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1887 - 1952

Nakayama was born in present-day city of Nakano, Nagano prefecture in 1887. After graduation from Tokyo School of Music (now Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), he taught at an elementary school in Asakusa, Tokyo, until 1922. He won praise as a composer for his "Kachusha no uta" [Katyusha's Song], a song performed in a play written by Shimamura Hogetsu on the basis of Tolstoy's Resurrection. He produced a total of 2,000 melodies, including some 800 children's songs. Among his best known songs, still favorites today, are "Sendo kouta" [The Boatman's Ballad; lyrics by Noguchi Ujo] and "Tokyo ondo" [Tokyo Refrain; lyrics by Saijo Yaso). In 1919 he published his first children's song, "Utsukushii ohayoo" [Beautiful Good Morning], in Shogaku josei [Elementary School Girl], followed by many songs in a number of children's magazines, including Kin no fune [The Golden Ship; later, Kin no hoshi (The Golden Star)] and Kodomo no kuni [Children's Land]. His best known children's songs include "Shabondama" [Bubbles], "Nanatsu no ko" [The Crow's Seven Chicks], and "Shojoji no tanuki bayashi" [Racoon Dogs Dancing at Shojoji Temple]. Starting with "Shitakiri suzume" [The Tongue-cut Sparrow] for the August 1922 issue, he wrote children's songs for almost every issue of Kodomo no kuni until 1938.