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I've been listening to the song "If I die tonight" by KOHH and at the end of the second verse he says 楽しめよ and the subtitles say it means "live it up". But when I look for translation elsewhere it's translated as "Be able to enjoy" and Google simply translates it to romaji.

So I guess "live it up" is a translation that tries to convey the meaning instead of the literal sentence? Or is 楽しめよ simply a creation by the artist?

http://genius.com/Kohh-if-i-die-tonight-japanese-lyrics

  • This is true for all kinds of translations, but especially when translating songs people tend to take a lot of liberties, rearrange the sentences and stuff like that to make them sound natural. For example, instead of literal ["I love you" tell me] of course you'll see [tell me "I love you"]. When phrases like that are spread out across several subtitles, the translation can seem very wrong if you don't take the context into account. So be very careful with song translations! A lot of times you won't see literal meanings there. – kuchitsu Apr 13 '16 at 8:39
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Seems to be the imperative-form verb 楽{たの}しめ together with the particle よ.


楽しめ

楽{たの}しむ is the original verb, which means "to enjoy oneself". 楽{たの}しめ, the imperative form, is formed by changing む to め. Imperative-form verbs are blunt, and are used in emergencies, in commands, to be rude, etc.

Thus 楽{たの}しめ roughly means "Enjoy yourself!" (As a command).


The particle よ is often used to soften commands, warnings, insistence, and so on. So it would seem that 楽{たの}しめよ is a firm command, not a threatening one.


In the context of the song, 死{し}ぬまでを 楽{たの}しめよ might be close to "until you die, you'd better enjoy yourself!"

More examples of imperative verbs:

(Father to child:) 早{はや}く 寝{ね}ろ! Go to sleep early!

(Teacher to lazy student:) 勉{べん}強{きょう}しろ! Study!

(Robber to bank receptionist:) 金{かね}を 全{ぜん}部{ぶ}出{だ}せ! Take out all the money! (Caution: かね is a blunt and unsophisticated way to say "money".)

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I’m comfortable with the lyrics, "If I die tonight" being followed by the second verse, "live it up" as translated in English. But I’m uncomfortable with the Japanese wording, “楽しめよ” coming after “If I die tonight.” It doesn't make sense.

“楽しめよ” is an imperative form of “楽しむ,” meaning “enjoy (the life, game, sports, journey, drinking, you name it).” How can you say “let’s enjoy (your short life) when you’re going to die tonight”?

"Enjoy" and "live it up" are different. I can understand that you say “もし今夜死ぬとしたら、その前に思い切り好きなことをして〈楽しんで〉死ね - Let’s live it up, if you die tonight,” but I don’t understand the phrasing -もし今夜死ぬとしたら、楽しめよ – Let’s enjoy if you die tonight,”

Seriously, what on the earth do you enjoy - 楽しむ - when you're gonna die tonight, say within 24 hours from now ?

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