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月の砂漠

Album: Abracadabra
2020.09.21 Lingua Sounda/Victor


Deserts of the Moon
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko

Far away far away in the distance
There wanders a lonely king with no name
Swaying upon the back of a camel
After a mirage he goes off chasing

I'm nothing but a single grain in the sand1
Glitter glittering, and burning up like fever
Ah come on and drench me
O flaming heat shimmer

Through the Deserts of the Moon
Farther and farther I wander2
Till I turn into bones
Till I turn to ashes

Treasures of gold and of silver
A princess, bronze-brown and exquisite
Scorpion sitting on her tan skin
This season has led her on down into Hell  

You're nothing but a single grain in the sand3
Bright shining, and dancing round in the wind
Ah come on and melt me
Flickering heat shimmer

Through the Deserts of the Moon
Farther and farther you wander
Till you turn into bones
Till you turn to ashes

Through the Deserts of the Moon
Farther and farther we wander
Through the Deserts of the Moon
On a camel's back, we sway


Note on the title: "Tsuki no Sabaku," translated as "Moon Desert," is a work by Japanese poet and artist Katou Masao. The poem "Tsuki no Sabaku," accompanied by an illustration, was first published in the March 1923 issue of the girls' magazine Shojo Club. Young composer Sasaki Suguru then set the poem to music. The song version of "Tsuki no Sabaku" was used by Sasaki in his music lessons for children, and the sheet music was released as part of his Bluebird Songbook for children's musical education. The song became popular enough that it was aired on the radio in 1927, then released as a record featuring singer Matsushima Utako (credited as Yanagii Harumi) on vocals. Since then, the song has become a standard, and many other artists have recorded it over the years.

Katou said that his song was inspired by his fantasy of a prince and princess traveling through an Arabian desert with gold and silver treasures (read our translation here). Sakurai borrowed a number of phrases from the original "Tsuki no Sabaku" for the lyrics to his own "Tsuki no Sabaku."

Katou's "Tsuki no Sabaku" became so famous that a museum, the Moon Desert Museum, was erected in its honor next to Onjuku Beach in Chiba prefecture, where Katou spent summers recovering from tuberculosis. Katou mentioned later in his life that the sand dunes of Onjuku were part of his inspiration to write "Tsuki no Sabaku." The Moon Desert Museum at Onjuku is surrounded by a park featuring statues of the prince and princess on their camels walking across the beach as if it were a desert, as pictured in Katou's illustration. The museum itself features vaguely Middle Eastern architecture and whimsical art installations of traditional fabric handicrafts.

Sakurai stated in Rock & Read 91 that his inspiration for Buck-Tick's "Tsuki no Sabaku" came when he heard a kerosene vendor truck playing "Tsuki no Sabaku" as it drove by. Kerosene vendor trucks playing tunes advertising their wares are commonly seen in the winter in Japan, because many Japanese homes lack central heating, and people often rely on kerosene heaters for warmth in the winter. Usually the songs played by these trucks are advertising jingles. Sakurai said that hearing "Tsuki no Sabaku" as a choice of song made him think "This town is beyond surreal," and continued, "If I ever run into it again, I'll go ask them why [they chose that song]." Left unstated was the deeply fraught connection between the Middle East, oil, and gold and silver treasures.

I translated the title of Buck-Tick's "Tsuki no Sabaku" as "Deserts of the Moon" to go along with the majestic bombast of the music and the rest of the lyrics.

1) The shift in point of view here from "he" to "I" exists explicitly in the original Japanese, and is not an artifact of translation.

2) In the original Japanese, there is no specification of pronouns in the chorus. In the English, I translated the first chorus as "I wander," the second as "you wander," and the third as "we wander," to mirror the back and forth between the verse about the king and the verse about the princess.

3) As in the first verse, the shift in point of view here from "she" to "you" also exists explicitly in the original Japanese, and is not an artifact of translation.




月の砂漠
作詞:櫻井敦司
作曲:星野英彦

遥か遥か遠く 名も亡き孤独の王は
駱駝の背に揺られ 蜃気楼追いかけてゆく

俺は一粒の砂 ギラギラと熱に焼かれている
濡らしてくれ 燃える陽炎

月の砂漠を 遥々とゆくよ
骨になるまで 灰になるまで

金や銀の財宝 麗しい褐色の姫
焼けた肌に蠍 季節は地獄だろう

お前は一粒の砂 キラキラと風に舞い踊る
溶かしてくれ 揺れる陽炎

月の砂漠を 遥々とゆくよ
骨になるまで 灰になるまで

月の砂漠を 遥々とゆくよ
月の砂漠を 駱駝に揺られ



Tsuki no Sabaku 
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko

Haruka haruka tooku     na mo naki kodoku no ou wa
Rakuda no se ni yurare     shinkirou oikaketeyuku

Ore wa hitotsubu no suna     giragira to netsu ni yakareteiru
Yurashitekure     moeru kagerou

Tsuki no sabaku wo     harubaru to yuku yo
Hone ni naru made     hai ni naru made

Kin ya gin no zaiho     uruwashii kasshoku no hime
Yaketa hada ni sasori     kisetsu wa jigoku darou

Omae wa hitotsubu no suna     kirakira to kaze ni maiodoru
Tokashitekure     yureru kagerou

Tsuki no sabaku wo     harubaru to yuku yo
Hone ni naru made     hai ni naru made

Tsuki no sabaku wo     harubaru to yuku yo
Tsuki no sabaku wo     rakuda ni yurare