Sparrow’s Song


The Sparrow’s School
by Shimizu Katsura (清水かつら)

チイチイパッパ チイパッパ 
chii chii pappa chii pappa
Chii chii pappa chiipappa

suzume no gakkou no sensei wa

The teacher of the sparrow’s school

むちをふりふり チイパッパ
muchi o furi furi chii pappa
swings about a whip

生徒の雀は 輪になって 

seito no suzume wa wa ni natte
The sparrow students make a circle

お口をそろえて チイパッパ
o kuchi o soroete chii pappa
All together they open their mouths with chiipappa

まだまだいけない チイパッパ 
madamada ikenai chii pappa
It’s still no good

mo ichido isshou ni chii pappa
One more time all together now, chiipappa

チイチイパッパ チイパッパ
chii chii pappa chii pappa
chiichii pappa chiipappa

This song’s lyrics was written by 清水かつら (Shimizu Katsura) and the melody by 弘田龍太郎 (Hirota Ryuutarou) in 1921.

Apparantely, the sounds ちいちいぱっぱ was inspired by the sound of his young daughter learning to talk (ちいちい) and by the sound of the fluttering of sparrow’s wings (ぱっぱ). For a discussion on this, click here.


雀 suzume – sparrow
の no – ‘s (possessive)

学校 gakkou – school
先生 sensei – teacher

鞭 muchi – whip
を o – direct object marker
ふりふり furi furi – shake; swing

生徒 seito – student
輪 wa – ring; circle
になって ni natte – become (make)

お口 okuchi – mouth (polite)
そろえて soroete – be uniform; gather together

まだまだ mada mada – not yet; still more…
いけない ikenai – no good; wrong

も一度 mo ichido – one more time
一緒に issho ni – together

For photos of the authors, click here.

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