Tune of the Day: Sōran Bushi
This is one of the most famous traditional songs (min'yō) in Japan. It is a sea shanty that is said to have been first sung by the fishermen of Hokkaidō, Japan's northern island.
Herring fishing brought thousands of migrant workers to Hokkaido each spring until the early 20th century. Songs accompanied each stage of fishing, such as rowing and net-hauling. The lyrics were often improvised, helping to keep workers awake during several days without sleep.
“Sōran Bushi” still accompanies the traditional Bon Dance in many parts of Japan, and it has its own dancing styles that date back generations. The dance moves depict fishermen dragging nets, pulling ropes and carrying luggage over their shoulders.