How Tabidachinohini Was Created in a Middle School in Chichibu in Japan

How Tabidachinohini Was Created in a Middle School in Chichibu in Japan

Takao Matsui (Seitoku University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8042-3.ch010

Abstract

The song “Tabidachinohini” is mostly sung at graduation ceremonies in Japan. It is a song called “On the Day of Departure” born at a junior high school in Chichibu, a mountainous area in Saitama Prefecture. The study describes how the song was created and how the song changed the school climate. The message put in this song echoes dreams and hopes and courage. The melody is somewhat nostalgic, but it leads us to a bright future. While spelling out how this song was borne and spreading, the author unravels the circumstances that have transformed into a school where the contact between the teacher and the student and the singing voice resonate. Did singing change the minds of people? The author looks back the process of how “Tabidachinohini” was created and sang among the students.
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Background

This case describes how a choral song, Tabidachinohini (旅立ちの日に)was created at a middle school in Chchibu, Japan in 1990’s, and changed the school culture in a positive manner. Chichibu (秩父市 Chichibu-shi) is a city located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Chichibu is located in the westernmost part of Saitama. Unlike other parts of the prefecture, it is largely mountainous and the population is concentrated along river terraces above the Arakawa River. Because the region is not suitable for growing rice, many people depend on sericulture farming. Limestone from Mount Bukō, which rises south of the city center, is another major source of income for the region. The city is shifting its economic focus toward sightseeing, taking advantages of its rich natural environment and relative closeness to the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The song, Tabidachinohini, was written in 1991 by Mr. Kenji Kojima, Principal of Chichibu Municipal Kageomori Middle School, and composed by music teacher, Ms. Hiromi Sakamoto. Based on what they co-composed, the author, a master choral conductor and a composer, arranged the music and made it a complete choral work. Now the song has become one of the most popular choral repertoires for elementary through high school students. Below, the author will write the narrative along with Principal Hiromi Sakamoto memoirs concerning the song’s is origins.

The song, Tabidachinohini, which is mostly sung at the graduation ceremony in Japan. It is a song called “on the day of departure” born at a junior high school in Chichibu, a mountainous area in Saitama Prefecture. The study describe how the song was created and how the song changed the school climate. The message put in this song echoes the chest beyond age. Dreams and hopes and courage. The melody is somewhere nostalgic, but it leads us to a bright future. While spelling about how this song was born and spreading. I will unravel the circumstances that have transformed into a school where the contact between the teacher and the student and the singing voice resonate. Did singing change the mind of people? Miracle song born at a junior high school where students and teachers coexist. I look back the process of how Tabidachinohini was created and sang among the students here.

In February of 1991, Hiromi was in her twenties, and her teaching career just started as a music specialist at the middle school. It was around then she could not do a good job teaching music classes, she recalled. In the same year, Principal Kojima transferred from aother school to the same middle school as Ms. Hiromi.

When Hiromi arrived at Kagemori Middle School, students refused to sing the school song. “What should I do, so much trouble I am facing.” She was very frustrated. She often gave up for students to sing and ended up singing solo for the students in the class. Ms. Hiromi had difficulties in her teaching. She always felt negative walking up to the music classroom on the third floor. Even she began the class, students often did not sit on the chairs calmly. Some students even made fun of her; however, she never lost the feeling that she believed that singing can change the school environment by motivating children in music.

One day, Hiromi had a chance to listen to the first lecture for students by Principal Kojima. The principal was talking to the students about their singing voice. “Everyone, as I always listen to your singing, I think that the singing voice of school songs is too small. No one wants to sing. I feel very sad. I just came up with the idea. Why don’t we create our original school song that only one exist in the world. Let's change school to be more active and healthy with music.” When Hiromi heard the lecture by the Principal, she was so surprised. First, she thought it would be too challenging to compose and change the school with music. She soon made her decision to change her mind. “Even though children were not singing, I should pursue challenge to teach and continue my practice of teaching and not gave up. I have to work harder to change.”

At that time, Principal Kojima made the pillar of “rebuilding the school with a song,” and other teachers also exposed their students to various musical experiences and opportunities, to build their confidence. The school add more singing in daily activities and invite local guest musicians of various kinds. Nevertheless, the goal of composing the only one song was not achieved because teachers including Hiromi was too busy to deal with the daily duties and no time to compose.

After one year passed, two years passed, and three years later, students gradually began to like singing. Wonderful choruses from various classes were heard both in and out of the music classes. They gradually became to like singing.

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