‘Shima Uta’: One of the Best Known Okinawan Songs

Last updated 5/21/17 9:42am
Shima Uta” (“島唄” or “Island Song” released in 1993) was written by Kazufumi Miyazawa (宮沢和史), the lead singer of the band The Boom, based on his impressions from visiting Okinawa for a photo shoot in 1992. “Shima uta” is also used as a generic term for traditional Ryukyu islands folk songs. See the Romaji and English lyrics below as well as Greg Irwin’s English cover. At the literal level, this song is about the deigo or deegu, the official flower of Okinawa prefecture.

Deigo, the official flower of Okinawa Prefecture.

Deigo, the official flower of Okinawa prefecture.

Natsukawa Rimi‘s (夏川りみ) version:

4/23/16: The Boom’s version:
[REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE]

Gackt‘s version:

Greg Irwin’s English version:

Shima Uta – Japanese and English lyrics

Deigo no hana1 ga saki kaze wo yobi arashi ga kita Deigo ga sakimidare kaze wo yobi arashi ga kita
Kurikaesu kanashimi wa shima wataru nami no you
Uuji no mori de anata to deai
Uuji no shita de chiyo ni sayonara Shima uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no namida Deigo no hana mo chiri saza nami ga yureru dake
Sasayakana shiawase wa utakata no nami no hana
Uuji no mori de utatta tomo yo
Uuji no shita de yachiyo no wakare Shimau uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no ai wo Umi yo uchuu yo kami yo inochi yo kono mama towa ni yuunagi wo Shima uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no namida
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no ai wo

English:
The deigo flower has blossomed, and it has called the wind, and the storm has arrived.
The deigo flowers are in full bloom, and they have called the wind, and the storm has come.
The repetition of sadness, like the waves that cross the islands.
I met you in the Uji forest.
In the Uji forest I bid farewell to Chiyo.
Island Song, ride the wind, with the birds, cross the sea.
Island song, ride the wind, carry my tears with you.
The deigo blossoms have fallen, soft ocean waves tremble.
Fleeting joy, like flowers carried by the waves.
To my friend who sang in the Uji forest.
Beneath the Uji, bid farewell to Yachiyo.
Island song, ride the wind, with the birds, cross the sea.
Island song, ride the wind, carry my love with you.
To the sea, to the universe, to God, to life, carry on this eternal dusk wind.
Island Song, ride the wind, with the birds, cross the sea.
Island song, ride the wind, carry my love with you.1

__________
1 From allthelyrics.com on 8.1.13.

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3 Responses to ‘Shima Uta’: One of the Best Known Okinawan Songs

  1. Eugene Uchima says:

    Shima Uta by Rimi Natsukawa, doing my best to reconnect to my heritage. Many regrets in life, Shima Uta, helps me accept the loss of my life long partner, Amy.

    • loochoo77 says:

      Eugene, sorry to hear about your loss. Sincerest condolences. I, too, was moved by the music from our heritage to reconnect with my past. In my case, it was the soulful minyo of Uema Ayano. Best wishes on your journey to your roots. Godspeed. -Jim

      • Eugene Uchima says:

        Thank you very much, for allowing me “bend your ear”, your kindness and patience is much appreciated:-))

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