Translation: 桜の森

Translating from Japanese to English one of my favorite songs: Sakura no Mori, or Cherry Blossom Forrest, by Gen Hoshino.

桜の森(さくらのもり)by Gen Hoshino (星野源・ほしのげん)is one of my favorite songs right now. Like a lot of his songs, the lyrics are very wholesome and the beat is so catchy.


Live version
Album version

The vocabulary and grammar don't seem too difficult, so here's my attempt at translating the lyrics:


桜の森 | Cherry Blossom Forest

あそこの森の 満開の下は
虫もその他も 土を開け 外に出てくるだろう
どけそこどけ 欲しいのは光
君もその他も 胸を開け 足を開け 踊るならば

Under the full bloom of the forest over yonder,
Bugs and other things there seem to open up the ground and come out
Move out of the way, what we want is the light
You and others, if you just open your heart, let your legs loose[1], and dance...

僕は それをただ見てる

I[2] am only looking there[3],
I'm only gazing there, the demons are laughing[4]
I'm only gazing there, I'm only looking there
I'm only gazing there, turning into petals
I'm only gazing (there) at you[5], you know

どこぞの森の 満開の下で
虫も貴方も 土の中 外に憧れたろ
悲しみ消えた 春風がさらい
もしよければ 胸を開け 足を開け 跳ねるならば

Somewhere under the full bloom of a forest,
The bugs and you[6], inside the soil, yearned for the outside
Sadness has disappeared, the spring wind sweeps it away
If you don't mind[7], if you just open your heart, let your legs loose[1:1], and jump...

僕は それをただ見てる

I[2:1] am only looking there
I'm only gazing there, turning into petals
I'm only gazing at you[4:1], you know

花びらが流れる (x2)

Don't cry, I'm waiting
Don't disappear, I'm waiting
From the radio, streaming
The petals are falling (x2)


I[1:2] am only looking
I'm only gazing there[4:2], the demons are laughing[6:1]
I'm only gazing there, I'm only looking there
I'm only gazing there, turning into petals
I'm only gazing (there) at you[5:1], you know

  1. (足を開け)is literally "open your legs", but that has a sexual connotation in English, so I changed it up a bit. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. (僕)I, implying a male speaker ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. (笑う) can also mean smiling, ridiculing, sneering ↩︎

  4. それ is literally "that [noun]", context determining what [noun] is. I think 星野源 is purposely being ambiguous with what [noun] is until the end of the chorus, which my best guess is 君[5:2] in 「君をただ見つめているよ」. This is why I initially translate それ as "there" rather than "you there" (or "at that", or "at it over there"), so the last line of the chorus has a little "punch" of meaning to it. Also, just "at that" sounds more abrasive in English than "there". ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  5. (君)typically implying a male speaker, referring to someone they are close to ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  6. (貴方)typically implying a female subject, referring to their husband. The kana version あなた (pronounced the same way) is more for anyone, by anyone (?). If used kindly, the target person is someone close to the subject. If used rudely, the target person is not necessarily close to the subject, or is held in contempt. Since these are lyrics, I'm not sure whether 貴方 or あなた is actually intended, but it is clear the target person is being referred to kindly and lovingly. ↩︎ ↩︎

  7. もしよければ also something like, "Supposing it is OK..." ↩︎


I think this song is about a man in a cherry blossom forrest enjoying nature with the bugs and spirits. It is spring time: the bugs and other life were hiding underground because of the cold, sad, dark winter. The cherry blossom trees have bloomed, the petals beginning to fall as they don't stay in bloom for long. The man is encouraging someone to come out and dance, jump, and enjoy the brightness of spring.

Who is this someone? It could be ambiguous, not just because the Japanese language can be very ambiguous in meaning, but also because song lyrics in many cultures and languages are often that way. Or it could be that I'm not 上手 enough yet to figure it out with certainty. :)

My best guess is this "someone" is his love, someone who is metaphorically holed up, like the literal bugs in the ground. And even with all the activity going on (demons laughing, bugs wanting to come out of the ground, petals falling, radio streaming), his attention is mainly on his love ("only gazing at you"). But the "someone" can also just be nature itself, or all living things (a general "you").

One line that confuses me is 「花びらに変わる」or "turning into petals." What or who exactly is turning into petals? Is it the speaker, or the love/bugs/nature he's looking at? It seems odd to think any of them are literally turning into petals, but maybe that's just a poetic expression – maybe of the speaker's love "coming out of their shell" into the brightness of spring, so to speak.

Edit: I asked my 大学の日本語の先生 for some help, and she helped confirm that 君 is the one turning into petals. Hurray!

See also