japanese embrace of American jazz/bop music, and also American culture, after the war. You know what a kappa is, right? Did this come up when we met…? A kappa is a Japanese water spirit/demon that swims very quickly, has a duck beak on its face, a turtle shell on its back and frog hands. Apparently, “The kappa drags other animals, drowns them into the water and then drinks their blood.” All Around This World has learned, through extensive research, that the kappa’s favorite food is the cucumber.

Some information from internet about Hibari Misora: “Hibari Misora recorded a total of 2 songs in the 1940s, both of them in 1949. They were; 1.Kappa Boogie Woogie 2. Kanashiki Kuchibue. Kappa Boogie Woogie is her debut song of what is going to be a total of over 1500 songs she will record in the next four decades until her death in 1989. For those wondering what a Kappa is, it’s a Japanese imaginary creature, green or yellow in colour, and translates to ‘river child’. They resemble the looks of monkeys with tortoise shells on their backs. Young Hibari, 12 years old at the time, dressed up as one in the movie ‘Odoru Ryugujyou’ and sang this song.It is apparent that this song was not her favourite, as she later recalled in her interviews that dressing up like a Kappa was simply embarassing, and considers her next song, ‘Kanashiki Kuchibue’ to be her true debut song. She recorded ‘Kanashiki Kuchibue’ a total of four times during her entire career . . . A Kappa is a Japanese water spirit/demon. some even say the kappa is godlike. It’s known for being extremely fast swimmers, and its favorite food is the cucumber. It’s a very well-known water spirit, and I think it’s thought to be harmless towards humans. It is an imaginary animal that lives into the water. It has a duck beak in its face, a tortoise shell on its back and its hands and feet are like those of frogs. It is as tall as a 5 year old child, has few hair in its head. The top of it is flat or some times like a plate. The kappa drags other animals, drowns them into the water and then drinks their blood. There is no way of killing a kappa and, I think, there’s no way of wanting to become one. I fully understand little Hibari’s feelings.”

[wpspoiler name=”Listen to Kappa Boogie Woogie” open=”true” atyle=”aatw-video”][/wpspoiler]

[wpspoiler name=”Original lyrics” style=”aatw-other” open=”true”]Kappa Odori wa boogie woogie (The Kappa’s dance is boogie woogie)
Youki ni Tanoshiku (very fun in the sunlight)
Mizutama Tobashite Odore yo (kick up water drops and dance!)
DON to Tobikome Ukiagare (jump in (the water) with a (sound of) DON! and float up)
Shibuki wa Pacha pacha pacha pacha kyah! (the spray goes splish splash splish splash, eek!) (pacha is the Japanese onomatopoeia for water splashes)
Kappa boogie woogie kyah! (The Kappa’s Boogie Woogie, eek!)

Youki ni Tanoshiku (very fun in the sunlight)
Mizutama Tobashite Odore yo (kick up water drops and dance!)
DON to Tobikome Ukiagare (jump in (the water) with a (sound of) DON! and float up)
Shibuki wa Pacha pacha pacha pacha kyah! (the spray goes splish splash splish splash, eek!) (pacha is the Japanese onomatopoeia for water splashes)
Kappa boogie woogie kyah! (The Kappa’s Boogie Woogie, eek!)

[/wpspoiler]
[wpspoiler name=”Lyrics of All Around This World version” style=”aatw-other” open=”true”]Kappa Odori wa boogie woogie
There’s a kappa, see it dancing?
Dancing in the sunlight then it goes for a swim
Jump into the water, let’s all go in
Pacha pacha pacha pacha splashing all around
Kappa boogie woogie kyah!
Jump into the water let’s all go in
Kappa boogie woogie kyah![/wpspoiler]

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