Girl in the Red Shoes

Among the most well-known statues in Yokohama is the Girl in the Red Shoes. Her statues sits in Yamashita Park.

Now that I am retired, I have more time to enjoy my walks in Yamashita Park. I observe people and watch the children chase the seagulls. I usually gravitate to the statue of the Girl in the Red Shoes. If I were a betting man, I would wager that this statue is one of the most photographed in Yokohama.

Girl in the Red Shoes

Yamashita 0008 Man taking photoInevitably, whenever I walk by the statue, I see all sorts of people taking photos of the girl. No doubt they read the story of the girl and listened to or sang the song in their elementary school days. The words in Japanese are:

赤い靴(くつ) はいてた 女の子異人(いじん)さんに つれられて 行っちゃった横浜の 埠頭(はとば)から 汽船(ふね)に乗って異人さんに つれられて 行っちゃった今では 青い目に なっちゃって異人さんの お国に いるんだろう 赤い靴 見るたび 考える異人さんに 逢(あ)うたび 考える 生まれた 日本が 恋しくば青い海眺めて ゐるんだらう(いるんだろう)異人さんに たのんで 帰って来(こ)

In English the lyrics are

A young girl with red shoes/was taken away by a foreigner. She rode on a ship from Yokohama pier/ taken away by a foreigner/ I imagine right now she has become blue-eyed living in that foreigner’s land./ Every time I see red shoes, I think of her And every time I meet a foreigner, I think of her.

The story of the Girl in the Red Shoes is clouded in mystery.

I really don’t care about the cloudy background. When I look at the statue I think of my daughters when they were little.I hear their crying, their squealing, their joys.  More poignantly,  I remember listening to their dreams.

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