I came across an insane child's melody about stepping kittens. What is the etymology of this melody?


And, what does "かつぶしゃる" mean?

  • After looking at the link, I believe there is a typo; it should be かつぶしやる instead of かつぶしゃる.
    – rhyaeris
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 4:54
  • This makes me think about an insanely cruel song from my childhood about a family of small rabbits who went out for a walk and for a reason or another they all started dying: one shot by a hunter, one drowning and so on up to the last one who, alone, died of a broken heart. I really wonder who comes up with such lyrics for kids songs.. and why somehow they get to the kids I mean.. someone has to sing them. lol
    – Tommy
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


It's not かつぶしゃる but かつぶし + やる. かつぶし is かつおぶし (known in Japan as cats' favorite food), and やる is "to give". "猫かつぶしやるからよっといで" = "Cat, I'll give you katsuobushi, so come closer."

The melody itself is Flea Waltz, and is known all over the world under various names. The composer is unknown.

The best-known Japanese lyrics, which you linked, were written by Hiroo Sakata in the 1960's. There is another version by Toshio Oka. The English lyrics you posted look somewhat similar to Sakata's version, but looks much more cruel and weird. Where did you find it?

There are a few people who study this song (like Rumiko Miyamoto), but apparently no one knows why the lyricist came up with these lines. But are they that insane? I mean, as compared to Mother Goose, for example?

  • 1
    ha. ha. Where did I find it?... Well, I was killing time and watching "World's Weirdest Toys" on youtube. There was a toy that looked like a cat run-over by a car. The title was "ねこふんじゃった." I googled that title and saw that the toy was based on an 絵本. What I linked to is an animated version of that 絵本. My niece loves cats, so idea of stomping on cats was startling to me.
    – riverflows
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 5:12
  • In my search, I did find かつぶし as a type of fish, but that didn't fit the version of the song I was using. Your answer is so interesting. I need to do more thinking about this tomorrow. thanks!
    – riverflows
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 5:22
  • @riverflows ~じゃった (=てしまった) expresses that it was accidental and regrettable. Sakata's version basically says "I accidentally stepped on you, sorry!" Maybe someone who is not good at Japanese did this cruel translation...?
    – naruto
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 5:32
  • Bonito flake = Katsuobushi
    – user20428
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 6:44
  • There's also a version with こねこふんじゃった "I (accidentally) stepped on a kitten". The rhythm is just a little different: youtu.be/3UHiyFzobGc
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 7:49

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