The 古墳音頭 Project
My name is Rob Kerrigan, and I am the native-speaking English teacher in the Department of Global Studies (国際キャリア学科) at Shitennoji University.
This year, my zemi students had a special project. We were asked to help Ms. Sakamoto, from the Faculty of Education, with her zemi project called the 古墳音頭 Project. In her zemi, her students created two songs: one called the 羽曳野市 Version and another called the 藤井寺市 Version. If you are interested in this project, please look at Sakamoto Sensei’s blog post at
My zemi students were tasked with putting this into English. This was no easy feat. It’s one thing to translate the lyrics from Japanese to English, but it’s another thing to try and make the lyrics match the beat while maintaining the original meaning of the Japanese lyrics. Furthermore, there are a lot of words in the original versions that don’t exactly translate into English. These were our main challenges for this project, but my students did not waiver.
We worked on each version one by one. First, we looked at the lyrics. Then we watched the video of Sakamoto Sensei’s students’ performance and listened to the song. After that, we split up into pairs and worked together to translate the lyrics. The next step was to put pairs into groups of four and combine translations. After the students finished combing their translations, I checked them and combined all their works into one final translation. The next task was to try to edit the lyrics to match the beat. This proved to be the most difficult task, so I took on this task. The students then repeated this process for the next version.
The final English versions are not finished yet; we are still finalizing these drafts. Once they are ready, we will try and record them. Stay tuned!