The Most Popular Folk Song in Japan, Ranked

Choose the folk song you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 10, 2024 06:53
Folk songs often serve as a window into a culture's heart, encapsulating the emotions, stories, and rhythms of daily life. In Japan, these tunes not only celebrate the nation's history and traditions but also resonate with personal reflections and regional identities. By ranking these songs, listeners gain insight into what themes and melodies strike a chord across different demographics. This interactive ranking invites everyone to contribute their opinions and preferences, creating a dynamic list that reflects the current tastes within the community. Your votes help determine which songs continue to inspire and entertain, ensuring that both longstanding favorites and lesser-known gems receive their due recognition. Engage with the list to see how your preferences compare to others and help shape the cultural narrative.

What Is the Most Popular Folk Song in Japan?

  1. 1

    Sakura Sakura

    A traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring, the season of cherry blossoms.
    • Theme: Cherry blossoms
    • Origin: Edo period
  2. 2

    Kojo no Tsuki

    A song written by Rentaro Taki in 1901, inspired by the ruins of Takeda Castle.
    • Composer: Rentaro Taki
    • Inspiration: Takeda Castle
  3. 3


    A well-loved Japanese song reminiscing about one's hometown.
    • Theme: Hometown
    • Popularity: Widely sung in schools
  4. 4

    Shima Uta

    A song by The Boom that became an anthem of Okinawa, reflecting the region's culture and history.
    • Region: Okinawa
    • Artist: The Boom
  5. 5


    A nostalgic song about a red dragonfly, symbolizing the autumn season.
    • Symbolism: Red dragonfly
    • Season: Autumn
  6. 6

    Ue o Muite Arukō (Sukiyaki)

    A song by Kyu Sakamoto that became a hit worldwide, known as "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking countries.
    • Artist: Kyu Sakamoto
    • Global Hit: Yes
  7. 7

    Zui Zui Zukkorobashi

    A children's song that is widely known and sung across Japan.
    • Audience: Children
    • Type: Nursery rhyme
  8. 8

    Tankō Bushi

    A coal miners' song from Kyushu, often performed during the Bon Dance festival.
    • Region: Kyushu
    • Theme: Coal mining
  9. 9

    Sōran Bushi

    A traditional folk song from Hokkaido, often performed at festivals and events.
    • Region: Hokkaido
    • Theme: Fishing
  10. 10

    Takeda Lullaby

    A famous Japanese lullaby from the Takeda region of Japan.
    • Region: Takeda
    • Type: Lullaby

Missing your favorite folk song?

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular folk song in Japan. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or ballad is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 143 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each ballad once every 24 hours. The rank of each ballad is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Folk Song in Japan

Folk songs in Japan have deep roots in the culture. They reflect the lives, beliefs, and emotions of the people. These songs have been passed down through generations, preserving history and tradition.

In the past, folk songs were often sung during work. Farmers sang while planting rice. Fishermen sang while catching fish. These songs helped them keep a steady rhythm. They also made the hard work more bearable. The lyrics often spoke of nature, love, and daily life.

Festivals also played a big role in the spread of folk songs. During festivals, people gathered to sing and dance. The songs added to the joy and celebration. Each region had its own unique songs. This made the music diverse and rich.

The melodies of folk songs are simple. They use a limited range of notes. This makes them easy to remember and sing. The instruments used are traditional. These include the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument, and the taiko drum. The sounds of these instruments blend well with the human voice.

Folk songs often tell stories. Some are about historical events. Others are about legends and myths. These stories give insight into the values and beliefs of the people. They also teach lessons and morals.

In modern times, folk songs have not lost their charm. They are still sung at festivals and special events. Schools teach them to children. This ensures that the tradition continues. Many artists also perform folk songs. They often add a modern twist, blending old and new styles.

Folk songs have also influenced other forms of music. Many pop and rock musicians draw inspiration from them. This shows the lasting impact of these traditional songs. They continue to shape the music scene in Japan.

The simplicity and beauty of folk songs make them timeless. They connect the past with the present. They bring people together, creating a sense of unity and shared heritage. This is why they remain popular, even in today's fast-paced world.

In conclusion, Japanese folk songs hold a special place in the hearts of the people. They are a link to the past and a bridge to the future. Their melodies and stories continue to resonate, preserving the rich culture of Japan.

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