- The Mysterious lyrics of “Sakura Sakura”
- Deciphering “Sakura Sakura”
- Etymology of the word ”sakura”
- “Yayoi” in Hebrew means “God”
- “Yayoi no sora” (Yayoi Sky) symbolizes the struggle of God
- “As far as one can see”, one lives through death!
- “「かすみか雲か] “Kasumika ka kumo ka” “Haze or clouds” talks about the fulfillment of prophecy
- “においぞいずる” “Noizoizuru” is the completion of the plan
- Calling and Testimony of Isaiah the Priest
- What is the mystery of “Sakura Sakura”?
The Mysterious lyrics of “Sakura Sakura”
One of the most famous Japanese folk songs “Sakura”, also known as “Sakura Sakura”, is well known by everyone in Japan. Not only is the writer of the song unknown, but some lines such as “Yayoi no Sora” and “Izaya” in the lyrics of the song are actually not common expressions in Japanese. All children learn to sing “Sakura” in elementary school and belt out “Izaya, Izaya” in loud voices. “Izaya” particularly doesn’t have a meaning in Japanese and it sounds similar to the word “Iza”, which is a phrase warriors and fighters say when running out into battle.
It turns out that the nonsensical word in Japanese is in fact the name of the famous prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament and the Hebrew pronunciation is exactly the same as it is in Japanese. What’s even more interesting about this shared word is that “Isaiah” carries an even deeper meaning in Hebrew, which means “God’s salvation”. It’s interesting to think that people have been singing “Sakura Sakura” for years without ever stopping to think about the meaning in a religious context.
Since Izaya holds an important meaning in Hebrew, the possibility emerges that not only does the title “Sakura Sakura” come from Hebrew, but the entire song can also be sung completely in Hebrew. By just examining each word from the lyrics, it turns out that the nonsensical word in Japanese is in fact the famous prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament, and the adoration for God jumps off the page.
Traditional Japanese song “Sakura”
yayoi no sora wa
kasumi ka kumo ka
nioi zo izuru
Deciphering “Sakura Sakura”
In order to be able to read and understand “Sakura Sakura” in Hebrew, one must find Hebrew words that sound similar to the Japanese words with consistent meaning. Let’s first note that Hebrew pronunciation combines consonants with open vowel sounds “a e i o u”, which is very similar to Japanese pronunciation. Written Biblical Hebrew explicitly leaves out the vowels; Back when Hebrew script was written in ancient times, the consonants alone were read with the presence of the vowels implicitly understood.
Likewise, in order to know which Hebrew consonant vowel matches with each consonant to create a word from theHebrew alphabet, one must first be sure that the word exists and is understandable in Hebrew. Sometimes multiple selections of consonants have similar pronunciations with different meanings. In such cases, one must find the word that best matches the meaning in context.
Using this method to decipher the meaning in context from beginning to end, the meaning of the lyrics becomes crystal clear in Hebrew. Let’s take a deeper look at the lyrics of “Sakura Sakura.”
Etymology of the word ”sakura”
The word “sakura” in Japanese is not only the name of the cherry tree with the flowing pink petals that bloom every spring, but this word is also used as a term to refer to someone who pretends to be a customer while hiding the fact that they are friends with the person running a street stall or another local business. As early as in the 8th century, the character for “cherry blossom””桜” was referenced in the NIHON SHOKI as already being used in the text to describe the Emperor’s banquet.
The general etymology of the word sakura is noted as, “a splendid flower that looks like it’s blooming”, which then changed to “to bloom,” “saku,” and the ending “ra” was added later. There is also a theory that names like サクヤ姫 (Princess Sakuya) found in various books among other names with similar pronunciations were gradually changed to “Sakura.”
Looking further into Hebrew, the etymology of “sakura” most likely comes from Biblical Hebrew, which is the original language of the Old Testament. The word שקר (sheker) in Hebrew means “to “fake,” “to lie,” or “to hide,” and it sounds almost exactly the same as the pronunciation of sakura in Japanese. This is probably why this meaning of sakura in Japanese is written as 偽客 (nisekyaku), which means a “fake customer.” Therefore, the secondary meaning of “sakura” is originally borrowed from Hebrew meaning “hiding the truth” and “deceiving.” Later, the homophone became the name of the cherry blossom tree.
Another possibility of the Hebrew meaning of “sakura” isסקר(seker, sekera), or “to look over” and “to survey.” A derivative of this Hebrew word is סקרה(shikra, shikula), which is defined as “stained in vermillion” or “to be painted in vermillion”. Therefore, one can surmise that the sakura cherry blossom petals that cover the scenery and stain the color of the view in vermillion can be called “shikra” in Hebrew.
After looking deeping into the etymology of and the original meaning of the word sakura, it’s important to note that the first verse of “Sakura” is linked with “Yayoi” that begins right after the Sakura chorus, and the meaning of these two words and the following verses show a consistent theme over the entire lyrics. “Sakura” in Hebrew means “to lie” or “to hide,” and “Yayoi” means “god” which will be discussed further in detail later. Therefore, “Sakura Yayoi” means “hidden god,” which can then be understood as “spirited away.” Another meaning of “sakura” is “to survey,” or “Check it out!” Since ”Yayoi” is the word “God,” the lyrics that follow can also be referring to knowing more about “God” and looking around to see what “God” is doing in one’s surroundings. Furthermore, the derivative of that word could also mean, “to be painted in vermillion!”
In both cases, the word “sakura” has the nuance of representing a divine being. It is easier to understand the meaning of “sakura” as “to hide” or “to lie” because there is a common word “yaezakura,” or “yaesakura” in Japanese. Using the Hebrew meaning“to be hidden,” both “sakura yayoi” and “yaezakura” can then be understood as “God is hidden.” “Yae” or “yah,” in “yaezakura” is another word for “God” in Hebrew; therefore, its meaning is the same as “yayoi.” Assuming the root word of “yaezakura” is in Hebrew, and the motif of “sakura” hints to something that is hiding, the entire lyrics of “sakura sakura” are perhaps expressing something about a hidden spirit, or God’s hidden treasures.
“Yayoi” in Hebrew means “God”
According to the NIHONGO DAIJITEN (Japanese dictionary), the word “yayoi”彌生) originates from “iyaoi” いやおい which has changed its pronunciation over time. Its etymology is “kusakiyaohitsuki” クサキヤオヒツキ（草木彌生月) and “yayoi”( 彌生) is actually an abbreviation of this phrase. Yaohi was also read as iyaohi いやおひ. “Iyaohi” is found in many ancient documents such as Ougisho, Wajiga, and Nihon Shakumyo.The word was used to describe the various plants that produce flowers and leaves. There is no established theory on how and why the etymology of the word “iyaohi” came to be used. However, when the word “iyaohi” is spelled out in Hebrew, it includes the four holy letters of Yahweh in Hebrew; therefore, its etymology most likely originates not from Japanese, but from Hebrew.
In Hebrew script, “iyaohi” is spelled asייהוהי. The beginning and ending are bounded by the Hebrew letter “י,” which is called a yod. When used alone, this seemingly simple consonant “י” can be synonymous with God and read as “ya.” In between the two letters of yod in the spelling of “iyaohi,’ there are four letters,יהוה , which means God of Yahweh. Thus,“iyaohi’ is a word that itself symbolizes God in Hebrew.
Also, since Hebrew is read from right to left, the yod is written twice before the four letters of Yahweh. In Japanese, the repeated “yod” or “ya” is described as 八重, and it is pronounced as “yae.” This is the same as the sacred word that is known as the name of God in Hebrew. The repeated yod together with Yahweh emphasizes the existence of God.
In short, the character string in “iyaohi” is enclosed in the Hebrew letters of yod, and the yod is repeated in order to symbolize God from the word yae. Not only that, the letters in between the yod are יהוה also means ya or “God.” Therefore, the Japanese word “yaesakura” which combines “ya” with “sakura” means “God is hidden” in Hebrew, which can be drawn out when looking at this word through Hebrew lenses.
“Yayoi no sora” (Yayoi Sky) symbolizes the struggle of God
The line after “yayoi,”「の・そらは」 “no sora ha,” can also be interpreted in Hebrew. 「の」 “no” can be read in Hebrew script asנה(na,ナ), meaning “grief” or “wish.” The next word, “そら,”(sora) can be understood as “to struggle” or “to overcome” in Hebrew. “Sora” is assumed to be derived from the word שרה サラ(sara) followed by the conjunction “ו.” Since “yayoi” means “God,” “Yayoi no Sora” can be understood as “God struggles” in Hebrew.
Then, the puzzling question is who or what does “God” fight? Why is the truth of the struggle invisible within the mysterious motif 神隠し (kamikakushi) “spirited away”? Perhaps the question lies in the following word 死 or “death”.
“As far as one can see”, one lives through death!
「みわたすかぎり」(Miwatasu kagiri) or “as far as I can see,” consists of several Hebrew words. The first word is built upon three consonants and can be translated from the Hebrew script as מות(mut), or “death.” מיותש（miwatash, みわたす) is likely derived from the word “mut,” and it means “to be exhausted.” It is a word that exactly expresses “facing death.”
The subsequent かぎり(kagiri) or “as long as,” talks about living as opposed to death and dying. “Kagiri” is composed of two words.כך(kakh) means “so” and “thus,” and יחי(ikhi, iki) means “long life” or 万歳(banzai) in Japanese. When added together, the word becomes כך יחי(kakhikhi), which sounds like かぎり(kagiri) in Japaneseor “limit.”
This gives the line “As far as I can see” a completely different meaning in Hebrew and expresses that even if someone dies of exhaustion, they will live on forever. In other words, even if a person dies, that person will be resurrected and continue to live for eternity and that is the wonder of this song.
“「かすみか雲か] “Kasumika ka kumo ka” “Haze or clouds” talks about the fulfillment of prophecy
According to the lyrics thus far, the theme of God’s existence, his struggle,overcoming death and living for eternity can be interpreted. Conquering death and living may mean that even if a person dies, they will be resurrected. Therefore, the song moves on to sing about the mysterious event by saying, “kasumi ka kumoka.”
First, “kasumi” is thought to be קסם (kesem) in Hebrew. This word was used in biblical times to mean “prophecy.” “Kasumi” is a slightly accented version of “kesem” and both words have similar pronunciations. By interpreting “kasumi” as a prophecy, it naturally leads to the understanding of the next word “kumoka.”
In Hebrew, “kumo” is interpreted as קום (kum, kum), which means ”to stand up.” This word can be interpreted as, “the fulfillment of prophecy.” “Kasumi-ka” and “kumo-ka” both have “ka” at the end of the word, which means “so” or “because.” Now, the meaning of “Kasumi ka kumoka” becomes clear. These words point to a religious statement, “so the prophecy is fulfilled.”
“においぞいずる” “Noizoizuru” is the completion of the plan
The lyrics up until “Kasumi Kakumoka” in Hebrew can be understood as, “God has died but he will live again, and the prophecy will be fulfilled.” The truth was buried in history and the song “Sakura” is roughly translated as “Lies? Hide!” Then in the next line, “Nioizoizuru”, the message is completed.
“Nioizoizuru” consists of three words in Hebrew. The first word נאה(naeh, nae) originates from the word “beautiful.” The derivative of that word is ניאוהי(niohi), which means “accurate.” The pronunciation is the same as in the lyrics. The following זו(zo) is a word that means “this” or “this one.”
The next word “Izuru” is the derivative of the Hebrew יצר(yitzer) that means “to be created” or “to be produced,” and the word became יצר(yitzur, Izuru). These three words combined together become “nioizoizuru,” which literally translates to “this wonderful creation,” and expresses that something wonderful has come true.
Calling and Testimony of Isaiah the Priest
For some reason, the song “Sakura Sakura” ends with calling the famous prophet Isaiah with the name repeated in the one line.Does this word have a meaning in Japanese? Or, could it be that the word is simply the name of the prophet Isaiah? If “Izaya” is read in Hebrew, the word contains an important message that leads to faith.
“Isaiah” in Hebrew is ישעיהו(yeshayahu, ishayahu), which means “God’s salvation.” Therefore, the name that is repeated in the lyrics holds the same weight as earnestly praying for “God’s salvation.” The word for prayer is followed byמינה(mina,mina) “to appoint,” and יכהן(ikihen, ikihen) “to serve as priests,” and these two words then morphed into “Minaikihen.” As time progressed the word became corrupted and became “Miniikan.”
Now, the meaning of “miniikan” becomes more apparent. By repeatedly calling the name of “Isaiah” which if you remember from before means “God’s salvation,” people were speaking of “God’s salvation” without knowing the original meaning of the words. Isaiah was also a word of prayer. The call to saving grace from the words “Minikihen” were used to express the desire to serve as a priest in order to convey this message to the people. In other words, the song “Sakura Sakura” is a testimony to God’s death, resurrection, and God’s salvation through His faith being shared through the sung words in Hebrew.
What is the mystery of “Sakura Sakura”?
The lyrics of “Sakura Sakura” contain a completely different meaning from that of the Japanese language when read in Hebrew. The overall interpretation in Hebrew is full of thoughts of faith. “Hide, hide, God has endured and died, but he lives. The prophecy is fulfilled. Great things have been created. God save us! God save us! Gather the people and serve as priests!”
“Sakura Sakura” seems to have secrets of evangelism that are influenced by ancient Shinto rituals and beliefs. The contents were not openly said and the writer felt the need to keep the true meaning a secret. Therefore, the song “Sakura Sakura” actually begins with the repeated phrase “Go hide, go hide!” . This song spread widely to the Japanese public as a Japanese song on the surface. However, the writer truly intended for everyone to hum and sing about “God’s salvation” without knowing it.
שקר שקר ייהוהי נה שרה ו מיותש כך יחי Hide, lie, God endured, died, but lives! קסם כך קום כך ניאוהי זו יצר Prophecies Fulfilled and Great Things Created ישעיה ישעיה מינה יכהן God’s salvation, call forth God’s salvation, serve as a priest!
|Kagiri||(KKI)||כך יחי||long live, hurray|
|Kumoka||(KMK)||קום כך||accomplish, stand up|
|Ikan||(YKN)||יכהן||serving as a priest|