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U boj, u boj! sung by Kwansei Gakuin University Choir from Japan in Croatia's capital Zagreb 2014
"Uboj, u boj!" sung by Japanese glee club from Kobe in Dubrovnik and Zagreb in Septemeber 2014
Summary. Connection between Croatian airs and Japanese students is already well known. Male choir of one of the most prestigious Japanese universities - Kwansei Gakuin University, Kobe - for its anthem chose "U boj, u boj ", the famous air from the Croatian opera "Nikola Šubić Zrinski". Japanese choirs are singing this aria exclusively in the Croatian language for the last 90 years, and it is believed that the persona and life of Nikola Zrinski of Siget found its admirers in distant Japan because of his courage and honourable samurai death in 1566. The opera was composed by Ivan pl. Zajc 1832-1914, distinguished Croatian composer.
Nikola Šubić Zrinski in 1566 with his 2500 soldiers against 90,000 Turks.
Dear Professor Darko Zubrinic, Zagreb Daer Professor Mirna Potkovac-Endrighetti, Skrljevo Dear Mr. Nenad Bach, New York Dear Mr. Jun Karube, Kawanishi
Thank you very much for your kindness to help me. I had already known the home page of Kansei Gakuin Glee Club and Waseda University Glee Club.
The history of "U boj, u boj!" being written in the home page of Kansei Gakuin Glee Club is well known in Japan. This "U boj, u boj!" were being sung among many many male choir student and people from young to old more than half a century in Japan.
We Coro Maschile ROPPONGHI are also singing this "U boj, u boj!" as one of the favorite songs. But in Japan there are several versions of this "U boj, u boj!". We are using now attached version score (PDF) edited by Maestro Youichirou Fukunaga who died about ten years ago. There are some differences of text and score between some versions in Japan. Then I asked to Mr. Nenad Bach to help me to obtain the opera score and CD to know the most original and most true text, score and playing sound.
The representative of Coro Maschile ROPPONGHI is Mr. Shigeaki Saegusa who is a famous composer in the world, and the laurel conductors are Maestro Hiroyuki Iwaki and Maestro Naoto Ootomo both are famous in the world as you know, and the chorus master is Maestro Hiroshi Misawa who is the choir supervisor of National Opera Theater. So we would like to play more original "U boj, u boj!" by true text at any chance in near future.
Best regards, Kunimasa Katayama
I express my deep gratitude to Japanese colleagues who prepared a beautiful web page devoted to Nikola Subic Zrinski and his samuraian death in 1566 while defending the fortress of Siget.
In August 2005 Croatia has been visited by prof.dr. Teruhiko Awakura, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Faculty of Bioindustry, upon invitation of dr. Emin Teskeredzic from Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb. In the introduction to his lecture he said that his most favorite song is "U boj, u boj!". According to his information, the song came to Japan already in 1919. The song came after the WWI, when Czechoslowakian army [in fact, Austrian-Hungarian army, D.Z.] moved from Siberia to their country, and their ship stranded near Shimonoseki southwest of Honshu, Japan, in 1919. During the repair of their ship they stayed in Kobe, near Osaka, for about two months. During that period they exchanged courtesies with the members of glee club of Kansaigakuin Universty and when they left Japan, they presented the handwriting score of "U boj, u boj!". It was believed that the song was the Czechoslovakian song [Czechoslowakia did not exist at that time, and Czechs do not have a sea; Austrian-Hungarian crew was obviously composed mostly of Croatian mariners, D.Z]. The song soon extended to other glee clubs of Japanese Universities. In conclusion to his lecture he said:
When I was a university student, I took part in glee-club and we sang "U BOJ!" many times. From 1993, I am taking part in "Sapporo Male Choir" and also sometimes we are singing "U BOJ!".
Many thanks to dr. Ivancica Pizeta, Rudjer Boskovic Institute, for this information and for ppt file of prof. Awakura's lecture.
It is worth mentioning that in September 2005 the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra had a series of concerts in Japan. Especially successful was the concert held in the hall of the Tokyo opera, named Memorial Takemitsu in honour of a famous Japanese composer. The programme included "U boj, u boj", but this time sung also with participation of singers from an amateur choir from the Tokio district of Roppongi, who expressed their wish to sing together with Croatian Philharmonic Orchestra. It was a moving gesture of Japanese singers who sang the song in Croatian, and a great honour for Croatian orchestra.
A Japanese choir composed of 1000 singers conducted by maestro Katsuaki Kozai sang "U BOJ, U BOJ" in the Kokugikan Hall in Tokyo in February 26, 2006, watch and listen to YouTube. This concert attended by about 10,000 listeners has been organized among others by Croatian embassy in Japan. In the introduction to the concert it has been said that this very popular tune was brought to Japan by Croatian mariners (then within Austrian-Hungarian army), immediately after the end of the WWI. Namely, while retreating from the Russian Far East front, a taifoon carried their ship to Japanese coast near Kobe. The Japanese liked very much "U BOJ, U BOJ" sung by Croatian mariners, and since then it became very popular throughout Japan.
Ivan pl. Zajc (pl. = plemeniti = noble), composer of the opera Nikola Subic Zrinski (1508 – 1566); libretto by Hugo Badalic, based on drama Zriny written by a German poet Theodor Korner (1791-1813).
Announcement of the premiere of the opera Nikola Subic Zrinski in Zagreb, 1876
From the announcement of the premiere of the opera Nikola Subic Zrinski, Zagreb 1876. Note the Croatian Coat of Arms on the right.
The music for "U boj, u boj!" was composed by Ivan Zajc already in 1866 in Viena, Austria, for a quartet composed of Croatian students in that city. Later, when he lived in Zagreb, he incorporated this song into his opera "Nikola Subic Zrinski" in 1876. Many thanks to maestro Josip degl'Ivelio, Zagreb, for this information.
Music score of the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski from 1876, written by Ivan pl. Zajc, kept in the National and University Library in Zagreb.
The famous Japanese male choir Shingetsu-Kai from Kwansei Gakuin University sang the song that made them famous in Croatia
Connection between Croatian arias and Japanese students is already well known. Male choir of one of the most prestigious Japanese universities - Kwansei Gakuin University, Kobe - for its anthem chose "U boj, u boj", the famous aria from the Croatian opera "Nikola Subic Zrinski".
Japanese choir is singing this aria in the Croatian language for the last 90 years, and it is believed that the persona and life of Nikola Zrinski of Siget found its admirers in distant Japan because of his courage and honourable samurai death in 1566. The opera was composed by Ivan pl. Zajc, distinguished Croatian composer.
Kwansei Gakuin Alumni Association members were proud to have had the opportunity to come and sing this song in its homeland, even more so since Croatia is also the homeland of the cravat. On September 9 & 11 2014, in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, the Kwansei Gakuin choir sang the song which made them famous in Croatia, while wearing the cravats designed by CROATA, exclusively for the 125th anniversary of their establishment.
The choir arrived to Croatia accompanied by Mrs. Jelena Yamasaki, trip organizer and support staff to the Honorary Consul of Croatia in Osaka, who, for the last nineteen years promotes beauty, history and cultural values of Croatia in Japan.
It is interesting to know that the Japanese soldiers heard Zajc's air after World War I, since 1919, singing it exclusively in Croatian language.
SUPPORTED BY: Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Croatia in Osaka, Japan
Organizers: Akamatsu Masaaki, Yamasaki Jelena (Shinegtsukai, Hankyu Travel, Office Tenitama, Do Traffic and Croata)
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