Winter's cityside
Crystal bits of snowflakes
All around my head and in the wind
I had no illusions
That I'd ever find a glimpse
Of summer's heatwaves in your eyes

You did what you did to me
Now it's history, I see
Here's my comeback on the road again
Things will happen while they can
I will wait here for my man tonight
It's easy when you're big in Japan

Oh, when you're big in Japan, tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, ooh, the eastern sea's so blue
Big in Japan, alright
Pay, then I'll sleep by your side
Things are easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan

Neon on my naked skin, passing silhouettes
Of strange illuminated mannequins
Shall I stay here at the zoo
Or should I go and change my point of view
For other ugly scenes
You did what you did to me
Now it's history I see
Things will happen while they can
I will wait here for my man tonight

It's easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan, tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, ooh the eastern sea's so blue
Big in Japan, alright
Pay, then I'll sleep by your side
Things are easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan
Tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, ooh the eastern sea's so blue
Big in Japan, alright
Pay, then I'll sleep by your side
Things are easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan

Oh, when you're big in Japan, tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, ooh the eastern sea's so blue
Big in Japan, alright
Pay, then I'll sleep by your side
Things are easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan
Tonight
Big in Japan, be tight
Big in Japan, ooh the eastern sea's so blue
Big in Japan, alright
Pay, then I'll sleep by your side
Things are easy when you're big in Japan
Oh, when you're big in Japan


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by sharon2996, cborg

Big in Japan Lyrics as written by Frank Mertens Bernhard Lloyd

Lyrics © TuneCore Inc., BMG Rights Management, Downtown Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Big In Japan song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +11
    Song Meaning

    In a 1998 interview with the German online magazine Re.flexion, Alphaville lead signer Marian Gold explained: "I must admit the only ones who understood the meaning of the song correctly were Bernhard (Lloyd) and our then publisher Andy Budde. Bernhard recognized the quality of the song and Andy the ability of its marketing. 'Big In Japan' tells about a couple of lovers trying to get off Heroin. They both imagine how great it would be to love without the drug: no steal, no clients, no ice age in the pupil, real emotions, true worlds. Till nowadays Berlin station Zoo is an important meeting place for junkies. That's why this place became a venue of the song. In 1977 I was quite regular in a club in Kreuzberg, the SO36. I hoped to meet David Bowie. There was the rumor he would be in Berlin for withdrawal treatment in that period. There was a fellow, who sold stuff of independent bands from US and UK. I bought the album of a British band named Big In Japan. "Big in Japan" meant so much as if you are nothing in your environs, you can be big somewhere else. You can be a king in another world. And if you aren't that, you can tell it at home. Japan is so far away. Anyway that statement fit perfectly to the story of the couple of lovers. So I used it for the refrain of the song. It was strange: as we released the song later, Frankie Goes To Hollywood was the #1 in the charts with "Relax" and we needed some weeks to edge them out. And Holly Johnson, the singer of the band, was the singer of this band "Big in Japan," who I stole the line some years ago, before he came to Frankie Goes To Hollywood."

    Cr7NeTwOrKon January 19, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    In a 1998 interview with the German online magazine Re.flexion, Alphaville lead signer Marian Gold explained: 'Big In Japan' tells about a couple of lovers trying to get off Heroin. They both imagine how great it would be to love without the drug: no steal, no clients, no ice age in the pupil, real emotions, true worlds. Till nowadays Berlin station Zoo is an important meeting place for junkies. That's why this place became a venue of the song. In 1977 I was quite regular in a club in Kreuzberg, the SO36. I hoped to meet David Bowie. There was the rumor he would be in Berlin for withdrawal treatment in that period. There was a fellow, who sold stuff of independent bands from US and UK. I bought the album of a British band named Big In Japan. "Big in Japan" meant so much as if you are nothing in your environs, you can be big somewhere else. You can be a king in another world. And if you aren't that, you can tell it at home. Japan is so far away. Anyway that statement fit perfectly to the story of the couple of lovers. So I used it for the refrain of the song.

    k40t1xon June 15, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    When I first heard it in '84 I assumed it was a bout a businessman visiting Japan and then having a good time in the evenings with drugs and prostitution.

    CharmingManon April 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    It's confusing because you hear a male singing "I will wait here for my man tonight", and also "pay, and I'll sleep by your side" so it's easy to think of male prostitution. That could just be the male lead singer singing from the point of the woman in the song though.

    SWLinPHXon March 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    i'm surprised that something that i thought i knew for sure from 80's that is under consideration. Well guys, my opinion about the meaning of the song is that is about prostitution, not male, but regular female prostitution. Everybody who's more than 50 years old, knows that in 80's while you were nobody at US or europe, you were somebody very importand in japan, just for the reason that you are from west, due to the maddness of japaness for the west culture. This phenomenon happened to many aspects of the socity, from the rock bands up το hookers. Hundreds of girls where exported from europe and US in order to became anonymus whores for few days or weeks in japan and come back home a little bit more rich. In 80s a couple of hours with a beautifull european or US girl was several hundreds of dollars. That is the real meaning of the song Big in Japan...

    nioon May 10, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Male prostitution? I really wouldn't know. I can only tell you: it's easy, easy when you're big in Japan.

    [inactive account]on May 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think this song is about male prostitution as well.

    monkeymoogleon December 22, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Eventually, I listened my 20-year-long-best live in Istanbul last month! There was a naked Asian young lady cartoon on the stage. So it should be related with sexuality.

    Burentoon January 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    According to Marian Gold (who wrote the song), Big in Japan is about a couple he knew who were trying to quit drugs. There's an interview somewhere on the net where he explains exactly what "Big in Japan" means in that context. There may also be an element of literal prostitution (rather than just the figurative) in the song as well. Hope that helps.

    The Knaveon April 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    since I First listened to this song, the lyrics and the fact that is played by two german bands, I've always thought it was inspired by the book "Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo", the story of a girl who became a junkie, and a prostitute to support the addiction.

    hmdomingoson September 13, 2006   Link

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