Lullaby from Japan

The Cow Herder and the Weaver Princess

There was once a weaver princess called Orihime and a cow herder named Hikoboshi living beyong the Mily Way. The Princess' father and king decided that Hikoboshi was a good candidate as his daughter's husband. But after the two of them met each other, they fell so much in love that they forgot their jobs and played all the time. The king was angry with them and separated them on opposite sides of the river. But when the king saw how much grief his daughter felt, he made a deal with the couple. The king allowed them to meet only once a year on 7th July. This become the Star Festival (Tanabata) in Japan.

Not only is this a legendary folktale in Japan. The 7th July in also celebrated by the Chinese in the name of the two lovers. In fact, as we have discussed in class, Japanese culture and Chinese culture do have a lot in common

Let's now watch a performance of traditional Japanese music, which includes the Koto (琴 or 箏), the Shamisen (三味線) and the Shakuhachi (尺八). (You may click HERE if you would like to read more about Traditional Japanese music)

Traditional music has lost its popularity because of its slow speed and repetative sound. There are many ways to save these traditions. One of them is to play these instruments in a pop style, although the older generation may frown at this, the Shamisen version of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi can certainly draws more attention from the young generation!

If you'd like to learn more about Japanese culture, you may visit KIDS WEB JAPAN.