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Lyr Add: Songs of the Russo-Japanese War

Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Sep 14 - 04:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 14 - 03:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Sep 14 - 12:55 PM
Lighter 14 Apr 15 - 08:07 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Songs of the Russo-Japanese War
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 04:04 PM


The war in Manchuria was important in 20th C. history. Japanese militarism was strengthened by victory and a sense of destiny led to the occupation of SE Asia, and attack on Pearl Harbor. The Russian defeat contributed to the downfall of the Tsars and the rise of the Soviet system.

Many songs were composed on both sides, but they are almost unknown outside the two countries and are represented online by a very few and mostly poor translations. Two Russian and one Japanese song were found.

"Madagaskar" is not a song of this War, but its story parallels the later experience of the Russian Baltic Fleet, as they made the long, fruitless trip around Africa and lay off Madagascar on the way to Port Arthur in Manchuria.
A German song of the late 19th C., it appears in folk song collections; in one instance with an etching of a sailing ship. The Russian Baltic Fleet stalled for a time off Madagascar, hence the suggestion that the song was related to it.
It is known primarily from a later version popular during WW2, particularly with the Afrika Korps, as revised by Just Scheu, 1934. Both texts are given here.

German, 19th C., Anon. Music Robert Wanner

Wir lagen vor Madagaskar
Und hatten die Pest an Bord
In die Kesseln, da faulte das Wasser
Und täglich ging einer über Bord.

Ahoi, Kameraden, ahoi, ahoi!
Leb wohl, kleines Mädel, leb wohl, leb wohl!

*(Ja, wenn das Schifferklavier an Bord ertönt
Dann sind die Matrosen so still, ja so still
Weil ein jeder nach Heimat sich sehnt
Die er gerne einmal wiedersehen will. )

Wir lagen schon vierzehn Tage
*kein Wind durch die Segeln uns pfiff
Der Durst war die Größte Plage
dann liefen wir auf ein Riff.

Ahoi, Kameraden, ahoi, ahoi! &c.

*Der Langhein der war der erste,
er soff von dem faulen Naß,
die Pest, sie gab ihm das Letzte
und wir ihm ein Seemannsgrab.

Ahoi, Kameraden, ahoi, ahoi! &c.

We lay off Madagascar
And had a plague on board
That fouled the water in the tanks
And daily another body went over board.

Ahoy, comrades, ahoy, ahoy!
Farewell, little girl, farewell, farewell!

(Yes, when the accordion plays on board
Then the sailors are still, so still
Because every man longs for home
That he loves and wishes to see once more.)

Already fourteen days we lay,
*No wind blew through our sails
Thirst was our greatest worry
Since we ran onto a reef.

Friend Death came to the first
As he drank from the foul water.
In the end, the plague got him,
And we gave him a seaman's grave.

*(The 2nd verse is not in the early illustrated print; perhaps a later addition)
*The Russian ships were coal-fired.

The article, "Wir lagen vor Madagaskar" in Wikipedia, includes a musical score.

*"Der lange Hein," often translated as 'friend Death" is an old German expression. Two verses may be joined here.
The song surfaced in the German Army in the 1930s. During WW2, in revised form, it was a favorite with the Afrika Korps.

Just Schau, 1934

Wir lagen vor Madagaskar
Und hatte die Peste an Bord.
In den Kübeln da faulte das Wasser
Und mancher ging über Bord.
Ahoi, Kameraden, Ahoi, ahoi.
Leb wohl kleines Mädel, leb wohl, leb wohl.

Wenn das Schifferklavier an Bord ertönt,
Ja da sind die Matrosen so still,
Weil ein jeder nach seiner Heimat sich sehnt,
Ahoi, Kameraden, &c.

Und sein kleines Mädel, das sehnt er sich her,
Das zu Haus so heiß ihn geküßt!
Und dann schaut er hinaus auf das weite Meer,
Wo fern seine Heimat ist.
Ahoi, &c.

Wir lagen schon vierzehn Tage,
Kein Wind in den Segeln uns pfiff.
Der Durst war die großte Plage,
Dann liefen wir auf ein Riff,
Ahoi, &c.

Der Langbein der war der erste,
Der soff von dem faulen Naß.
Die Pest gab ihm das letzte,
Man schuf ihm ein Seemanns grab.
Ahoi, &c.

Und endlich nach 30 Tagen,
Da kamen ein Schiff in Sicht,
Jedoch es fuhr vorüber
Und sah uns Tote nicht.
Ahoi, &c.

Kameraden, wann sehn wir uns wieder,

Kameraden, wann kehren wir zurück,
Und setzen zum trunke uns nieder,
Und genießen das ferne Glück.
Ahoi, &c.

http://www.all the thread.php?t=122497


We anchored off Madagascar,
The plague was on board,
The water was foul in our water barrels,
And many went overboard.
Ahoy, comrades, ahoy, ahoy,
Farewell, little girl, farewell.

Every time the accordion on board sounded,
The sailors were so quiet
Because every one longs for home
And misses those he hopes to see again.
Ahoy, &c.

And each one longs for his little girl
Who kissed him so passionately back home!
And then he looks far across the wide sea,
To his home so far away.
Ahoy, &c.

We had already been anchored for fourteen days,
No wind blew in our sails;
Thirst was our worst plague;
Then we ran aground on a reef.
Ahoy, &c.

Long Legs was the first
Who drank the fouled water.
The plague got him at last;
We gave him a seaman's grave.
Ahoy, &c.

After thirty days,
A ship came in sight,
But it did not stop
And they did not see our dead.
Ahoy, &c.

Comrades, when will we see each other again?
When will we be back (home)
To sit down and drink together
And enjoy the faraway good fortune.
Ahoy, &c.

There was a great surge in Japanese patriotism as a result of their victory in which they destroyed the Russian Pacific Fleet. Land forces on both sides in Manchuria were large. The Russians suffered some 89,000 casualties with 6000 killed. Japanese casualties were approximately 71,000, with 14,000 killed. Many casualties on both sides were the result of disease.
The Russians wanted Port Arthur to give them a year-round open port in the Pacific Ocean.

To relieve the siege of Port Arthur, the Russian Baltic Fleet departed the North Sea and, denied the use of the Suez Canal, steamed around the coast of Africa. Repairs were needed as they reached Nossi-Be, off the northwest coast of Madagascar. While stalled there, they learned of the Russian defeat in Manchuria. Lives were lost as the result of disease.
The voyage took 500,000 tons of coal and seven months to reach the Sea of Japan.

The best known song of the Russo-Japanese War:

Ilya A. Shatrov, 1906; Waltz. Lyrics S. Petrov

Around us, it is calm; the hills are covered by mist.
Suddenly, the moon shines through the clouds,
Graves hold their calm.

The white glow of the crosses- heroes are asleep.
The shadows of the past whirl around,
Recalling again and again the victims lost in battles.

Dear mother is shedding tears,
The young wife is weeping;
All are weeping as one,
Cursing fate, cursing destiny!

Around us, it's calm; the wind blew the fog away,
Warriors are asleep on the hills of Manchuria
And they cannot see the Russian tears.

Let the rustling grasses lull you to sleep,
Sleep in peace, heroes of the Russian land,
Dear sons of the Fatherland.

You fell for Russia, perished for Fatherland,
Believe us, we shall avenge you
And celebrate a glorious feast!

P. Shubin, rewritten 1945

The camp fire fades away,
The mist has covered the hills.
The accordion softly plays
Light sounds of an old waltz .

In tune with the music
The soldier heroes are recalled.
The dews, the birches, and the blonde tresses
And a maiden's sweet look.

There, where we are awaited today,
On the meadow in the hour of evening
We danced this waltz
With even the most reserved.

Evenings of shy appointments
Long gone, vanished in the dark...
Manchurian hills are sleeping under the hazy moon.

We have preserved
The glory of our native land.
In cruel battles in the East
We walked countless roads.

But even in the fighting
In the far-away alien region
We recall our native horizons,
Recall our Motherland.

*Far, oh far off
In this moment we see it in the embers!
The gloomy nights of Manchuria
And the clouds floating there.

*Into the boundless darkness,
Past the nightly shades,
Lighter than birds, higher than the border,
Higher than Siberian mountains!

Leaving that dismal region,
All our most vivid memories,
Our love and our sadness
Fly after us in joyous journey.

The camp fire dies down,
The mist covers the hills.
The accordion quietly murmurs
The faint sounds of an old waltz.

*The translation is poor; I have improved some lines.
A genuine song of the Russo-Japanese War, reborn during WW2.

Lyr. Add: VARYAG (Varingian)
Russian cruiser, sunk in Chemulpo Bay, 1904

On deck, comrades, all on deck!
The last parade is coming!
Our proud 'Varyag' does not surrender to the enemy;
No one asks for mercy.

The colored pennants aloft on the masts,
The chains rattle as the anchor is raised;
In feverish haste decks are cleared;
The cannons are readied for action.

And straight from the port we go into battle,
To die for the Fatherland.
There await the yellow devils,
Pouring forth death and destruction!

Rumbling and detonations,
The roar of the guns, the hiss of shells
We take our stand and our fearless 'Varyag'
Enters the burning hell.

In the last convulsive tortures, death everywhere,
Amid the roar of the guns, smoke and groans,
The ship is covered by a sea of fire,
Like a fiery equine mane!

Farewell, comrades, farewell, hurrah!
Down into the boiling deep beneath us.
Who thought yesterday
That today we would sleep beneath the waves.

*No marker, no cross
Where we lie down far from our homeland
For the glory of the Russian Fleet
Praise forever----the epic of our warship.

*The cruiser refused to surrender; it was sunk by Japanese firepower. Some of its sailors were picked up by British and French ships in the vicinity.
The cruiser was built in Philadelphia in 1898. Salvaged and repaired by the Japanese, it served as the light cruiser Soya. Returned to the Russians in 1916 and seized by the British in 1917. Ran aground in 1918 and eventually sold for scrap in 1920. The flag was restored to the Russians in 2010, on loan from Korea.
*Approximate translation from the German at ru.wikipedia; I could not find a reliable one in English. Discussions report many variants. The Varingians were ancestral Russians.
The song received a second birth with the "Potemkin" in WW2.

There are several comprehensive collections of Russian lyrics, but no good English translations.

The following is the only Japanese song about the 1904-1905 War that I found in translation.

(?) Miyoshi Wake; 1905

Hundreds of leagues from our home country
In far away Manchuria
Illuminated under the red evening sun
Underneath rocks of a hill buried lies my dear comrade.

Sadly I recall the day before
That he had bravely led the charge.
Our foe was severely beaten back
Will this brave warrior rest well here?

Yet, in the very midst of battle
This comrade who was close to me
Suddenly was struck down along with the flag he bore.
Without a moment's thought I rushed to his side.

Military discipline is harsh, but how could I have just left him lying there?
"Hang on!" I said, holding him,
Tending to his wounds, with bulletsl flying past us.
Just at that moment our army's charge broke through.

"It's for the sake of our country, I'll be fine."
My comrade turned his face toward the task at hand.
"Don't tarry here," he said, with tears in his eyes.
Afterwards his spirit may remain
But nothing would survive of him in body, I know.
"Then I shall go," I said, and left him.
And thus we were to part for all eternity.

Text revised from a Youtube video.

Better translations would be appreciated. Translations of "Ryoyo Castle," and "Porando" (not the modern song) should be found.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs of the Russo-Japanese War
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 03:25 PM

Japanese Poem and Anti-war Song, 1905.

Akiko Yosano, 1905

O my young brother, I cry for you
Don't you understand, you must not die!
You who were born the last of all
Command a special store of parents' love
Would parents place a blade in children's hands
Teaching them to murder other men
Teaching them to kill and then to die?
Have you so learned and grown to twenty-four?

O my brother, you must not die!
Could it be the Emperor His Grace
Exposeth not to jeopardy of war
But urgeth men to spilling human blood
And dying in the way of wild beasts,
Calling such death the path to glory?
If His Grace possesseth noble heart
What must be the thoughts that linger there? - The World's Poetry Archive

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs of the Russo-Japanese War
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 12:55 PM

Some Japanese Russo-Japanese War songs I would like to see:

Warship- Gunkan
Parting at sakurai- Sakurai no Ketsubetsu
Japanese Navy- Nippon Kaigun
Japanese Army- Nippon Rikugun
Battle Near Mukden- Hoten Fukin no Kaisen
Triumphal Return- Gaisen
Encounter at Shuishihying- Suishiei no Kaiken
Song of Infantrymen- Hohei no Uta
Battle of Japan Sea- Nippon-kai Kaisen
Commander Hirose- Hirosi Chusa
Lt. Col. Tachibana- Tachibana Chusa

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs of the Russo-Japanese War
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Apr 15 - 08:07 AM

The Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) saw the widespread use of modern artillery, modern machine-guns, and barbed-wire trenches, innovations popularly associated with World War I.

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