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In the lyrics for Galileo Galilei's 嵐のあとで, there is a line:

バイバイって言{い}った、バイバイって返{かえ}した

which a translation online says "You said 'Goodbye', I replied, 'Goodbye'". Could this be also read as "I said 'Goodbye', you replied, 'Goodbye'"? How do you determine who is the speaker and who is spoken to?

The lines up to this point are, if you'd like them for context:

あの日{ひ}歩{ある}いた道{みち}を、 君{きみ}は覚{おぼ}えている?

砂{じゃ}利{り}っぽいアスファルトと、 頬{ほお}撫{な}でていく風{かぜ}

Please correct the lyrics if need be, especially the kanji: if I could written something in kanji or something should not be written in kanji etc.

1

I've read carefully the lyrics.
http://www.uta-net.com/song/187561/

I couldn't find the phrase that clearly tells who is the speaker of "バイバイって言った." Needless to say, this is a song of unrequited love, and the person who tells this story must be a boy, because he calls his lover as "君{きみ}."
(Girls usually call their lovers as "あなた" in lyrics.)

バイバイって​言った、バイバイって​返​した
遠{とお}くなった君{きみ}は 振{ふ}り返{かえ}らなかった

Even though the speaker of this song is a boy, we can have two explications.

Case-1:

(僕は)バイバイって​言った、(君は)バイバイって​返​した
遠{とお}くなった君{きみ}は 振{ふ}り返{かえ}らなかった

Case-2:

(君は)バイバイって​言った、(僕は)バイバイって​返​した
遠{とお}くなった君{きみ}は 振{ふ}り返{かえ}らなかった

As far as the above phrases, I feel Case-1 is natural, because the speaker of this story is the boy. In case-2, the subject is abruptly changed to she, which is somewhat unnatural.

However, the last phrases of these lyrics,

それから君に 伝{つた}えるはずだった
それも 忘{わす}れて"もう行こう"って手{て}を引{ひ}いた

This means the boy didn't tell his lover something important. It might have made her say "good-bye."

HTH

  • Thank you for the insightful analysis! Just had another question come to mind based on it: You mentioned that girls would refer their lovers as あなた and boys would use 君. Your answer seems to imply that this is based on the speaker's gender, rather than the person being spoken about. Did I understand this right? Or is it that 君 is used to refer to girls and あなた for boys generally, regardless of the gender of the speaker? – tamayura Mar 4 '17 at 2:47
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Unless I slept through 16 years of schooling in the only Japanese-speaking country in the world, I would have to say that it was not this songwriter's intention to make clear who said good-bye first.

I would even go so far as to say that it is of little to no importance who said it first when both persons said it anyway. It is not that person A said "X" and Person B replied "Y".

So, my answer would be that it is left up to you to decide who said it first. I highly doubt that many Japanese-speakers would even think of this as a "problem" if they just happened to hear this song on the radio. I know I would not.

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