Romaji and English translation of the song 虚 蜩 (Utsu semi) from the album NINTH by the GazettE.
- Lyrics originally sung in English are in italics in the translation.
- Words or phrases I felt were implied are in [brackets].
- I also (usually) put repeats of chorus/verses/stanzas in [brackets] if they’re not written that way in the original lyrics for ease of singing along.
- Any comments I had during the romajization/translation process will be included as footnotes so as not to disturb the flow of the song. They’re not required reading, but Ruki does some pretty nifty things with his lyrics/kanji choices, or sometimes there’s further explanations about words or phrases in there.
Utsu semi: Romaji
Ikutsu higa ochite
Akatsuki ni me wo yakarete mo
Chigiri sae nai mono
Negai tsunora sereba itai
Wasure sasete dou ka
Sonna yoru wo mada taguru no?
Kanashimi wo daki yumeutsutsu
Hirai to chitta
Ikiru riyuu mo
Hiroenai kono me wa
Mada anata no omokage de
Shitagau kizu ni “itsuka” wo mite mo
Tsuikai ni yasete iku
Nigeba no nai kokoro wa
Kotoba mo naku nagaredasu
Rakurui no sei
Soumatou no soko de
Omoidasu tabi ni kietai
Hitori higurashi ga naki yamu koro ni
Sou akaneiro no sora mitsume
Kago no naka todoka me ai to
Kanashimi wo daki kieteiku
Koraeta hibi mo
Wazuka ni hibiku
Itami to mawari dasu tooki koe ga
Nakanaide mou owatta koto
Sajou ni ochita utsusemi ga totemo kanashikatta
Tada watashi no youde
Empty Cicada Shell1: Translation
I can’t go back anymore
No matter how many times the sun sets
Even though my eyes are burned by the light of dawn
Because I don’t have so much as a promise [to look forward to]
When I wish harder, it hurts
Please let me forget But how can I?
Will I always remember2 nights like these?
Holding onto sorrow [in] dreams [or] awake
My reason for living
Is quietly falling apart
I look for the pieces but can’t pick [them] up
There’s only traces of you [left]
Even if by enduring these wounds I knew I could see “the future”
I still wouldn’t be able to smile
I’m wasting away remembering
My heart is unable to escape
I’m simply blank
Wordlessly they begin to fall
These tears of guilt that flow
I say farewell to you
I watch my life flash by3
And every time I remember I want to disappear
I’m all alone when the singing of the evening cicadas ceases
And so I watch the reddening sky
Trapped in a cage my love can’t reach [you]
Holding onto sorrow everything fades away
Even these days I’ve endured
And the faint echo
Of your distant voice fills me with pain
Don’t cry because it’s already over
The cicada shell that fell upon the sand was profoundly sad4
So very much like me
- I think there’s another of Ruki’s famous plays on words in the title. So, first off, the two kanji for the title are separated by a space – they’re not one word.
- The first kanji 虚 alone read as utsu means “hollow, void, emptiness, hole.”
- The second kanji 蜩 alone read as semi means “clear-toned cicada.”
- However, the entire word utsusemi can also be written 虚蝉 (with the same first kanji) and means “the real world, temporal things” – or also “cast-off cicada shell.”
So I think it’s a double meaning – the literal cicada shell (referenced as well later in the song, using the same kanji as the title, minus the space), but metaphorically also representing the lonely/empty mental state the singer is trapped in.
- 手繰る teguri literally means “to reel in/pull in (as a rope)” but I translated it metaphorically – as in “Will I always have to keep pulling these memories back to myself?” rather than pulling on a physical rope/thread.
- 走馬灯の底で soumatou no soko de literally translated means “at the bottom of a revolving lantern.” In this particular case, think one of those lanterns where shapes are cut out and the shade revolves around the light source, casting images onto the wall – those images being memories and moments of the singer’s life. (Basically, a metaphor for one’s life flashing before one’s eyes.)
- It was hard to figure out how to word this. The shell is not experiencing the emotion of sadness; rather, it’s depressing seeing this little empty husk all alone on the sand. Much like the singer feels empty and alone, as indicated in the next line.
NINTH album cover art © 2018 Sony Music / JPU Records