Recently I've found several versions of Soran Bushi, and this puzzles me-I don't understand why it would be different in different places. Moreover, I don't understand some of the vocabulary in it:

声を嗄れよと 唄声上げて

しわがれる is to become hoarse, should it be よう and が instead of を?

腕もちぎれよ 舞姿 チョイ

ちぎれる is to be torn? Again what is the よ? Volitional form?

ヤサエ エンヤ-
ねじりハチマキ 長袢天は

What does ながばんてん mean?

踊れ踊れと ソーラン節よ

れ-is this imperative?


Is オラ suppose to be the I-pronoun?

今じゃ北海道の 南中節よ
ヤサエ エンヤ-

Now that I look at the last part, it seems like this is a remake of Soran Bushi, but I don't know why it's the most popular on the English Youtube then. Also, even with respect to the "normal" Soran Bushi, I have yet to be able to find a consistent ordering of the verses.

Lastly, what does ソーラン mean?

  • 2
    Please try to avoid asking six questions in one. The Stack Exchange format doesn't work well when you do that.
    – user1478
    Oct 10, 2013 at 1:39
  • I know, I'm sorry. I knew they were all somewhat related-I thought there might be a chance they would mesh together.
    – user3457
    Oct 10, 2013 at 2:48
  • Google image search 長袢天 ;)
    – nkjt
    Oct 10, 2013 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Regarding why you find different lyrics in different places - this is pretty much true for most folk songs in most languages, either due to regional variants or improvisation. For example, famous songs such as "Drunken Sailor" often have various additional/optional verses.

In this specific case, the Japanese wikipedia article on 鰊場作業唄 describes the format as 沖揚げ音頭 surrounded by 囃子詞{はやしことば}like ソーラン and ドッコイショ. These would be working songs, so many of the words are simply there to keep a rhythm going when people are doing some joint work that requires them to keep in rhythm (hauling in nets, for example).

ヤーレンソーランソーラン ヤレン ソーランソーラン ハイハイ
鰊来たかと鴎に訊けば わたしゃ発つ鳥 波に聞け チョイ  ← 沖揚げ音頭
ヤサエンエンヤーーーァサーァノ ドッコイショ ハードッコイショドッコイショ 

And, unsurprisingly, sometimes the 沖揚げ音頭 include deliberately rude/lewd verses (listed in the above linked wikipedia article under 卑猥な歌詞の一例)

The version you quote appears to have been popularised in the 1980s and is often performed by school groups, so not so surprising that it's popular on places like youtube. (description in English here).

  • So the whole song was just rewritten at some point? Also, any idea what 腕を千切れる is?
    – user3457
    Oct 11, 2013 at 2:59
  • Someone called 伊藤多喜雄 performed that (particular) modern version. You might call it a song inspired by the folk version, or a modern remake. 千切れる here is likely not literal (think "work until your arms fall off").
    – nkjt
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:37
  • Also, just to reiterate, these songs are similar to military cadences, sea shanties and the like - they aren't written formally in the first place so it's not a case that there was a single "original" and then 伊藤多喜雄 rewrote it.
    – nkjt
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:41

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