Juuyon-sai no NAIFU

Romaji and English translation of the song 十四歳のナイフ (Juuyon-sai no NAIFU) from the single Juuyon-sai no NAIFU by the GazettE.

I’m giving this song the explicit tag because of the true story it’s based on (that you kind of need to read to understand the lyrics of the song; link and a TL;DR version in the notes), but there’s nothing terribly explicit in it. The real case is just… really messed up.

Translator's Notes
  • Lyrics originally sung in English are in italics , and words or phrases I felt were implied are in [brackets] in the translation.
  • 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.
  • If he writes a word in the lyrics but doesn’t sing it, I put it in light grey to make it easier to skip when singing along.
  • I usually romajize katakana characters in CAPITALS, and keep punctuation and line spacing as close to the original booklet as possible. If you see me putting spaces before punctuation at the end of a sentence or writing things in mixed-case capitals, that’s because it’s how it was in the booklet.
  • 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.

Juuyon-sai no NAIFU: Romaji

Aa, kyou mo mata hareta aozora ga uzai
Osenshoku hito GOMI ni oshi tsubusaresou
Kyou mo tada iradatsu jibun ni hara ga tatsu
Kiete kure kore ijou ore wo korosanaide kure
Aa, kasokusuru shishunki yue no shoudou
Douse mawari wa ore nanka micha kurenai
Majime buru koto ni tsukareteshimatta
Mou, owakaresa. Hi no ataranai “boku”

Me wo tojireba omoidasu
 nijimu kurenai
Man//nElLyka2 shita TEREBI wa yagate
Ore no namae de umetsukusareru

Ai ya yasashisa nante uragiri no zengisa
Dakara mou darenimo
 aisarenu youni
Toumei na sonzai ni, fuyouhin ni narou
Soshitara ima yori mo zutto raku darou

[Aa, kasokusuru shishunki yue no shoudou
Douse mawari wa ore nanka micha kurenai
Majime buru koto ni tsukareteshimatta
Mou, owakaresa. Hi no ataranai “boku”]

Uzaku hareta hirusagari
Akai SAIREN gudon na otona 
Ryou tekubi ni houteki kousoku
Tsumetaku nijimu
Mimi wo sumaseba kikoeru
Osanaki hikyou danzetsu BARAADO3
“Masaka aitsu ga?” to KAMERA ni itta

Hito wo kowasu koto de iyasareteta ore wa
Basei no naka atarashii SUTEEJI ni mukau
MONOTOON shasou kara kasuka ni mieru sakura
Kidzukeba machi ichimen haru ga saiteita
Juusan nengo no ore he waraeteiru kai?
Kitto nani ka ni kidzuki kawareteru kamo shirenai
Ore wa mada ikiteru tsumi wo mitsume nagara
Uzaku hareta aoi sora ga mienu kono basho4 de

[Uzaku hareta aoi sora ga mienu kono basho de]

Choueki juusannen karitaiin made ato ichinen to yonkagetsu5

A 14-Year-Old’s Knife1: Translation

Ugh, once again, today the blue sky is annoyingly clear
It’s like I’m being crushed by crowds of disgusting human garbage
And I have no patience for it today because I’m already pissed off
Just go away already; you’re seriously killing me6
Ugh, these urges are thanks to my raging hormones
And nobody ever pays attention to me, anyway
I’m sick of pretending to be a decent [person]
So goodbye, already.  [Goodbye] to the “me” who can’t feel the sunshine7

When I close my eyes, I remember
[His] head on the asphalt oozing scarlet
Soon the television, full of nothing but the same old stuff,
Will be endlessly buzzing with my name

Things like love and tenderness [are just] foreplay for betrayal
So to keep anyone from loving me again
I’ll become an invisible being, damaged goods
And things will be much better than they are now

[Ugh, these urges are thanks to my raging hormones
And nobody ever pays attention to me, anyway
I’m sick of pretending to be a decent [person]
So goodbye, already.  [Goodbye] to the “me” who can’t feel the sunshine]

It’s an annoyingly nice early afternoon
[Full of] red sirens and moronic adults
Both my wrists are bound by their laws8
The coldness seeps in9
If I listen carefully, I can [still] hear
Their childish screams: the ballad of being cut up2
A classmate [with their face] blurred out10
Says into the camera, “No way, it was that guy?”

Breaking people is what made me feel better
Now I head towards a new stage, surrounded by taunts and boos
Through the monotone car window, the cherry blossoms look blurry
I find that spring is in bloom all throughout the city
[I ask] the me of thirteen years from now are you still laughing?
I’ve suddenly realized something that might change things [someday]
I’m still alive despite being faced with my crimes
And I can’t see the annoyingly clear blue sky from this cell3

Thirteen years of my sentence [served]; only one year and four months left until I’m out5

There are a ridiculous number of notes for this song, and some of them are really long – but they’re worth it, I promise. Bear in mind the subject matter of the song (child murder) if you’re easily triggered.

  1. This song is about the Kobe child murders. You really should read it before reading the translation/notes or things won’t make a lot of sense. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, there’s a synopsis below.

    TL;DR/TW: Basically, between March and May of 1997, a 14-year-old boy (using the alias Sakakibara Seito) killed two classmates and attacked several others. He cut off the head of the final victim, an 11-year-old boy named Hase Jun, and left it on the ground outside the school for students to find when they arrived to school in the morning. He taunted police via letters, saying that it was a game he was playing, and that the broken education system created him, an “invisible” boy that was only free from his hatred when he killed, and that he’d continue to kill until they caught him. He was apprehended and arrested, where he confessed to the attacks and killings. At the time, the age of criminal responsibility in Japan was 16, but following this case the age was lowered to 14.
  2. I think this is a weird way of writing マンネリ化 MANNERIka “getting stuck in a rut/becoming stereotyped.”
  3. This whole line is really involved, with a couple meanings, one physical/literal, and one that’s more intangible/emotional. First off, the changes from written vs. sung:
    • 悲鳴 himei “shout, scream” is written, while 悲境 hikyou “adversity, sad circumstances” is sung.
    • 断切 dansetsu “cutting off, severing,” is written, as in the physical sense of cutting the head off the boy, but it sounds like he sings the slightly different 断絶 danzetsu “discontinuation, interruption; cease to exist; sever, break off, divide,” which isn’t like a literal/physical sense, but more of an emotional/intangible one.

    So again, another double meaning – the way it’s translated is the literal/physical sense: “I can hear the sounds of the attack – the screams, the sound of knife on bone, the blows – and it’s like a song to me,” because he’s really fucked up and still excited/riding the high of what he did.

    Then there is the emotional reading, which is something like, “the tragic song of innocence destroyed” – which could refer not only to his victims, but also his own.

    (The killer actually published his memoirs in a book after being released entitled 絶歌 zekka, whose title can be translated very similarly: “a song of desperation/a song of destruction.” In the book, he described the murders in graphic detail and supposedly took responsibility for what he did. I’m betting Ruki picked the words he did to allude to that as well, without actually saying it. The book was extremely controversial, because the killer didn’t have to disclose his identity due to his age at the time of the crime – though tabloids supposedly went against the privacy laws and put his name out there anyway – but also because he’s profiting off his crime and he had it sent to the families of his victims as an ‘apology.’ The father of Hase Jun was less than pleased, and I can’t blame him. More on Zekka.)

    Anyway, Japanese is such a cool language, man, and Ruki wields it like a weapon. He can say so much in so few words by carefully picking and choosing what he writes and with what characters, and add a second layer based on what he sings. Gah.
  4. 監獄 kangoku “prison” is written, while 場所 basho “place” is sung. From what I’ve read, he spent time in a medical juvenile reformatory as opposed to a regular prison because of his age.
  5. Written in the lyrics but not sung. The numbers, however, do not actually amount to the time served by Sakakibara. He was imprisoned in 1997, provisionally released in 2004 (put on probation), and fully released in 2005. All in all, it seems he only served 7-8 years for his crimes.
  6. これ以上俺を殺さないで呉れ kore ijou ore wo korosanaide kure translated literally would be something along the lines of “don’t kill me any more than you already are,” but it sounds kind of weird in English. I consider it basically the equivalent of “God you’re killing me here.”
  7. He’s so negative and “woe is me” that he’s basically saying, “Nobody ever notices me; even the sun doesn’t want to shine on me. I’m invisible.” He’s saying goodbye to his ‘invisible’ self, and letting his aggressive impulses take over as his new alter-ego, Sakakibara Seito.
  8. He’s handcuffed, but the lyrics specifically say 法的拘束 houteki kousoku “legal restraints/bindings,” so it’s not just “Oh, they put me in handcuffs,” it’s more like, “I’m just in this situation because of their stupid laws.”
  9. 冷たく tsumetaku is “cold (to the touch), freezing” or “coldhearted, unfeeling, indifferent” – so this is probably referring both to the coldness of the metal of the handcuffs on his wrists, as well as potentially his coldhearted indifference just keeps spreading. He still doesn’t care and doesn’t think he did anything ‘wrong’ other than how it’s seen by the laws he considers to be beneath him.
  10. The word used is モザイク MOZAIKU – literally when someone is pixelated during an interview to protect their privacy, their face obscured (and usually voice changed) when the interview airs so no one can tell who they are.

十四歳のナイフ album cover art © 2004 King Records

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