kanashiki Asian Boy (Sad Asian Boy)

  • Lyrics & Music: Kazuya Yoshii
  • Arrangement: The Yellow Monkey

Original Lyrics


暁に背を向けて バルコニーで君を待つ
雨にも負けない ニヒルな顔で待ってる
自由を奪われた 悲しきASIAN BOY

「でも桜色の口唇に 触れたいのに口唇に」

暁に背を向けて 何色の夢を見る
美意識のジョークは 無意識に牙を立てる
恋人も奪われた 悲しきASIAN BOY

「でも桜色の口唇に 触れたいのに口唇に
白くちらつく胸元に 触れたいのに胸元に」
悲しき… YES SIR!!

君と同じ夢を見ていた 少年は叫ぶ

「桜色の口唇に 触れたいのに口唇に
僕は強さと引き換えに 命は削れない」

もしかして君もASIAN BOY?

Romanized Lyrics


akatsuki ni se wo mukete balcony de kimi wo matsu
ame ni mo makenai nihil na kao de matteru
jiyuu wo ubawareta kanashiki ASIAN BOY
chi no nijimu you na asobi wa kore kara
shounen wa tsubuyaku

“demo sakura iro no kuchibiru ni furetai no ni kuchibiru ni”
tsuyoi yowa sa ni shibarareta
kanashiki ASIAN BOY

akatsuki ni se wo mukete nani iro no yume wo miru
biishiki no joke wa muishiki ni kiba wo tateru
koibito mo ubawareta kanashiki ASIAN BOY
ai to makoto ni me wo kogashite ita
shounen wa tsubuyaku

demo sakura iro no kuchibiru ni furetai no ni kuchibiru ni
boku wa yowa sa no mannaka ja inochi was chirasenai
shiroku chiratsuku muna moto ni furetai no ni muna moto ni”
tsuyoi yowa sa ni shibareta
kanashiki…YES SIR!!

mayoeru wakai heishi wa
hana wo sagashi samayou
kimi to onaji yume wo mite ita shounen wa sakebu

“sakura iro no kuchibiru ni furetai no ni kuchibiru ni
boku wa tsuyo sa to hikikae ni inochi wa kezurenai”
hora ushiro de kami sama ga ken wo kazashite matteiru
yume yo tobichire hana to nare
kanashiki ASIAN BOY

moshikashite kimi mo ASIAN BOY?

Translated Lyrics

Yes sir!!

Turning his back on the dawn, he waits for you on the balcony
He’s waiting with a nihilistic look on his face, and won’t be driven away by the rain
His freedom has been taken away, a sad Asian boy
But a grueling sort of play is about to begin
And the boy murmurs

“But I want to touch those cherry blossom colored lips, I want to touch them so badly”
He’s bound by strong weakness
A sad Asian boy

Turning his back on the dawn, what color does he dream in?
An aesthetic joke is unconsciously bearing its fangs
His lover has been taken away too, a sad Asian boy
He was burning with love and truth
And the boy murmurs

“But I want to touch those cherry blossom colored lips, I want to touch them so badly
Life can’t spread in the midst of all this sadness
I want to touch that flash of white breast, I want to touch it so badly”
He’s bound by strong weakness
A sad…yes sir!!

A stray young soldier
Wanders in search of a flower
He’s had the same dreams as you, and the boy shouts

“But I want to touch those cherry blossom colored lips, I want to touch them so badly
I won’t trade my life in exchange for strength”
You see, god waits behind him, holding up a sword
Scatter dreams, and turn into flowers
A sad Asian boy

Asian boy, Asian boy
Perhaps you’re an Asian boy too?


Kanashiki Asian Boy - Chest (Jaguar Hard Pain Tour, 1994)
Yoshii frequently flashes his chest during this song (Jaguar Hard Pain Tour, 1994)

My favorite song on Jaguar Hard Pain changes depending on my mood, but often it’s Kanashiki Asian Boy. This was the only single from the album (released on 02/21/1994, not very long before the album), and it was an obvious choice. This song comes comes at full speed right from the start, with Yoshii shouting out “Yeah!” (if you listen to the original recording anyway, more on that later), and an intro that just builds and gets you excited. And after Yoshii’s “Yes sir!!”, you get the backing vocals from Mikako Tsuchiya and Shinobu Fujita (with some of the band members as well), which acts as one of song’s big hooks (it comes back after each chorus and at the end of the song).

Yoshii has said in an interview that he had envisioned it as the single from the beginning. It also seems as though he had a hangup at this point with getting the band’s singles to be used as tie-up songs for lipstick commercials, probably due to the previously failed tie-up with the last album’s single, Avant-garde de Ikou yo. Alas, this song was not picked up for a lipstick commercial either.

I was thinking of “Kanashiki Asian Boy” as a single from the beginning. I’ve had this sense for some time that our singles should be songs that would work well in a TV commercial for lipstick…

(When asked about the importance of the strings section in the song) They’re crucial! (Laughs) They make it just like a lipstick commercial. It has the feeling of something like “Spring Asian Girl, from Kose”. They could even change the lyrics to that, for all I care (Laughs).

Kazuya Yoshii, Rockin’ f interview, 03/1994
Kanashiki Asian Boy - Chorus (Mekara Uroko 7, 1996)
Holding down the chorus (Mekara Uroko 7, 1996)

Keeping with the theme of the album, the subject of this song is Jaguar. It’s definitely him looking back at some time in the past, though it’s not completely clear just how far back. The “yes sir!” in here could either mean at that point he was already involved with the military, or it could be him having to shout “Yes sir!!” in response to an interruption of his reminiscing in the present.

Kanashiki Asian Boy - Army Crawl (Mekara Uroko 10, 1999)
Yoshii’s famous army crawl that he just about always does during the solo, this time holding a rifle! (Mekara Uroko 10, 1999)

Either way, the lyrics here are some of Yoshii’s finest work, and they completely transcend the idea of being about Jaguar. The general theme here is one of frustration at desiring after a woman that is so far out of your league, that there’s just nothing you can do about it. Everything comes together to help paint a very detailed picture here: Turning his back on the dawn, nihilistic looks, being rained on, god holding up a sword behind him, and finally dreams being told to scatter and become flowers as the chorus (reminiscing) ends. And the way the chorus conveys his longing for a girl while still being upbeat and highly sing-able is master class song writing. Then as the song is ending, it seems like Yoshii steps out of the character of Jaguar and says “Hey, a lot of people listening to this song might feel this same way in their own lives too. You might be an “Asian boy”!”. This would be a great first Yellow Monkey song to play for anyone if they weren’t familiar with the band’s work.

Kanashiki Asian Boy - Sign (Super Japan Tour, 2016)
Here comes the sign! (Super Japan Tour, 2016)

The 2017 collection of re-recordings of old songs, “The Yellow Monkey Is Here”, features a re-recorded version of this as well. Obviously it’s much better in terms of sound quality, but you could argue it loses a little bit in personality since the backup vocals across that whole collection are weirdly muted and less energetic than on previous recordings. It is more true to the way in which it’s performed live though, with a second Emma guitar solo at the end. Either version is a great one to listen to!

Kanashiki Asian Boy - Crowd (Mekara Uroko 27, 2016)
Yoshii mingling with the crowd (Mekara Uroko 27, 2016)

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a fan that doesn’t love this song, since it’s become a bit of an anthem for the band. It tends to be a part of almost all of their set lists, and is usually either the last song of the encore or very close to it. There’s a lot of fanfare associated with it: Yoshii shouts “akatsuki ni hateru made…kanashiki Asian Boy!” (“While it’s still dawn…Sad Asian Boy!”). Then during the intro a sign descends from the rafters (when they’re in a venue that supports that happening) showing the band’s name in lights, as Yoshii assumes sort of a saluting sort of stance with his arm out to the side. Pyrotechnics will be set off when Yoshii shouts “Yes sir!!” (typically they are the only pyrotechnics of the show), and the crowd just goes crazy. At first this didn’t happen, but after awhile Yoshii stopped singing the chorus himself and let the band/backup singers/crowd do it, usually changing the line just before into something like “shounen yo…let’s go!”. And as the song ends, Yoshii shouts out (in English) “We are number one rock ‘n’ roll Asian! The…” (with the crowd actually shouting out “Yellow Monkey” afterward).

While it was played at some shows during the Four Seasons and Sicks tours, it wasn’t necessarily played at every single one (they tended to change the set-list up a lot for those tours). Apart from that, it’s appeared as a regular part of every tour since Jaguar Hard Pain, and has been played at every Mekara Uroko concert as well (The Mekara Uroko 10 and Super Big Egg 2017 performances are notable for having a brass section added). It’s a fan favorite, and they know it!

Official music video
Tokyo Dome Live, 2001