23 September 2018 - 14 Tishri 5779 - י"ד תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Mayim Mayim folk song alive and kicking in Japan E-mail

What is the connection between Israel, Japan and video games? A pre-state Israeli song. Yes, you read that right. An Israeli folk song called Mayim Mayim (“Water, Water” in Hebrew), whose lyrics are based on a biblical promise for salvation, is now the wellknown tune accompanying countless Japanese video games.

How did this come about? According to the Jewish daily online magazine Tablet, US educator Ricky Holden, an expert on folk dancing, was asked by the Japanese after WWII to help them in the process of cultural transformation.

Holden, who was not Jewish, found the Israeli folk song Mayim Mayim to be a worthy addition to the folk dancing music he was set to introduce to the youth of Japan. The American folk expert, who probably became acquainted with the song during his visit to Israel in 1957, introduced it to the Japanese, never suspecting that it would become a massive hit. The song was popular with labour movements and youth groups, and was eventually even played in Japanese schools, possibly influencing would-be video game designers who were then elementary school students.

The original Hebrew song was composed by Emanuel Amiran-Pougatchov, who composed over 600 songs and is quite famous in the world of Hebrew folk music. He was inspired by one particular verse from the Bible: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3.

Please login or register to see the full article

Warning: Parameter 1 to modMainMenuHelper::buildXML() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/joomla789/domains/jewishtimesasia.org/public_html/libraries/joomla/cache/handler/callback.php on line 99
Jewish Times Asia is published by Jewish Times Asia Ltd. © Copyright 2018.
Material in the newspaper or on this site may not be used or reproduced in any form or in any way without permission from the editor.
While every effort has been made to ensure the content is true and accurate, the publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the printed text.