JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.

[b][color=blue]About the song and rowing route... この歌について(日本語解説)[/color][/b]
[color=green](日本語はこの下にあります。[/color]Japanese follows the English below.)

Shiga Prefecture's most famous and beloved song is called [i]Biwako Shuko no Uta[/i] (琵琶湖周航の歌) or "Lake Biwa Rowing Song." I have rendered this song into both pictures and English, according to my own imagination and interpretation.

First composed in 1917 by a bunch of college students from Kyoto, the song has been recorded by many famous Japanese singers and groups. In 1971, it became a major nationwide hit with singer Tokiko Kato's rendition. Today, the song remains a favorite among choir groups in Japan, and a choir singing contest is held for the song every June (since 1997) in Imazu, the birthplace of the song in the northwestern corner of Lake Biwa.

Shiga Prefecture also has stone monuments dedicated to each of the six verses. There's even a museum (Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan) in Imazu dedicated to the song. [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=111]Okaya[/url] city on the shores of Lake Suwa in [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=43]Nagano Prefecture[/url], the birthplace of the song's composer, [url=http://photoguide.jp/txt/Oguchi_Taro]Taro Oguchi[/url] (小口太郎) (1897-1924), also has a song monument and bronze statue of him.

The song is about a four-day, boat-rowing trip around Lake Biwa undertaken on June 27, 1917 by seven college students. They were in the rowing club at an elite college in Kyoto called Dai-san Koto Gakko (No. 3 High School 第三高等学校) which later merged with Kyoto University. As shown by the red line in the map above, they started at [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=155]Otsu[/url] and rowed to [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=28]Omatsu (now called Omi-Maiko)[/url], [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=127]Imazu[/url], [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=18]Chikubushima island[/url], [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=9]Nagahama[/url], [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=16]Hikone[/url], [url=http://photoguide.jp/pix/thumbnails.php?album=147]Chomeiji[/url], and back to Otsu. They stopped overnight at Omatsu, Imazu, and Hikone.

The dotted blue line shows a longer route taken by earlier members of the rowing club beginning in 1893 when they did it for the first time. Twenty-one of them rowed around the lake in three boats, taking four nights and five days. The school's annual summer tradition of rowing around Lake Biwa thus began.

As the song circumnavigates the lake and mentions famous places in Shiga, the words also express symbolic meanings and sometimes unknown or mistaken meanings. The song is widely interpreted as describing the journey of life itself. 

I have visited and photographed all the places mentioned in the song as well as all the song monuments in Otsu, Omi-Maiko, Imazu, Chikubushima, Hikone, Chomeiji, and Okaya (Nagano). I also created some digital images to match the scenes mentioned in the song.

[url=http://photoguide.jp/txt/Lake_Biwa_Rowing_Song]More info about Lake Biwa Rowing Song here.[/url]

Photo: This map of lake Biwa is part of the Verse 5 Song Monument recently built in Oct. 2005 at Hikone Port. The English captions were inserted by me with my computer.
Keywords: shiga lake biwa rowing song biwako shuko no uta boating map

About the song and rowing route... この歌について(日本語解説)

(日本語はこの下にあります。Japanese follows the English below.)

Shiga Prefecture's most famous and beloved song is called Biwako Shuko no Uta (琵琶湖周航の歌) or "Lake Biwa Rowing Song." I have rendered this song into both pictures and English, according to my own imagination and interpretation.

First composed in 1917 by a bunch of college students from Kyoto, the song has been recorded by many famous Japanese singers and groups. In 1971, it became a major nationwide hit with singer Tokiko Kato's rendition. Today, the song remains a favorite among choir groups in Japan, and a choir singing contest is held for the song every June (since 1997) in Imazu, the birthplace of the song in the northwestern corner of Lake Biwa.

Shiga Prefecture also has stone monuments dedicated to each of the six verses. There's even a museum (Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan) in Imazu dedicated to the song. Okaya city on the shores of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, the birthplace of the song's composer, Taro Oguchi (小口太郎) (1897-1924), also has a song monument and bronze statue of him.

The song is about a four-day, boat-rowing trip around Lake Biwa undertaken on June 27, 1917 by seven college students. They were in the rowing club at an elite college in Kyoto called Dai-san Koto Gakko (No. 3 High School 第三高等学校) which later merged with Kyoto University. As shown by the red line in the map above, they started at Otsu and rowed to Omatsu (now called Omi-Maiko), Imazu, Chikubushima island, Nagahama, Hikone, Chomeiji, and back to Otsu. They stopped overnight at Omatsu, Imazu, and Hikone.

The dotted blue line shows a longer route taken by earlier members of the rowing club beginning in 1893 when they did it for the first time. Twenty-one of them rowed around the lake in three boats, taking four nights and five days. The school's annual summer tradition of rowing around Lake Biwa thus began.

As the song circumnavigates the lake and mentions famous places in Shiga, the words also express symbolic meanings and sometimes unknown or mistaken meanings. The song is widely interpreted as describing the journey of life itself.

I have visited and photographed all the places mentioned in the song as well as all the song monuments in Otsu, Omi-Maiko, Imazu, Chikubushima, Hikone, Chomeiji, and Okaya (Nagano). I also created some digital images to match the scenes mentioned in the song.

More info about Lake Biwa Rowing Song here.

Photo: This map of lake Biwa is part of the Verse 5 Song Monument recently built in Oct. 2005 at Hikone Port. The English captions were inserted by me with my computer.

010-IMG_0407.jpg 012-IMG_2888.jpg 014-IMG_2730.jpg 016-IMG_2720.jpg 030-IMG_2875p.jpg 032-IMG_2855p.jpg 034-IMG_2959.jpg

Add your comment
Anonymous comments are not allowed here. Log in to post your comment