I always thought that the "Endless Sorrow" is one of the best music videos I've seen and still, in 2013, think that it is correct. The detailed screen captures from it are presented HERE. The words of the song are not very much relevant to the video... I am not a translator from Japanese and below is my interpretation of what the lyrics are:

What if you're alone and suddenly cannot see anything,
What if despite that you try to walk forward?

Come here and take my hand.
Even if you have only one wing
Even if I have only one wing left

What if there was nothing you could believe in,
What if all that's left is despair?
Please hear this prayer
In the age of angels without wings
Even if you have no wings left
I have just one wing left, so...
Together... together
Why the angel both on the CD cover and in the video clip have only one wing...? Below is my personal opinion that, of course, may not be the correct one. The information has been collected on the Internet and trimmed to fit the page. Any corrections/comments are welcome...

In the "Tale of Genji" written approximately one thousand year ago by Murasaki Shikibu (b. 978) the "Song of Everlasting Sorrow" by the Chinese poet Po Chu-Yi (772-846) is cited as follows:
"In the sky, as birds that share a wing.
On earth, as trees that share a branch."
This appeared to me as a link between the song and the poem, and what interests us now is the ancient "Song of Everlasting Sorrow" (the full text of the poem in the translation by A.S. Kline is presented at the bottom of the page).
"The Song Of Everlasting Sorrow" is based on a true story of how Yang Kwei-fei (18th century painting by Chobunsai Eishi to the left) rose from obscurity to win the heart of an emperor, before causing his downfall.
Emperor Hsuan Tsung, who ruled from 713-756, was a wise ruler during the early years of his reign. Then the emperor became infatuated with the young woman. In 741 Yang Kwei-fei abandoned her husband and in 745 the emperor made her his "Precious Consort."
From this time on, Hsuan Tsung neglected affairs of state and allowed his court to lapse into decadence. Meanwhile, Yang Kwei-fei caused a scandal with her close relationship with general An Lu-Shan. Several natural disasters and military defeats caused unrest in the empire, culminating in a rebellion led by An Lu-Shan in 755. As the victorious rebel forces advanced on the capital, Hsuan Tsung and his court fled. On the way, the imperial guard mutinied and killed Yang Kwei-fei's brother, the prime minister. Blaming the Yang family for the empire's troubles, the troops forced the emperor to have his beloved concubine strangled at Ma-Wei posting station on the Wei River...
When the T'ang dynasty regained control and Hsuan Tsung finally returned to the capital, he was seized by remorse and used a Taoist priest Luo Gongyuan to contact Yang Kwei-fei in the netherworld (17th century scroll by Kano Sansetsu showing the search of Luo Gongyuan for the murdered Yang Kwei-fei is shown below).


The priest met with Yang Kwei-fei in the Land of The Immortals, bringing back to the emperor half a gold hair comb, which the emperor knew belonged to her, and a message:

‘Our spirits belong together, like these precious fragments,
Sometime, in earth or heaven, we shall meet again.’...
‘On that Seventh night, of the Herdboy and the Weaver,
In the silent Palace we declared our dream was
To fly together in the sky, two birds on the same wing,
To grow together on the earth, two branches of one tree.’
The Herdboy and the Weaver girl are the stars Altair in the constellation Eagle and Vega in the constellation Lyra. They are lovers separated by the Milky Way. She is allowed to visit him once a year on the seventh night of the seventh month, the first month of autumn, when she passes across the heavens as a meteor, or crosses to him on a bridge of birds.
The meeting of the priest and Yang Kwei-fei is shown on the 19th century painting by Hokkei:
Hsuan Tsung had Yang Kwei-fei sculpture made in the image of Avalokitesvara (Kannon), which was brought to Sennyu-ji Temple in Kyoto by the priest Tankai in 1255. It is located in a small Kannon-do in the temple grounds and known as the Yokihi Kannon or Empress Yang. The picture of it (from Sennyu-ji Temple brochure) is shown to the left.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow

China’s Emperor yearning, for beauty that shakes a kingdom,
Reigned for many years, searching but not finding,
Until a child of the Yang, hardly yet grown,
Raised in the inner chamber, unseen by anybody,
But with heavenly graces that could not be hidden,
Was chosen one day for the Imperial household.
If she turned her head and smiled she cast a deep spell,
Beauties of Six Palaces vanished into nothing.
Hair’s cloud, pale skin, shimmer of gold moving,
Flowered curtains protected on cool spring evenings.
Those nights were too short. That sun too quick in rising.

The emperor neglected the world from that moment,
Lavished his time on her in endless enjoyment.
She was his springtime mistress, and his midnight tyrant.
Though there were three thousand ladies all of great beauty,
All his gifts were devoted to one person.

Li Palace rose high in the clouds.
The winds carried soft magic notes,
Songs and graceful dances, string and pipe music.
He could never stop himself from gazing at her.

But the Earth reels. War drums fill East Pass,
Drown out ‘The Feathered Coat and Rainbow Skirt’.
Great Swallow Pagoda and Hall of Light,
Are bathed in dust - the army fleeing Southwards.
Out there Imperial banners, wavering, pausing
Until by the river forty miles from West Gate,
The army stopped. No one would go forward,
Until horses’ hooves trampled willow eyebrows.
Flower on a hairpin. No one to save it.
Gold and jade phoenix. No one retrieved it.
Covering his face the Emperor rode on.
Turned to look back at that place of tears,
Hidden by a yellow dust whirled by a cold wind.

As Shu waters flow green, Shu mountains show blue,
His majesty’s love remained, deeper than the new.
White moon of loneliness, cold moon of exile.
Bell-chimes in evening rain were bronze-edged heartbeats.
So when the dragon-car turned again northwards
The Emperor clung to Ma-Wei’s dust, never desiring
To leave that place of memories and heartbreak.
Where is the white jade in heaven and earth’s turning?

Lakes and gardens are still as they have been,
T’ai-yi’s hibiscus, Wei-yang’s willows.
A flower-petal was her face, a willow-leaf her eyebrow,
How could it not be grief just to see them?
Plum and pear blossoms blown on spring winds
Maple trees ruined in rains of autumn.
Palaces neglected, filled with weeds and grasses,
Mounds of red leaves spilled on unswept stairways.

Burning the midnight light he could not sleep,
Bells and drums tolled the dark hours,
The Ocean of Heaven bright before dawn,
The porcelain mandarin birds frosted white,
The chill covers of kingfisher blue,
Colder and emptier, year by year.
And the loved spirit never returning.

A Taoist priest of Ling-chun rode the paths of Heaven,
He with his powerful mind knew how to reach the Spirits.
The Courtiers troubled by the Emperor’s grieving,
Asked the Taoist priest if he might find her.
He opened the sky-routes, swept the air like lightning,
Looked everywhere, on earth and in heaven,
Scoured the Great Void, and the Yellow Fountains,
But failed in either to find the one he searched for.
Then he heard tales of a magic island
In the Eastern Seas, enchanted, eternal,
High towers and houses in air of five colours,
Perfect Immortals walking between them,
Among them one they called The Ever Faithful,
With her face, of flowers and of snow.

She left her dreams, rose from her pillow,
Opened mica blind and crystal screen,
Hastening, unfastened, clouded hair hanging,
Her light cap unpinned, ran along the pavement.
A breeze in her gauze, flowing with her movement,
As if she danced ‘Feathered Coat and Rainbow Skirt’.
So delicate her jade face, drowned with tears of sadness,
Like a spray of pear flowers, veiled with springtime rain.

She asked him to thank her Love, her eyes gleaming,
He whose form and voice she lost at parting.
Her joy had ended in Courts of the Bright Sun,
Moons and dawns were long in Faerie Palace.
When she turned her face to look back earthwards
And see Ch’ang-an - only mist and dust-clouds.
So she found the messenger her lover’s gifts
With deep feeling gave him lacquer box, gold hairpin,
Keeping one half of the box, one part of the hairpin,
Breaking the lacquer, splitting the gold.

‘Our spirits belong together, like these precious fragments,
Sometime, in earth or heaven, we shall meet again.’
And she sent these words, by the Taoist, to remind him
of their midnight vow, secret between them.
‘On that Seventh night, of the Herdboy and the Weaver,
In the silent Palace we declared our dream was
To fly together in the sky, two birds on the same wing,
To grow together on the earth, two branches of one tree.’

Earth fades, Heaven fades, at the end of days.
But Everlasting Sorrow endures always.

Collector's Guide
Video screen captures pages
Ayupan pages
A complete discography

Back to the Main Page
Photo albums site
Feedback form
my professional site