2006-10-06

"Three little maids from school are we."

Gilbert O'Sullivan wrote a comic opera called The Mikado back in 1885, using the exotic locale of Japan as an excuse to parody British society. I stumbled across a Gilbert & Sullivan site and it is rich with lyrics and organ accompaniment, just ripe for your own humming along or Karaoke attempts. When I started listening to and reading the songs I was taken aback by the racism & ignorance until I realised that it was a choice satire of British society of the day.



The characters' names are particularly non-Japanese names which was my first hint that something was amiss.
The Mikado of Japan (帝 or 御門--a dated term for "Emperor of Japan.")
Nanki-Poo, His Son (baby talk for "handkerchief".)
Ko-Ko, The Lord High Executioner (my friend's ex-girlfriend is Koko!)
Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else (Pooh-bah refers to Pompous without Authority.)
Pish-Tush, A Noble Lord (Pish-tosh is an upper class comment of condescension.)
Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, and Peep-Bo, Wards of Ko-Ko (Delicious, Pity-sing, Bo-Peep?)
Katisha, An Elderly lady.

Check out the Mikado website for yourself. Hum or sing along and get wrapped up in the grandeur of late-19th century Japan (erm-England.)

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