Learn to Sing “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” in English and in Japanese

The entire cast and the audience of the all-day peace concert at Nagaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, during the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 8, 2015, stood in a circle around the circumference of the church , surrounded by a garland of 1,000 folded cranes (in memory of those that perished in these attacks), singing together “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” in both Japanese and English.

This performance is the opening track of my album Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan.

“Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” is a visionary peace song written by the late folksinger and peace activist Ed McCurdy in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and copyrighted in 1950. I first heard it as a child on Pacifica Radio, the pacifist radio network created by the US peace movement during WWII, and which is still broadcasting from many cities around the United States.

I sang it at Nagaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, two days after the 70th memorial of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 8, 2015. I would like as many people as possible, all over the world to sing it, in many languages.  I read that it has been recorded in 76 languages, so I can safely assume that world peace is a very much beloved idea.  At Hiroshima, I sang it in English and Japanese, so I am offering the words here in both languages.

Here are the lyrics in English:

Last night I had the strangest dream
I never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was full of men
And the paper they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

And when the paper all was signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed.

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing ‘round and ‘round
And swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.

Here is a translation of the lyrics into Japanese created by the wonderful singer/songwriter Maiko Kodama in 2013.

Last Night I had the Strangest Dream in Japanse

 

Here is a guitar chart in the key of G, the key in which I sing this song.

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream-chart

 

If you are an English-speaking person, and want to learn Maiko’s Japanese lyrics phonetically, here is how they go:

Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war


Oh oh kee nah heh yah deh

I dreamed I saw a mighty room

Oo oh zei gah

The room was filled with men

Nee doh toh tah tah kah wah nai

And the paper they were signing said

Toh sah ee nee ee shee tah

They’d never fight again


Nah nn woh koo noh sah ee nn

And when the papers all were signed

Gah koh pee ee ee sah rei

And a million copies made

Tei woh tzu neh gee ah tah mah woh sah geh

They all joined hands and bowed their heads

Ee noh ree sah sah geh tah

And grateful prayers were prayed


Too oh ree noh hee toh bee toh

And the people in the streets below

Wah oh doh ree dah shee

Were dancing round and round

Jyoo toh ken toh goon poo koo

And guns and swords and uniforms

Wah soo tei rah rei tah

Were scattered on the ground


Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war

Here is the concert poster for the peace concert at Nagaregawa Church in Hiroshima, a combination of the cover illustration from Living on the Earth, and a graphic layout by Kaoriko Ago Wada, the fashion designer and owner of the Little Eagle organic fiber, fair trade clothing company, who coordinated the event.