Shimanchu nu Takara / The Island People’s Treasure

 

 

This is an Okinawan song popular in Okinawa. (So I’m told.) Because Japanese is the dominant language even in Okinawa, most of the song is in Japanese. However, there are a few Okinawan words.

 

I made this translation using my elementary Japanese/Okinawan language skills, and lots of people at the Okinawan Cultural Center helped. This is a non-literal translation, so I placed more emphasis on making a nice-sounding translation that flowed well in the English language that still kept the original meaning, than on a word-for-word translation.

 

Though the song is about the Ryukyu Islands, I think it fits well for Hawaii too, no?

 

 

Shimanchu Nu Takara (Non-literal Translation)

 

I was born under this island’s sky

How much I do not know

About the shining stars, the floating clouds

I don’t understand these things

But anybody knows

When I’m sad, or when I’m happy

I look up many times at this sky

If you study just the textbook, there are many things you will not understand

The important things of this place

Are the island people’s treasure

 

I was born in this island’s sea

How much I do not know

About the coral reef, and the swimming fish, which are becoming polluted

I don’t know what to do about these things

But anybody knows

We play in the sand, and float on the waves

Little by little, this sea is changing

Television can’t project, and radio can’t announce

The important things of this place

The island people’s treasure

 

I was born of this island’s song

How much I do not know

I don’t understand the meaning

Of the love songs people sing

But I know more than other people

About the night, the time we celebrate, which lasts until morning

Until that time, this song will plays

Until the time comes to leave this island

I want to know more and more about the important things

This is the island people’s treasure

This is the island people’s treasure

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