‘The bird, the tree, the bell and the fish of Glasgow’

Glasgow’s coat of arms is associated with an enigmatic rhyme, as follows:

The bird that never flew
The tree that never grew
The bell that never rang
The fish that never swam

What does this rhyme mean?  There are Christian messages behind it, but, more interestingly, this rhyme allows a variety of alternative interpretations. For example, in this documentary, Jan Kaukas, a Taichi teacher, provides his own unique interpretation.  The rhyme may be seen as the symbol of inclusive Glasgow.


Camera: Fumi Nakabachi
Editing adviser: Hajime Kobayashi
Directed and edited by: Yushin Toda
33 minutes
In English
Produced by Fumi Nakabachi and Yushin Toda
©Japan Desk Scotland 2014


This is part of Japan Desk Scotland’s ‘Documentary film production‘.

The documentary has been screened:

(1) on Saturday 21 June 2014 at GZO Peace Institute, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, The Philippines;

(2) on Thursday 10 July 2014 at Faculty of Administration and Social Sciences, Fukushima University, Fukushima, Japan, as part of Comparative Culture Lecture Series;

(3) on Thursday 25 September 2014 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2014/15;

(4) on Friday 23 January 2015 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2014/15;

(5) on Wednesday 10 June 2015 at University of Glasgow Chaplaincy as part of ‘Here and there (seven documentaries) organised by the Chaplaincy and Japan Desk Scotland;

(6) on Wednesday 2 September 2015 at Department of Japanese Language and Literature, University of Bucharest, Romania, as part of ‘Washi (Japanese paper)’ workshop;

(7) on Tuesday 14 June 2016 in the Interfaith Room, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, as part of ‘Intangible legacies‘ event jointly organised by University of Glasgow Chaplaincy and Japan Desk Scotland. The event was part of the West End Festival;

(8) on Thursday 14 July 2016 at Oshima National College of Maritime Technology, Yamaguchi, Japan;

(9) on Wednesday 12 October 2016 at University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japan@Strathclyde 2016/2017; and

(10) on Tuesday 8 November 2016 at University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of say hello to Inclusive Glasgow, Inclusive Scotland.