Tankō Bushi

The Tankō Bushi originated at Miike Mine, Kyushu, Japan.

Tankō Bushi (炭坑節) is a Japanese folk song. Despite the term "fushi/bushi" found in its name, the rhythm is in swung, ondo style. It is a song about coal mining, and it refers to old Miike Mine in Kyūshū(Tagawa City). It is a common song used in Bon dances during the Bon Festival, and the dance that accompanies it depicts actions in mines such as digging, pushing a cart or hanging a lantern.

Excerpt from Tankō Bushi


Tsuki ga deta deta
Tsuki ga deta, a yoi yoi
Miike Tankō no ue ni deta
Anmari entotsu ga takai no de
Sazoya otsukisan kemutakaro
Sa no yoi yoi

Rough English translation:

The moon, has come out,
Oh, the moon is out, heave ho (kakegoe)
Over Miike Coal Mine has the moon come out.
The chimney is so high,
I wonder if the moon chokes on the smoke...
Heave Ho!

Modern arrangements of Tankō Bushi replace the lyric "Miike Tankō" with "uchi no oyama," which in traditional mining dialect means "our coal mine" or "our coal pit," as Miike Mine is no longer in service, and the song is played at Bon dances outside of Kyūshū.


The song was recorded in Japan in 1932.[1] A popular version is the commercial recording featuring Suzuki Masao,[2] Victor of Japan, MV-1 (JES-1041).[3] It was originally recorded on 78 RPM as Victor V-41543. The CD version is Victor of Japan MVK-1.[2]



  1. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20081103b2.html
  2. 1 2 Victor of Japan MVK-1
  3. The Japanese Bon Dance in Hawaii, Judy Van Zile, Press Pacifica, 1982, p. 52

Completed reference to CD MVK-1.

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