12 Days of Otaku Christmas, Day 12: Merry Christmas from Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku brought about a revolution in 2007 that has enabled thousands of artists to break into the music industry with self-produced music sung by a popular voice. Within...

Hatsune Miku brought about a revolution in 2007 that has enabled thousands of artists to break into the music industry with self-produced music sung by a popular voice. Within the world of countless Vocaloid songs, the allure of Christmas-themed music was too strong for producers to resist, resulting in a myriad of Vocaloid Christmas covers, and ever some Christmas originals. However, none are quite as striking as Kogane no Seiya Sousetsu ni Kuchite.

Why don’t you take a listen below?

The first thing you may notice is that, if you do not know Japanese and are not paying attention to the visuals, this song could easily blend into the many Christmas tracks that have come before and will continue to come after. It’s really nothing spectacularly out of the ordinary. However, once you take the Japanese (and the visuals, if you watch the music video) into account, that impression drastically changes.

Take for instance, the Japanese title: Kogane no Seiya Sousetsu ni Kuchite/金の聖夜霜雪に朽ちて. The official English title is Requiem for the Phantasma [25,Dec], but while the use of the word “phantasma” (ghost or phantom) does seem to imply something sinister, or at least negative in connotation in some way, shape, or form, this title doesn’t really carry the same cheerless weight of the original Japanese, which translated literally to English means something more like: Golden Holy Night Rotting into the Frost and Snow.

This is a song about regret, and if you don’t believe me just check out the lyrics. It’s hardly one of the cheerful songs we’re used to hearing on the radio about Santa, much less the birth of Jesus Christ, even if the melody may sound that way. And yet, it’s that creative difference that I so appreciate about it.

Christmas should be a time we can all celebrate, and I have no bitter feelings toward Christmas trees, or non-Christians’ adoption of it as a family holiday. That would be against the spirit of Christmas, in fact, I believe. However, its commercialization in the materialistic culture we find ourself in has absolutely created a culture in which Christmas creations are nothing special, even if the intent is positive.

This song, while presenting something somewhat depressing, succeeds at surprising the listener and making him not only take the first step of the “double-take,” but it also succeeds in making the listener actually perform his namesake by listening. By building from that, it uses the topic of Christmas to present an idea that goes beyond the holiday, asking questions and making statements that acknowledge that time exists after Christmas day.

Christians can learn a lot from this line of thinking. After all, Jesus may have been born on Christmas Day (well not really, but He was born on some specific day some time), but what really matters is what happened because He was born, and that happened after Christmas.

JP is an aspiring businessman and linguist in the land of Japan. His tastes are always in a state of flux, but he enjoys anything with an emphasis on characters. His obsession with Japan carries into most of his interests, from books to television to video games and more. In his free time he likes to pose with bunny ears for caricatures.
2 Comments on this post.

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  • medievalotaku
    25 December 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Merry Christmas, Japes! The literal translation of the title is funny. If not for your translation of the title and the images in the music video, I would not have had any idea that it was a song about regrets.

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  • Samuru
    25 December 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Interesting, I didn’t know such a song existed. Merry Christmas JP, by the way!

    And just like Medievalotaku, I would have had no idea if it wasn’t for your translation that it was a pretty sad song. It’s pretty upbeat, but that does happen sometimes in Japanese music I’ve noticed. It can sound like a happy song, when in reality it’s not.

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