"Dango San Kyodai" (The Three Brothers Dango) [28 April 1999]
Researched by Cornelia

If you've been hearing snatches of a lilting tune that sounds like a tango, but is being hummed or sung by school children, it is the latest music craze. The animation and song aired recently on the "Okaa-san to Issho" (With Mother) children's television program on the NHK educational channel (#3 in Tokyo from about 8:30 to 9 a.m.). The song is called "Dango san kyodai" and is sung by Mr. Kintaro Hayami & Ms. Ayumi Shigemori, the head couple performing in the program. Kushidango is a Japanese food that involves rice paste balls (mochi) on a skewer. The song sings of the three mochi (dango) brothers. It is very catchy, especially when you see the animation that goes with the song.

The Japanese text of the tune, written by Masumi Uchino and Mr. Yoshiro Horie, can be seen and listened to at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT9zNBFMzx0. The animation and lyrics were done by Mr. Masahiko Sato. You can also hear a trombone quintet interpretation!

We've attempted to translate it into Romaji, in case you want to learn the words. Next to the Japanese lyrics, there is a rough translation into English. We've also tried to write the music down for it, which may have a mistake or two, but we think it is in the key of C Minor. You can try to print the page (Ctrl + P for PCs and Command + P for Macs).

You can see a GIF of the sheet music here. (98K)

Lyrics (with rough English translation):

1. Kushi ni sasate dango dango
mitsu narande dango dango
shoyu nurarete dango dango
dango san kyodai

Sticky rice paste balls
Three of them in a row
Dipped in a soy based sauce
The three brothers Dango
2. ichiban ue wa chonan chonan
ichiban shita wa san-nan san-nan
aida ni hasamare jinan jinan
dango san kyodai

The top one is the oldest brother, "Chonan"
The lowest one is the youngest, "Sannan"
In between is the middle brother, "Jinan"
The three brothers Dango
3. ottoto omoi no chonan
ni-isan omoi no san-nan
jibun ga ichiban jinan jinan
dango san kyodai

kondo umarete kuru toki mo
negai wa sorotte onaji kushi
dekireba kondo wa koshian no
takusan tuita an dango dango

"Chonan" is anxious for his younger brothers.
"Sannan" feels anxious for "Chonan"
"I'm the best!" says "Jinan"
The three brothers Dango

"When we are re-born next time
We want to be on the same skewer again.
We want to be "koshi-an-dango" (with a bean
paste sauce instead of a soy based sauce)"
4. aruhi kyodai genka kenka
kodeme no koto de kenka kenka
sukima no aita dango dango
demo, sugu ni nakanaori

One day the brothers quarrel
about "yakiro" (the grill mark that
each has) and they moved apart
But soon they reconciled
5. kyo wa todana de hirune hirune
san nin sorotte hirune hirune
ukkarine sugoshi asa ga kite
kataku narimashita

haru ni nattara hanami hanami
aki ni nattara tsukimi tsukimi
ichinen to shite dango dango
dango san kyodai

dango dango dango dango
dango san kyodai
dango san kyodai
dango san kyodai
Today they nap in the cupboard.
Carelessly they oversleep
Morning comes and they
Are hard and dry.

In spring there is blossom viewing
In autumn there is moon-viewing
But dango can be had all year round.
The three brothers Dango.
NHK CD Cover

You can rent or buy the single CD for Dango San Kyodai in music stores. It is also on this 2 CD set of songs from "Okaa-san to Issho" (CD cover pictured at right). Each CD in this 2 CD set has 20 regular songs from the show and 5 songs for karaoke at the end. The lyrics to each song are written in hiragana and katakana in the CD jacket.

Here is a list of the songs on this CD set (translated into romaji).

Do you have something to say about parenting in Japan? Why not join the Discussions!

Are you an expert on parenting in Japan? Why don't you write a feature for us? It's the perfect way to showcase your talent and help other parents at the same time! If interested, please contact us.

Keyword Search:
This page last updated: 2 June 1999 Please Read our Disclaimer
Copyright 2000 Japan With Kids