Japanese Old Song: Tombo (Dragonfly)

I’ve heard this song few times while lived in Japan. Some people said it is one of most popular song in Karaoke place. Knowledge about thing such this sometimes could help you make a bond with your Japanese friends. So, no harm to read the rest of this article ^_^

Tombo, means dragonfly, is song written and sang by  Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi (長渕 剛, Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi). It was on top of Japan chart in 1988. The video above shows Tsuyoshi’s strong emotion with this song. He tell his own life story through this song. What is the content of this song can be found in this link which I quote:

He’s singing about how he wishes to be true to himself each time he hears his own footsteps on the asphalt. He sees people saying one thing and doing the opposite, counts the nights he can’t live to stand, and pretends to sleep in the darkness he can’t run away from. He could have given his life to get to Tokyo, the capital city. He took his flat Boston bag and traveled north. When he’s pushed to the ground and has to bite sand, his repressed conscience comes back and reprimands him to the bone. He wonders where the happy dragonfly is flying off to. He sees the happy dragonfly stick its tongue out at him and laugh.

The song is about a country boy who’s come out to Tokyo. He’s met his share of disillusionment, but he’s stuck and can’t leave Tokyo. He looks up and sees a free dragonfly. Not insulting him or encouraging him, it’s just carefree.

There’s really no cultural significance to the dragonfly (the tombo in the Japanese expression “gokuraku tombo” doesn’t even refer to a dragonfly), so comes from whatever personal experience Nagabuchi had. But I think the song is really about the singer (Nabaguchi)’s love and hate for the big city Tokyo. It goes hand-in-hand with Crystal King’s Daitokai.

I’ve manage to find the lyrics, both in romanji or kanji:

Kotsu Kotsu to asufaruto ni kizamu
ashioto o fumi shimeru tabi ni
Oreha orede aritsuzuketai so negatta
Urahara no kokoro tachi ga miete
Yarikirenai yoru o kazoe
Nagorerarenai yami no naka de
Kyou mo nemutta furi o suruShinitai kurai ni akogareta
hana no miyako dai tokyou
usuppera no bosuton baggu
kita e kita e mukatta
zaratsuita ni gai suna o kamu to
nejifuserareta shojiki sa ga
ima goroni natte yake ni honemi ni shimiruAh ah shiawase no tombo yo doko e
Omae ha doko e tondeyuku
Ah ah shiawase no tombo ga hora
shita o dashite waratteraaAshita kara mata fuyu no kaze ga
yokuttsura o fukinukete yuku
sore demo omeome to ikenuku
Ore o hajirau
hadashi no man’maja samukute
koori tsuku yo na yoru o kazoe
dakedo ore ha kono mati o aishi
soshite kono mati o nikundaShinitai kurai ni akogareta
Tokyo no bakayaroo ga
Shiran kao shite damatta mama tsuttatteru
ketsu no suwa no warui tokai de
Ikidoori no sake o taraseba
Hampa na ore no honemi ni shimiru

Aa aa shiawase no tombo yo doko e
Omae ha doko e tondeyuku
Ah ah shiawase no tombo ga hora
shita o dashite waratteraa

Aa aa shiawase no tombo yo doko e
Omae ha doko e tondeyuku
Ah ah shiawase no tombo ga hora
shita o dashite waratteraa

作詞 長渕剛
作曲 長渕剛
唄 長渕剛

ざらついたにがい砂を噛むと ねじふせられた正直さが

ああ しあわせのとんぼよ どこへ
ああ しあわせのとんぼが ほら

だけど俺はこの街を愛し そしてこの街を憎んだ


ああ しあわせのとんぼよ どこへ
ああ しあわせのとんぼが ほら

ああ しあわせのとんぼよ どこへ
ああ しあわせのとんぼが ほら
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