Sparrow’s School Song: 雀の学校

I received an email on Friday asking if I knew of a song that started like this:

Chi Chi Pa Pa, Teruteru Bozu, Kisha Kisha Pon Pon, Yuu yake ko ya ke de

Well, I hadn’t, but Yumi knew a similar (same?) song and here it is:
[display_podcast]

雀の学校
The Sparrow’s School
by Shimizu Katsura (清水かつら)

チイチイパッパ チイパッパ
chii chii pappa chii pappa
Chii chii pappa chiipappa

雀の学校の先生は
suzume no gakkou no sensei wa
The teacher of the sparrow’s school

むちをふりふり チイパッパ
muchi o furi furi chii pappa
swings about a whip

生徒の雀は 輪になって
seito no suzume wa wa ni natte
The sparrow students make a circle

お口をそろえて チイパッパ
o kuchi o soroete chii pappa
All together they open their mouths with chiipappa

まだまだいけない チイパッパ
madamada ikenai chii pappa
It’s still no good

も一度一緒にチイパッパ
mo ichido isshou ni chii pappa
One more time all together now, chiipappa

チイチイパッパ チイパッパ
chii chii pappa chii pappa
chiichii pappa chiipappa


This song’s lyrics was written by 清水かつら (Shimizu Katsura) and the melody by 弘田龍太郎 (Hirota Ryuutarou) in 1921.Apparantely, the sounds ちいちいぱっぱ was inspired by the sound of his young daughter learning to talk (ちいちい) and by the sound of the fluttering of sparrow’s wings (ぱっぱ).

Japanese Vocabulary Image

suzume – sparrow
no – ‘s (possessive)
学校 gakkou – school
先生 sensei – teacher鞭 muchi – whip
o – direct object marker
ふりふり furi furi – shake; swing

生徒 seito – student
wa – ring; circle
になって ni natte – become (make)

お口 okuchi – mouth (polite)
そろえて soroete – be uniform; gather together

まだまだ mada mada – not yet; still more…
いけない ikenai – no good; wrong

も一度 mo ichido – one more time
一緒に issho ni – together

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3 thoughts on “Sparrow’s School Song: 雀の学校

  1. Yes, I also learned this song in elementary school – in Hawaii. The first three lines and the translation “teacher sparrow” have stuck with me for something a little over 50 years. Thank you for finding and posting the full song as well as the story behind it.

  2. I learned this song when I was a little girl in Japan, but the English words I was taught are very different. The English part was a teacher/student back and forth like this:
    I like to teach little birds to sing.
    Chii chii pappa chii pappa
    -Chii chii pappa chii pappa
    -She likes to teach little birds to sing.
    You learn to sing a song by listening.
    -We learn to sing a song by listening.
    Now hop and flutter while you sing the words.
    -Now we hop and flutter while we sing the words.
    Soon you’ll sing and hop about like grown-up birds.
    -Soon we’ll sing and hop about like grown-up birds.
    Try again until you sound like grown-up birds
    -Try again until we sound like grown-up birds
    Chii chii pappa chii pappa
    -Chii chii pappa chii pappa

    The Japanese words are exactly the same as above, but until now, I had never seen a true translation, so thank you for posting this. It brings back great memories.

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