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Evening Primrose “Yoimachigusa”

by Tadasuke Ono


Tadasuke Ono was a violinist born 1885 and died 1929. He was educated at the Tokyo Academy of Music.

There is not much more to be told about him. There are a few vocal recordings of this song Yoimachigusa available, but I chose not to example them as I found them overdone and distasteful musically, which is the last thing I wish to promote.

This is a lovely melody to sing the words and play with. It so lamentful and expressive.

The flower “Yoimachi-gusa宵待草”(Evening Primrose, literally ‘a grass waiting for evening’) is supposed to bloom in the evening and wither in the morning. The lyrics of the song were originally written as a poem by Yumeji Takehisa竹久夢二, an illustrator/designer and poet in 1912. An abridged version of the poem was published later, and it drew the attention of violinist, Tadasuke Ohno多忠亮, who gave music to the poem, and he himself performed the music in 1917. By 1918, a full score sheet of the song was published with Yumeji’s own illustration appearing on the cover, and it became an instant nation-wide hit.In 1938, 4 years after his death, a movie was planned on with a title “Yoimachi-gusa”, named after the song which had maintained a huge popularity, and the theme song for the film was of course that famous one, and even a second verse was added, written by Yumeji’s friend and poet, Yaso Saijo西條八十. The song is still sung today by many singers.