Adapted from:

Possible translations of “ee ja nai ka,” in Wilson, George M. Patriots and Redeemers: Motives in the Meiji Restoration. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1992, p. 98.

- Why not?
- Isn’t it so?
- So no?
- Isn’t it good?
- That’s right?
- What the hell?
- No more bullshit!
- Go, right on.

"Ee ja nai ka" chants as cited by Wilson, pp. 103 and 105:

Nishi kara chôchô ga tonde kite,

Butterflies come in from the west,

Kôbe no hama ni kane nuite,

Attracted to money in Kobe’s harbor,

Ei ja nai ka, ei ja nai ka!

Ei ja nai ka, ei ja nai ka!

Isn't that right? Ain't it the truth?

Nipponkoku e wa kami ga furu,

The gods will descend to Japan,

Tôjin yashiki nya ishi ga furu,

While rocks fall on the foreigners in their residencies,

Ee ja nai ka, ee ja nai ka! Ee ja nai ka, ee ja nai ka!


Ee ja nai ka, ee ja nai ka! Ee ja nai ka, ee ja nai ka!


Sari totewa, osoroshii toshi, uchiwasure,

But, then, it was frightfully bad year (1866) and best forgotten.

Kami no okage de odori, e ja nai ka,

Thanks to the kami we shall dance, right? Right, right on.

Nipponkoku no yonaori wa ee ja nai ka,

Remaking the world of Japan is right, too, no? Yes. Go for it!

Hônen odori wa medetai.

Congratulations are due on the good fortune of a bountiful harvest, so let’s dance on it.

Image of "ofudafuri'" or the falling talismans.

See some more images and clips from the film, "Eejanaika," compiled as a web module by Professor Carol Gluck of Columbia University at: