Shiina Ringo – Irohanihoheto

With Japan never uploading things I like from them, and the main culprit being Sony, I guess I had to come around and post Shiina Ringo’s latest single (just after the disbandment of Tokyo Jihen).

Titled Irohanihoheto (いろはにほへと) — the incomprehensible title for those with a less moderate use of the Japanese language and culture — refers to a pretty old Japanese poem that dates back a thousand years that uses every single letter of the Japanese alphabet just once, and still makes sense. It still makes sense- how is that possible?

The poem known as Iroha (いろは) talks about the concepts of Buddhism such as the unpredictability of life, and the ever-changing nature of things [1], with a first verse that gives Ringo her title. So could I translate the title to “Colors Will Fall” or maybe “Colors Will Fade“?

A flower in full bloom with beautiful colors will fall off some day.
We living in this world also cannot live forever.
Surmount this mutable and changeable deep mountain of waver now,
And reach the world of enlightenment.
You will be in a quiet state of mind without having an empty dream
Or being drunk with the illusory world of phenomena.

The video is also available on YinYueTai.

The music video was directed by Yuichi Kodama (児玉裕一) who had previously directed Ringo and Tokyo Jihen, as well as Perfume, Salyu, Polysics, Mr. Children and Namie Amuro.

Irohanihoheto serves as the main theme for the FujiTV drama Bitter Sweet Home Kyoto (鴨、京都へ行く. -老舗旅館の女将日記-), and will be officially released as a single on May 27th (hopefully will show up on time on iTunes) alongside Dawn of Loneliness (孤独のあかつき, Kodoku no Akatsuki).


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for providing the info behind the song!

    • amy says:

      @Diandra Rodriguez, I tried getting the lyrics of the song as well, but they don’t seem to have much to do with the poem. :(

  2. ghost says:

    So which one is going to top your list of songs for 2013? Shiina or Faye?

    • amy says:

      @ghost, at this point in time. It’s still Faye – I found the translation for that song and it floored me. If this song had been more about the poem, it might have had a battling chance.

  1. November 12, 2013

    […] has had a really good year this 2013 with the release of Irohanihoheto (いろはにほへと) [MV], her collaboration with SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS titled Koroshiya Kiki Ippatsu […]

  2. March 5, 2014

    […] Ringo ha tenido un increíble 2013 con los lanzamientos de Irohanihoheto (いろはにほへと) [MV], su colaboración con SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS titulada Koroshiya Kiki […]

  3. October 9, 2014

    […] though is not on the rest, which has not been updated since the release of Irohanihoheto [MV]. Hi Izuru Tokoro will be released on November […]

  4. October 10, 2014

    […] pero no en el resto de ellas, que no se han actualizado desde el lanzanmiento de Irohanihoheto [MV]. Hi Izuru Tokoro se lanza el 5 de […]

  5. June 27, 2018

    […] has had a really good year this 2013 with the release of Irohanihoheto (いろはにほへと) [MV], her collaboration with SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS titled Koroshiya Kiki Ippatsu […]

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