Hatsukoi / 初恋

Hatsukoi / 初恋

hatsu- / 初
koi / 恋

Hatsukoi: it’s one of Oku Hanako’s 2010 singles and is undeniably one of her most moving songs. She almost always ends up looking emotionally drained after performing this song live, and if I get really into the song, it can get me, too.

It’s a sad song, telling about a couple who had recently broke up. The girl still likes the guy and begs him to remain friends. Well, it’s a little deeper than that; I’ll leave you to read the translation.

Musically, the song is tastefully and appropriately arranged. There are four main instruments: drums, guitar, strings, and of course, piano. They all add to the inherent sadness of the song, especially the strings.

This song also features, in my opinion, the best of her music videos:

Hanako Oku – Hatsukoi [JPopsuki]

Or, for those low on bandwidth:


I think the song has been somewhat overused in promotional material, but Hatsukoi is definitely one of Oku Hanako’s best.



Anata no koto wa nandemo shitteru to omotteta
bukiyou na koto mo, nekojita na koto mo, denwa ga nigate na koto mo

dakedo watashi no shiranai koto ga hitotsu dake atta no
anata ga mou watashi no koto wo sukijanai to iu koto

itsu kara surechigatteshimatta no ka na
doushite kizukenakatta no ka na
futari sugoshita takusan no omoide
kore kara mo zutto isshoni itu to omotteta

anata wa tomodachi kyou kara tomodachi
mou nidoto suki nante iwanai kara
kore ijou tooku ni ikanaide, mou miru dake demo kamawanai
namae de yondari shinai kara, tonari aruitarishinai kara
youji mo nai no ni denwashitari shinai kara
dakara mou aenai nante iwanaide onegai

kirei na mono wo mitsukeru to anata ni mo misetakute
sugu ni shashintoru kuse ga mada ima mo kienai mama

arukikata ya shaberikata wo maneshite basutei made aruita kaerimichi
chiisana koto de sunetari okottari gomen ne
motto sunao ni naretara yokattara

anata no yokogao anata no kuchiguse
kuyashii hodo suki na mama dakara
kore ijou tooku ni ikanaide mou miru dake de mo kamawanai
tomodachi de ii kara tokubetsu janai ii kara
anata no mae de wa naitarishinai kara
dakara mou aenai nante iwanaide onegai

anata wa tomodachi kyou kara tomodachi
sou jibun ni iikikasetemiru yo
anata ga egao ni naru basho wa
mou futari de wa ikenai basho

sakura namiki wo aruite umibe de hanabi miagete
karehachiru toki mo masshiro no yuki no hi mo
itsumo anata ga itekureta sore dake wa wasuretakunai yo
namae de yondarishinai kara tonari aruitarishinai kara
youji mo nai no ni denwashitari shinai kara
dakara mou sayonara nante iwanaide onegai

Transliteration by Tsukiokuhime


不器用なことも 猫舌なことも 電話が苦手なことも



あなたは友達 今日から友達
これ以上遠くに行かないで もう見るだけでもかまわない
名前で呼んだりしないから 隣り歩いたりしないから
だからもう逢えないなんて言わないで お願い

すぐに写真を撮る癖が まだ今も消えないまま

歩き方やしゃべり方を真似して バス停まで歩いた帰り道

あなたの横顔 あなたの口癖
これ以上遠くに行かないで もう見るだけでもかまわない
友達でいいから 特別じゃなくていいから
だからもう逢えないなんて言わないで お願い

あなたは友達 今日から友達

桜並木を歩いて 海辺で花火見上げて
枯葉散る時も 真っ白な雪の日も
いつもあなたがいてくれた それだけは忘れたくないよ
名前で呼んだりしないから 隣歩いたりしないから
だからもうサヨナラなんて言わないで お願い

From okuhanako.net


I thought I know everything about you
your clumsiness, your cat-like tongue, and your awkwardness over the phone

but there’s one thing that I didn’t know
it was that you had said you didn’t like me anymore

when did it begin to change
why do I never realize it?
with all memories that we had together
I thought from now on, we will be together forever

you’re a friend, from today on, you’re a friend
I’ll never say I like you anymore
don’t go further than this, I don’t care if the only thing I can do is looking at you
I won’t call you by your name, I won’t walk by your side
I won’t call you if there’s nothing important
that’s why, please, don’t say that we’re not going to meet anymore

I always show you beautiful things that I found
and even now, I still have a habit of taking pictures of it

I copy the way you walk and talk on my way to bus stop
I’m sorry that I got mad and sulk easily over trivial thing
I wish I could be more honest

your profile, your speaking habit
I hurt them too much that it hurts
don’t go further than this, I don’t care if I could only look at you
I’m fine with being just friend, I’m fine with not being special
I won’t cry in front of you anymore
that’s why, please, don’t say that we’re not going to meet anymore

you’re a friend, from today on, you’re a friend
I always tell that to myself
the place where you laugh
is a place that we cannot go to anymore

walking together under the sakura lined path, watching the fireworks together by the shore
when the dried leaves fall, the pure white snowy day
you were always with me and I will never forget that
because I will never call you by your name anymore, because I will never walk by your side anymore
because I will never call when there’s nothing important anymore
that’s why, please, don’t say goodbye

Translation by Tsukiokuhime

Alternate Translation

I thought I knew everything about you
Your clumsiness, sensitive tongue, awkwardness on the phone

But there was one thing that I didn’t know
And it was the fact that you didn’t love me anymore

When did we start drifting apart?
Why couldn’t I see it?
We had so many memories together
I thought we’d be together forever

You’re a friend, starting today
I won’t say I love you anymore
Don’t go so faraway, at least let me see you
I won’t call your name, I won’t walk beside you
I won’t call you unless I have a reason
So don’t say that we’ll never see each other again, please

When I find something beautiful I want you to see it too
And I still have that old habit of taking photos

I walked to the bus stop, imitating the way you moved
I’m sorry that I sulked or got angry so quickly
I should have been more honest

Your face, the way you talk
I hate how much I still love them
Don’t go so faraway, at least let me see you
We can be friends, it doesn’t have to be anything special
I won’t cry in front of you
So don’t say that we’ll never see each other again, please

You’re a friend, starting today
I’ll keep telling myself that
That place that made you smile
Is somewhere we can’t go anymore

Walking past the cherry blossoms, I look up at the fireworks by the sea
When the dry leaves fell, on days of pure white snow
You were always there for me, I’ll never forget that
I won’t call your name, I won’t walk beside you
I won’t call you unless I have a reason
So don’t say goodbye anymore, please

From JpopAsia


13 thoughts on “Hatsukoi / 初恋

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  4. More lyrical discussion:

    Regarding the lyric translated by Tsukiokuhime “I always show you beautiful things that I found” is different from the translation provided by that YouTube user I posted where they translate it as
    “when I find something beautiful, … I just want you to see it too …”

    I do not want to put words into The Little Great One’s mouth, but I think that the second one is better.

    The young girl finds something cute, and just HAS to share it with someone (Maybe she does not have Facebook friends to share with), she can’t control herself, and thinks of her lover/friend immediately. Then it hits her. She can’t. They are not a couple anymore. Immediately she would feel the pain of lost love again. I think that this would be one of those heart-clenching moments, tender moments when she feels hurt that she cannot go to her friend.

    The listener might infer that from either translation. It would be interesting to hear how a native Japanese speaker would interpret it.

    • I haven’t been following the comments on this site, but tPenguinLTG pointed me to this discussion haha. The thing about translating Japanese lyrics is that you can’t translate line by line; you have to take into account the surrounding lines too. So I would interpret that verse as:

      “My habit of snapping pictures of beautiful things immediately after seeing them, because I wanted to show them to you—even now, that habit still hasn’t disappeared.”

      But you had the correct interpretation regardless! 🙂 And I agree with you, the translation posted by that YouTube user seems a bit better!

      • Thank you. It is a lot of fun to discuss the meaning of songs by your favorite artists.

        I like how you said that there might not always be a good line-by-line translation from the original Japanese. (For any particular song). I’m thinking that the entire song has a meaning – of what it is “all about”. That could be translated. Then the meaning of the subparts or (stanzas in poetry) which may convey one particular meaning. If three are “story songs” the content could be translated – idea by idea – or event to event – rather than line by line. Also, there is another way to interpret song: How does it make you feel? Also I would want to know how others interpret the songs. Interpret the symolism, etc.

        If only I could start a Hanako Oku discussion group at the local coffee house, in order to discuss the meaning of the songs.

        Sorry if I sound confusing.

    • I had considered putting an alternate translation before I put up this post, but I decided against it.
      With this discussion, I’ve decided to put one up. Perhaps I’ll merge the best of the two someday, but I don’t expect to get around to that anytime soon.

  5. Side point regarding lyrics: Sometimes I see the lyric “your sensitive tongue” and in this one it is “your cat-like tongue”. Maybe these two different translations have a little different context. “Cat-like tongue” may infer that the two friends had a deeper relationship?

    • According to Wiktionary, nekojita / 猫舌 is an idiomatic expression meaning :

      “cat tongue”, someone who is incapable of drinking or eating anything hot due to having an overly sensitive tongue

      It comes from neko / 猫, meaning “cat”, and shita / 舌, meaning “tongue” (which changes to jita because of rendaku).

      Of course, as this is poetry, it could very well carry another meaning with it.

  6. This is also one of my favourite songs of her. It really goes deep – even after hearing it so many times it still catches me deep inside …

  7. I hadn’t planned to have Hatsukoi as the first song for October, but considering how late it was posted, and Denny having posted something about the song, I figured it was time to bring it out. Besides, having it as the first song doesn’t go too badly with the song’s title.

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