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"Tenchi Muyo": What Does This Song Actually Mean?

The words that were chosen for this week’s #SongLyricsSunday challenge were “Bottom/End/Middle/Side/Top”. The challenge is hosted by Jim at An Unique Title For Me. My first choice for the challenge was Shania Twain’s “Up”. I mentioned in another post last year that “Up” is my favorite song by her. However, I eventually chose something that I have loved since I was in elementary school: “Tenchi Muyo”.

The Meaning Behind “Tenchi Muyo”

Tenchi Muyo on a package label

“Tenchi Muyo” (天地無用) is the name of a popular Japanese anime series that started in the early 90s. There are two meanings behind the word. One meaning, which a lot of the show’s fans stick to, is “No Need For Tenchi”. But, the other meaning is used as a shipping terminology. When you see “Tenchi Muyo” on a box, it means “this side up” or “this way up”.

It is interesting to note that “muyo” (無用) is translated as “useless”. The literal translation of “Tenchi Muyo” is “useless heaven and earth”. However, negative sentences, verb conjugations, and words in Japanese actually mean “an action that one must do”. So, if a package is written with “Tenchi Muyo”, one must follow the instructions — no ifs or buts.

The double meaning behind “Tenchi Muyo” really confused anime fans in the 90s. I don’t know if the creators behind the series were intending to create a pun or not. But, there were a lot of mistranslations of the series’ name back when it first came out.

The Lyricist and the Band

“Tenchi Muyo” was recorded by a duo named SONIA. There isn’t much information about the group as they weren’t popular except among anime fans. They only lasted for two years from 1994 to 1996. They released four singles and one album.

SONIA on the back cover of the "Tenchi Muyo" Single
SONIA on the back cover of the “Tenchi Muyo” single

I tried to find out who was in SONIA but there is so little information on Google: in Japanese and in English. It seems that the members were bilingual as they could sing English and Japanese seamlessly. You can hear this in their bilingual cover of Sheena Easton’s “Modern Girl“.

The lyricist behind the Japanese version of “Tenchi Muyo” is Natsuko Karedo. She made her debut as a lyricist in 1988 with Hiroko Kasahara’s “Hard-Boiled tte Naani?” (ハードボイルドってなあに?; What is Hard-Boiled?“. This lyricist from Osaka wrote many songs for Tenchi Muyo! as well as other anime series. She also wrote for other artists like Shounentai, C.C. Girls, and Miki Fujitani.

Get Ready, Love Will Leave You Cryin’

The plot behind the story is more of a warning: Be careful of that woman who you want to fall in love with; she is dangerous. Now, this is based on the English version (which the lyrics are written by a mystery person), which I shared below. The lyrics tell of someone warning his/her friend that looks are deceiving! The woman you want to fall in love with will only break your heart in the end. Isn’t this a vicious warning?

The cast of Tenchi Muyo!

It is a mystery how the song’s lyrics to relate to the anime series of the same name. The reason why is because the series’ plot is about six space alien females who take up residency at the house of the part-human male named Tenchi Masaki. There are fights and serious storylines at times. But, the overall genre of the series is comedy: What would Tenchi do when he is stuck with five beautiful space aliens in one house?

(My favorite character of the series is Sasami, who might look young but is actually over 700 years old. My username (Aisasami) is partially derived from the cute character’s name.)

Tell Me What You Think

Listen to both the English and Japanese versions below. Afterward, tell me what you think about the song below! What do you think the story behind the lyrics is?

I recommend listening to “Tenchi Muyo” because it is filled with high energy. From the first beat, you know this is a song that you want to dance to. And it never stops! It is a perfect song to play during that morning workout as it will help to inspire you to become energetic!

Here is a video recording of SONIA performing the Japanese version live in 1996:

The Lyrics of “Tenchi Muyo”

  • Get ready love will leave you cryin’
    It’s gonna hurt you til your heart is dyin’
    Can’t escape it ain’t no use in tryin’
    No exception, love will leave you crying too
    Till you’re a broken man, poor you

The day you see her, a lovely stranger
You only pray that soon you’ll know her name
You finally touch her then you’re in danger
It won’t be long before you feel the pain

‘Cause your emotions will overtake you
You’ll look for heaven in her big brown eyes
But she’s no angel and she’ll forsake you
That shouldn’t come as any great suprise

Passion isn’t really happiness
There is trouble in her sweet caress
Lost in confusion
You’ll drown in delusion
If you don’t run

  • (repeat)

You think you’re macho, a real soldier
But you’ve never seen this women smile
You can’t resist her, You can’t control her
Soon you’ll be helpless as a little child

You’ll feel so foolish, but just remember
There is no man who wouldn’t be her slave
She’s hot as fire, cold as December
Her kiss will drive you to an early grave

Every time you try to run away
Your desires are gonna make you stay
Still in her power weaker by the hour
Why even fight

  • (repeat)

Passion isn’t really happiness
There is trouble in her swet caress
Lost in confusion
You’ll drown in delusion
If you don’t run

  • (repeat)

Credits: Anime Lyrics Dot Com

If you want to participate, here are the rules:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

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This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. violet

    You introduced me to a wold I know nothing about. Anime having depth, meaning and even music of it’s own is all very foreign to me, but something you have sparked my interest in . Thank you for making this choice.

  2. Jim Adams

    This was a very interesting post, as I loved reading about the song and the cartoon. It was also nice to learn how you took your username (Aisasami).

  3. Jade Li

    I like the song, it sounds familiar. I do have anime shows I’ve watched and enjoyed as well as the Studio Ghibli movies. My younger son and his wife are pretty deep into it, and I’m sure they’d recognize this song. Interesting to learn about the meaning of the name.

    1. Deepali

      This was so interesting to learn about the meanings of the name. Loved reading it.

  4. Cathy Kennedy


    I like the Japanese version a little better despite the bad recording. Thanks for sharing the song in both languages. It’s great having you on the 4M dance floor this morning, my dear. Have a boogietastic week!!

  5. Stephanie

    I always wondered where “aisasami” came from! I don’t watch much anime, but I know a few people who do. For that reason, this is completely new to me. That’s kind of crazy you can’t find much info about the singer. I thought you could find anything on the internet!!

  6. Carrie

    I had no idea! Thank you for the info

  7. Joline

    It’s so interesting to find there are multiple ways to interpret this. My brother is big into anime, I’ll send this over! He’ll be thrilled.

  8. Megan

    Fun beat – my kids love anime so I am somewhat familiar, but haven’t heard this one!

  9. Neely Moldovan

    How interesting! I had not heard of this before. Thanks for the info!

  10. Mumfromdownunder

    Very interesting to read about anime! You have piqued my interest in it!

  11. Luna S

    It is always neat to learn more about the meanings of a song, thanks for putting this together and sharing it with us.

  12. Ashli Ferguson

    oh wow how cool!! It’s neat to learn the meanings behind songs !!

  13. Joanna

    This reminds me a slightly bit of Sailor Moon, an anime I used to love when I was a child. I can see the same dynamic in the song.

  14. Dominique Brooks

    I am not familiar with this song at all. However, I do enjoy reading lyrics and understanding what the writers meant. It’s not always clear!

  15. Angela Tolsma

    I haven’t seen the anime or heard the song before. Great break down! I want to see if I can find the anime.

  16. Courtney

    Oooooo not going to lie, first time hearing this song!!!! I’m definitely going to have eltongoogle it now that I know all about it!

  17. Christa

    I loved learning where you got your name! I always discover so much new music through your posts.

  18. Mike A.

    I haven’t heard this song before. It does have a TV/movie theme vibe to it.

  19. Michele

    My stepdaughter loves anime. I will definitely be sharing this with her.

  20. Jaynaylee

    This was such a awesome breakdown of this song! I’ve never heard it but I love it

  21. Michelle

    Well, now, I have learned something I did not know. You schooled well.
    I only started watching a little bit of anime last year because my granddaughter is in to it.

    Thanks for this fun information.

  22. Lily

    I bet my brother knows all about this show. He is really into anime and he would know this song too.

  23. barbara

    Very cool song, and fun to read about the anime series. I liked both videos. It was fun to see them singing it, but also I liked hearing it in English as the first one. I don’t know much about anime, but sure wish I could draw those wonderful pictures like they do. They fascinate me. 🙂

  24. Stacy Uncorked

    My oldest is a huge anime fan – I’ll definitely be sharing this and find out her take on both versions. 😉 Thanks for the intro, and the dance!

  25. Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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