Journey Home

Journey Home was commissioned by the Voices of Birralee especially for the Pemulwuy Male Voice Festival 2008, premièred by the Spooky Men’s Chorale.

On the night of the 31st May, 1942 three Japanese midget submarines made a daring wartime raid on Sydney Harbour. Two were discovered and eliminated before striking but the third sub M24 managed to fire two torpedoes. The first fizzled out and ran aground, however the second struck the Garden Island wall just below the HMAS Kuttabul, killing 19 Australians and two British navy personnel. The submarine then escaped out to sea, never to be seen again.1338167709067

In November 2006 a team of weekend diving mates, the ‘No Frills Divers’ discovered the wreck in the dark waters 70 meters below the surface off the coast of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. They had been dreaming about finding the missing M24 for 25 years and together had solved one of the great Australian maritime mysteries. Not long after, a special service was held in the waters above the war grave where Sub Lieutenant Katsuhisa Ban and Petty Officer Mamoru Ashibe still remained. For their families, brothers and sisters from Japan, this was a long awaited chance to say their first goodbye.

This piece speaks of the journey home for these two officers, free after sixty years. As flowers are cast into the sea, the spirits of the men are set free. Along the way, the influence of nature and the elements play a part in a form of reflection, realisation and reconciliation. The journey ends upon one of the sacred mountains where they can leave the past and go into the next life. Grounded in the forms of Zen Buddhism, ‘Journey Home’ pays homage to the writing of Basho, one of the great Japanese Haiku poets.

This is a wonderful version by the superb Adelaide Festival Statesmen

Audio Sample from the world premier 2008, sung by the Spooky Men’s Chorale


Sing a global story Sing a history Sing a message Sing an Australian story Sing for an eisteddfod
Duration 4:20
Key Multiple modulations
Range Low D for basses to High A for tenors
More info Features harmonic singing and Japanese spoken word
Price AU$3.00 per copy


J O U R N E Y   H O M E                       
By Paul Jarman

Kyodia to shimai ga
Umi no soko de nemuru tamishii wo yobi ni
Saisho de saigo no sayonara wo iini
Yatte kita

Flowers drift upon golden sea
Rolling with the waves
Memories fade into red sun
Along the journey home

Follow the long road north
Riding with the tides
Bright moon lights the path
Along the journey home

Recalling distant dreams
Tracing ancient stains
The waters rise and fall
Along the journey home

Chasing clouds crossing time
Dancing on the wind
Breathing life into lost years
Along the journey home

Wash onto native land
Connecting with the sand
Taste the earth, be reborn
Along the journey home

Climb the sacred mountain
Finding endless peace
Pass from death into life
Along the journey home

© Paul Jarman 2008