Neko Funjatta (ねこふんじゃった)


Neko Funjatta is a Japanese children’s song about stepping on a cat.


Line Original Script Phonetic Script Translation
1 ねこふんじゃった ねこふんじゃった Neko funjatta neko funjatta I stepped on a cat, I stepped on a cat


2 ねこふんづけちゃったら ひっかいた Neko funzukechattara hikkaita I stepped on a cat and it scratched me


3 ねこひっかいた ねこひっかいた Neko hikkaita neko hikkaita It scratched me, it scratched me


4 ねこびっくりして ひっかいた Neko bikkurishite hikkaita


Cat was shocked and it scratched me





I collected this from my Japanese friend that I befriended during my times studying abroad in Shanghai, China. She learned of Nekko Funjatta while learning the piano from her mother during her childhood. It is significant to her because as an avid piano player to this day, it is one of the first pieces of music that she could play and sing along.




The Nekko Funjatta is sung over the tune of Der Flohwalzer (Flea Waltz). Unlike the German version however, the Japanese version has lyrics. Although the tune is renown over the world, in Japan, people know of Nekko Funjatta over Flea Waltz because the lyrics of the song is valued as somewhat of a tradition. One of the first pieces that children will perform to their parents is this song due to its easy to recognize and play tune as well as its playful and repetitive lyrics. This is how, through adding a verbal aspect to the song, the Japanese elevated the already renowned tune into a cultural song of their own.





Other examples similar to Nekko Funjatta are Der Flohwalzer (Flea Waltz) in Germany and Kissanpolkka (Cat’s Polka) in Finland