Languages › Japanese "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Christmas Carol in Japanese Japanese Lyrcis for Akahana no Tonakai Share Flipboard Email Print JoeLena / Getty Images Japanese History & Culture Essential Japanese Vocabulary Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated November 04, 2019 The New Year (shogatsu) is the biggest and most important celebration in Japan. Christmas is not even a national holiday, although December 23 is, because of the Emperor's birthday. However, the Japanese love to celebrate festivals and have adopted many Western customs, including Christmas. The Japanese celebrate Christmas in a uniquely Japanese way, starting with the way they say "Merry Christmas." There are many Christmas songs translated into Japanese. Here is the Japanese version of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or Akahana no Tonakai. Makka na ohana no tonakai-san wa 真っ赤なお鼻のトナカイさんは Itsumo minna no waraimono いつもみんなの笑いもの Demo sono toshi no kurisumasu no hi でもその年のクリスマスの日 Santa no ojisan wa iimashita サンタのおじさんは言いました Kurai yomichi wa pika pika no 暗い夜道はぴかぴかの Omae no hana ga yaku ni tatsu no sa おまえの鼻が役に立つのさ Itsumo naiteta tonakai-san wa いつも泣いてたトナカイさんは Koyoi koso wa to yorokobimashita 今宵こそはと喜びました Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer Lyrics The original version is not translated literally into Japanese and skips certain parts that are known well in the English. Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer Had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, You would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer Used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph Join in any reindeer games. Then, one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, "Rudolph, with your nose so bright, Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" Then, how the reindeer loved him! And they shouted out with glee: "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, You'll go down in history!" Japanese Vocabulary and Lyrics Explained Line-by-Line Makka na ohana no tonakai-san wa makka (真っ赤): bright redhana (鼻): nosetonakai (トナカイ): reindeer "Ma (真)" is a prefix to emphasize the noun that follows, as here with "makka (真っ赤)," or like in "makkuro (真っ黒), black as ink, or "manatsu (真夏)," the middle of summer. The prefix "o" is added to "hana," nose, for politeness. The names of animals are sometimes written in katakana, even if they are native Japanese words. In songs or children's books, "san" is often added to the names of the animals to make them more like humans or for friendliness. Itsumo minna no waraimono itsumo (いつも): alwaysminna (みんな): everyonewaraimono (笑いもの): an object of ridicule "~mono (~者)" is a suffix to describe the nature of the person. Examples include "waraimono (笑い者)," the person who is made fun of, and "ninkimono (人気者)," the person who is popular. Demo sono toshi no kurisumasu no hi toshi (年): a yearkurisumasu (クリスマス): Christmas "Kurisumasu (クリスマス)" is written in katakana because it is an English word. "Demo (でも)" means "however" or "but." It is a conjunction used at the beginning of a sentence. Santa no ojisan wa iimashita santa (サンタ): Santa Clausiu (言う): to say Although "ojisan (おじさん)" means "uncle," it is also used when addressing a man. Kurai yomichi wa pika pika no kurai (暗い): darkyomichi (夜道): night journey "Pika pika (ピカピカ)" is one of the onomatopoeic expressions. It describes giving off a bright light ("hoshi ga pika pika hikatte iru (星がピカピカ光っている｡)," the stars are twinkling) or the glittering of a polished object ("kutsu o pika pika ni migaita (靴をピカピカに磨いた｡)," I gave my shoes a good shine). Omae no hana ga yaku ni tatsu no sa yaku ni tatsu (役に立つ): useful "Omae (お前)" is a personal pronoun, and means "you" in an informal situation. It should not be used to your superior. "Sa (さ)" is a sentence ending particle which emphasizes the sentence. Itsumo naiteta tonakai-san wa naku (泣く): to cry "~teta (~てた)" or "~teita (~ていた)" is the past progressive. "~teta" is more colloquial. It is used to describe past habitual action or past states of being. To make this form, attach "~ta" or "~ita" to "te form" of the verb, like so: "itsumo naiteta tonakai-san (いつも泣いてたトナカイさん)," the reindeer that used to cry all the time. Another example, "terebi o mite ita (テレビを見ていた｡)," means, "I was watching TV." Koyoi koso wa to yorokobimashita koyoi ( 今宵): tonightyorokobu (喜ぶ): to be pleased "Koyoi (今宵)" means "this evening" or "tonight," is usually used as literary language. "Konban (今晩)" or "konya (今夜)" is commonly used in conversation.