This lovely, traditional Korean song is >600 years old. The refrain Ariyang… is apparently nonsensical. There are many versions of the lyrics reflecting love, loss, resistance and patriotism.
Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo…
Crossing over Arirang Pass.
The one who abandoned me
Shall not walk even 4 kilometers before their feet hurt.
Just as there are many stars in the clear sky,
There are also many dreams in our heart.
There, over there, that mountain is Baekdu Mountain,
Where, even in the middle of winter days, flowers bloom.
The tune has been sung by Korean guerrillas in Manchuria fighting Imperial Japanese forces, heart-broken patriots in Chosen (Korea) under Japanese rule and wistful, modern day Koreans North and South.
Most interesting, is that people in Imperial Japan also loved the song and recorded many versions.
Source: Arirang – Wikipedia
Arirang is revered in both North and South Korea and is a bittersweet expression of love of country. Here is a North Korean version~
Here is a modern South Korean version~
What a universal song. Even the U.S. Marines sing it!