Kobitoga hitori morinonakade
A little man stands alone in the woods

asokoni irunowa dâre

oshiete chôdai dâre

niisan horane kinokoja naiwa

kawaii kobitokashira


nemutakunarunowa nâze

oshietechôdai nâze

sarasara horane mabutani furuno

kobitoga sunao makuno

Who is it that is standing there?

Tell me who it is!

Dear brother, look, it’s not a mushroom!

Is it, perhaps, a sweet little man?


Why am I so sleepy?

Tell me why I am so sleepy!

Look, sand is trickling in my eyes!

The little man seems to be sprinkling the magical sand.

Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) used this German folk song in the sandman scene in the second act of his opera “Hansel and Gretel”. This is probably the reason why the Japanese lyrics are about a little man that is sprinkling sand in the eyes to make someone sleepy. The melody has been used as the commercial melody for a music school chain for years. This school was founded several decades ago, and numerous students received their education there. Therefore, many people know this melody, mostly, however, without being aware that it is a German folk song.