Music to Write Realmgard to: The Lullaby of Takeda

“I would quickly quit here and go back. To the other side (of the mountain) I can see, my parents’ house.”

Originating with the lowest classes of Edo period society, the Lullaby of Takeda has apparently been linked to potentially controversial social issues and causes to the point that it was banned from being played by the Japanese national broadcaster until the 1990s, though it has also had a visible place in Japanese Pop Music since at least the 60s.

There is, as far as I can tell, no connection between the song and famous Takeda clan of Feudalera Japan. Notably, the lullaby (竹田) and the clan (武田) are written differently in Japanese.

In the context of the song, Takeda is a neighbourhood in. Kyoto. Though the version I’m going to post is an instrumental, the song does have lyrics and is sung from the point of view of a poor girl working as a nanny in Kyoto:

I would quickly quit here and go back.
To the other side (of the mountain) I can see, my parents’ house.

One translation of one version of the song, as cited on Wikipedia

If you haven’t heard of the Yoshida Brothers, you’ve probably at least heard their music.

One of their songs featured in Nintendo‘s award-winningWii would like to play” ad campaign.

The Yoshida Brothers play a traditional Japanese folk instrument called a shamisen, which operates under basically the same musical principles as a banjo. And looks like this:

A man holding a shamisen.
Photo by Takuya Sakamoto on

Active since 1999, the brothers have achieved at least enough international success and notably to have been included on the Disney album Nightmare Revisited, a compilation of cover versions of the soundtrack of Nightmare Before Christmas.

That they have a version of a famous traditional Japanese folk song isn’t exactly surprising — it’s like any given Australian folk musician inevitably having a version of Waltzing Matilda.

And their Lullaby of Takeda is here:

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