Friday, December 3, 2021

Lost in Songlation Vol. 1: Let it Go vs. Ari no Mama De

Elsa singing “Let it Go”

Having served a mission in Japan, I enjoy consuming media in Japanese to help with my listening skills. So when I found the Japanese version of the Frozen soundtrack I had to give it a try. Side note: this might be an unpopular opinion, but I thought Tangled was a MUCH more compelling film than Frozen, especially when it came to the big musical numbers. Anyway don’t get me wrong, Idina Menzel is one of my favorite musicians and Broadway stars, but when she belted on about letting it go I struggled to connect with the lyrics. In the context of the story, it makes sense: Elsa has been told to suppress her gifts her whole life, and she is no longer able to hold her powers back.

The Japanese message on the other hand has a separate focus: it is more about Elsa embracing herself just as she is, aligning more truly with herself. The subtle nuances between the translations actually lead to entirely different songs. I resonate a lot with this, as I have had to come face to face with my own attributes and parts of myself that I haven’t liked or have had to struggle with. Learning how to accept and love myself right where I am at has been one of the keys to finding peace and growth.

After looking up the Japanese lyrics (I’m not always able to hear or understand what I’m listening to), I went through and translated the meaning (see below). I may be slightly off with some of the words, but it should be mostly accurate. 

For your reference, here is the English version of the song.

Here is the Japanese version.


The snow begins to fall and erases my footprints.

In this stark whole world, I’m alone.

The wind whispers to my heart:

“You can’t go on like this…”

Confusion… wounds…

I was suffering without confiding in anyone,

But I’ve had enough!

Just as I am, I will show my form.

Just as I am, I will become myself.

I’m not afraid of anything.

Let the wind blow.

It’s not even the least bit cold.

The things I was suffering from were like a lie

But now I’m free,

I am capable of anything!

How far can I go?

I want to test myself.

That’s it, I can change

Just as I am, I will ride on the winds

Just as I am, I will fly.

I won’t shed another tear.

I will wrap up the cold ground,

And paint my dancing thoughts up high,

Just like a crystal made of flower-blooming ice.

I want to shine brightly, I’ve decided!

Is this enough,

Making myself as I like?

Is this enough,

Believing in myself?

While bathing myself in light,

I will walk forward.

It’s not even the least bit cold.


What do you think? Which version of the lyrics do you resonate with more?

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