“Flowering” by TK from 凛として時雨: A Story About Grief and Mourning

Flowering is one of my favorite albums of all time. Toru Kitajima, from J-Rock band 凛として時雨 (Rin Toshite Sigure), is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Japanese lyricists and musicians of the modern era. Best known for “Unravel” the first opening theme for the Tokyo Ghoul anime, he writes songs about the human condition, and what makes someone human.

The first song in Flowering is “Flower” (linked below)

 “Flower” portrays the initial loss. It is a very reminiscent song, with lyrics such as (loosely translated, not perfect) “My past brightened when I met you” and “I live in a colorful dream-world I don’t want to end”. This song also, as shown in the second line quoted, deals with the denial stage of grief. Overall, this is my second-favorite song in the entire album. 

Next, we have “Abnormal Trick”.

“Abnormal Trick” delves deeper into denial. The mourner does not want to accept the truth. This is shown with lyrics such as “Still hiding? What looked like secrets (don’t change) have pierced me” and “You can’t wake me up, me up/although someday I won’t be blamed for my sins,/Will I exist within?” . It, however, begins to fade into a form of acceptance with the line “Like a fool, I can’t change/Are the wonders destroyed by the unchangeable me still here? I want to see/I can’t wake me up, me up, me up” as the mourner begins to wish for freedom from their self-imposed catatonic state.

After this, comes the song “Haze” (linked below is the Egomaniac Feedback version, though it’s the same song.) 

This song is about the hatred towards the world can feel when grieving. It showcases a sense of apathy. This can be found as early as the first stanza:

Somebody’s tears that fell from the sky
I don’t have any kindness to give to anyone
If you were to be consumed by darkness
Will a millimeter of me even glow?
Smile
 

This stanza seems to portray a sense of both derealization and apathy. It is likely that the tears referenced are the singers own, and the line “I don’t have any kindness to give anyone” speaks for itself in terms of portraying apathy. It also delves into how people who are grieving feel like they’re losing everything around them. This is shown in the third stanza:

Becoming lost while reminiscing
Losing everything that I touch
Everything is becoming shrouded by fog; I won’t hide anymore

However, the song shines a bit of hope with the fifth stanza, as TK sings:

There is no way I can change the world
But I can cut through the darkness

 

This portrays a sense of willpower. Even though one cannot regain what is lost, you can move forward with your life and be happy again.

After this comes the song “Phase to Phrase”:

This song portrays a sense of fault within the singer, and the idea that they are the reason everything is out of control. This is emphasized with the lyrics of the song:

A rotating phrase, I counted the motion1
It’s close enough to start pretending
There’s no turning back from lies
I become the disorder that draws close
Nobody wants themselves to be seen
Nobody wants themselves to be known
There’s no pain, nor sadness, and yet, and yet
What they don’t want others to know are frozen inside
What they don’t want others to know are killed inside
But then it all may disappear
Everybody could become, everybody could become, and yet, and yet
I become disorder

 

The singer says that everybody could become anything, and, despite his efforts, he becomes a chaos he cannot control. I believe that this is the peak of the self-loathing that can occur with grief. This song represents the upmost limit of his hatred for himself.

Next comes one of my favorite songs, “White Silence”:

This is the softest lyrical song in the album. It features Shione Yukawa for a portion of the song. This song is from a different perspective than the rest of the album, and is from the POV of the deceased. The song urges the mourner to move on. Showcased in the lyrics:

Remember them, the words you’ve forgotten
Don’t look for me, because I’m no longer here
I’ve been swept away
 

This is a stark contrast from the rest of the album, as oftentimes the singer refers to “you” in reference to being lost, instead of “I”. This song represents a transition into the next stage of the song, and the mourners life.

After this is “12th Laser”:

This song seems to be looking back on the previous songs. Once again in the perspective of the mourner, the song portrays the helplessness they felt when the person they are mourning first died. This is the first case of healing being shown.

Example lyrics for this are:

My heart couldn’t understand, a picture drawn by my left hand
The unconveyable color of sadness
A laser of memories beyond is shining through
I could not escape

The first stanza (shown above) portrays the idea that they were trapped, and “could not escape”. The thing keeping them trapped was their inability to allow themselves to heal and move on.

“Film a Moment” the fifth song in the album, is another song that focuses on looking back.

It both looks back on the time when the deceased was still alive, and once again at the period of time that the mourner was at their worst. It discusses the way that time had felt like it stopped. The song also portrays the struggle between wanting to remember the precious moments forever and wanting to forget them completely. This is shown in the lyrics:

The you that I long for isn’t there
Perhaps there are no such miracles
film A moment, Fill the moment, Kill the moment
 
The world I hold in my hands is expressionless and silent
I want to see what lies beyond. Could I kill the future?
 
A finger, a dimly lit ghost of what’s left of you, turning red
If only I could steal the future you have filmed
Gently the secret signal floats away. You are laughing
 
Without emotion, blatant fiction
If only the future could be stolen
 
Memories are shining through, we met in a dream
Shining through, we met in a dream
And so, I wrote my name
 
I have become like time, will someone restore me?
Is that what I want?

 

The song feels almost like a blur, both musically and lyrically. The singer portrays a desperateness to become “whole” again; a desire to finally move on from their grief. However, they struggle to balance the happy memories and their future. This is what causes that “time freeze”.

The 8th song, “Daylily”, has no lyrics.

The daylily flower is a flower of many meanings, but the one most thematically correct would most likely be “forgetfulness and loss of memory”. It is a decision to forget everything and move on that way. A “bad” ending, though it’s not entirely over yet. It’s merely a step in the process.

After this comes the song “Fourth”.

This song is filled with a sense of yearning. The singer shows their desire to talk to the person they lost again, to experience the good times. The lyrics show this:

The sound of your footsteps echoed inside of me
What I found was something you hid at night – a secret song
 
Wishes made again and again in the night, can you see them?
Inside the night, you wouldn’t stop…letting go
 
The sound of the night’s wind…was so faint
Still unknown, the immeasurable light
Find it
The light in those hands
 
Listen to the sound that could be seen in those eyes
Tell me what could be seen in those eyes
 
These tears may go away if we can meet in the sorrowful night
The light that you carry All of it, all of it, all of it, all of it
Gather it…in those hands
Thereby the stars, are you smiling?

 

It is not desperate or rushed. It is filled with a sense of acceptance and finality. The singer understands that they cannot regain what is lost, but they have finally accepted it. They’ve realized that moving on is not forgetting, but living on in their name. It is bittersweet, filled with a sense of joy, yet also an understanding that it’s all over.

Finally, “Sound_am326 (Secret Track)”.

Once again a song with no lyrics, it is instead filled with acoustic guitar and piano. Reminiscent of all of the previous songs, namely “White Silence”, it represents a finality. It was made to be the closing track for the album, and fills that role excellently. It portrays all of the difficult feelings of mourning and moving on without a single word being sung. 

This is, as I’ve stated before, one of my favorite albums of all time. Toru Kitajima did a phenomenal job with the composition and portrays the story of a person in mourning wonderfully. The title is very fitting, as the album tells a sort of “coming of age” story about accepting ones emotions and learning to feel again after a severe loss.

Thank you all for reading! Next time, I’ll be covering the album White Noise, and the story it tells.

All translations initially found on Lyrics Translations (lyricstranslate.com) 

Author: Matthew McLain

Read the blog, not the Bio.

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