Jonetsu Tairiku (情熱大陸) Part 2
Jonetsu Tairiku - Fukuyama Masaharu Special (2005.08.21) Vol. 362
Continued from here.
An 80 year old man, yet he still faces the camera just like a boy. His image is imprinted in Fukuyama’s heart.
F: It doesn’t matter whether the song is released or not, I just want to write it out, to work on what I want. That was the first time I could comprehend what it meant by amateur spirit. Looking at the way Sensei worked, it was the first time I truly understood what he meant by amateur spirit. Even if no-one signs me up now, even if I don’t have a contract, even if I’m forgotten by all, as long as I have a guitar at home, I’ll be sure to play with it sometimes. Then maybe I can write some songs, just because the weather is good today. And when I grow old and I have a wife and kids, because it’s a beautiful day and I’ve written a song, I’ll say to my wife and kids, ‘It’s a beautiful day, you want to hear my song?’ Maybe that’s how it’ll be.
Working as a pro among pros, but embracing the amateur spirit at all times.
June, Tokyo Bay area
Ueda Shoji passed away 5 years ago (2000). In April this year, for the purpose of the exhibition to be held in Ueda’s hometown, Fukuyama began to compose a song.
(At the recording studio)
F: I’ve got it. It’s not that hard.
The superstar with an audience of more than 200,000 in his concerts, is writing a song for just 1 man, repeatedly refining and polishing it.
F: Can you play Bar 11?
Working on the fine parts of the melody again and again, Fukuyama is just as whole-heartedly devoted as a boy.
July 14, Tottori Perfecture, Sakaiminato city
Prior to the exhibition, Fukuyama visits Ueda’s grave to pay his respects.
F: Good morning.
U: Thank you making the time to come! (Eldest daughter)
F: Oh it’s nothing.
He can’t remember since when, but Fukuyama has acknowledged Ueda’s resting place as his second hometown.
F: Do fans or cleaners come here?
U: People bring flowers. (Eldest daughter)
U: Each year around this time, there will be lots of flowers. (Third son)
F: I see.
U: You’ve written such a beautiful song for the exhibition.
F: No, not at all, it should have been better.
In more than 60 years of Ueda’s life as a photographer, he has always looked close-by for inspiration. Ordinary scenery, through Ueda’s lens, will resemble an incredible world come to life.
F: Let’s say, shady mountains….a common countryside view. To be able to turn a place with nothing striking into a work of art, you’ll need to maintain a sense of curiosity in whatever you see. For example, this shade here (points to corner of chair in front of him), how can we use our imagination to capture it in a picture? The more I associate with sensei, the more it makes me feel I am nothing but an ordinary man.
F: Honestly, yes. I am just an ordinary man. That’s it. I sense he is, without doubt, in a different league …. makes me feel a bit despondent (that there’s such a big gap). It’s the same with Music. When I hear other people’s songs, I’d frequently think they’re terrific…….(Honestly) What am I suitable for? I need to find what I am good at doing. I’d think, am I more suited to do something else instead?
Could it be because you’re taking on too many different activities?
F: Ah, I’m a jack of all trades but master of none.
I think you’re a success in whatever you do!
F: Hahaha! It’s only because I’m earning the money now.
No, no, I’m not talking about the money. Ohmura-san once said that Fukuyama-san is like a decathlon athlete. Of course, music is your fundamental strength, like say high jump - maybe you’re not the world record holder, but in addition to that, you get high marks (you’re a big success) in acting; photography; radio; appearance and the many other things you do.
Staff: Will we be able to break the world record in high jump (music) this year?
F: I don’t think that’s too possible….
F: I don’t have any areas that I excel in.
Ueda Shoji once said this of Fukuyama:
“I am very jealous of Fukuyama. Whenever I see him, I would get angry with myself when I was young. If only I had Fukuyama’s passion and earnestness at that time.”
Tottori Perfecture, Houki-cho
Ueda Shoji Museum of Photography
(These words were written) In the guest register of the exhibition held in the Ueda Shoji Museum of Photography.
HOMAGE, a tribute to Ueda Shoji
The exhibit is a collection of works by the 3 artists who were closely associated with Ueda Shoji. One of them is the well-known fashion designer Kikuchi Takeo. He designed the exhibition layout based on the song Fukuyama composed.
F: These pictures were taken during the concert tour (We’re Bros Tour ‘98).
1998, Tottori Perfecture, Yonago City
Endless images remain. Ueda specially meeting Fukuyama at the station in Tottori; inviting him to the local beach; tirelessly enjoying himself despite the strong sea winds and Ueda pressing the shutter non-stop. The entire photoshoot took no more than 20 minutes but he got unbelievable images.
F: I wasn’t aware of when that photo was taken. I asked about it thereafter. Apparently, I was daydreaming at that time and he just took the shot. I couldn’t imagine that such (impressive) pictures could have been taken at that time. He’s brilliant.
All the CDs with covers shot by Ueda went on to top the charts. In the press conference before the exhibition, Fukuyama’s composition “HOMAGE” was released via musical box. In his early days of success, when Fukuyama was at a loss on what to do, it was Ueda Shoji who nourished his heart. Perhaps, to the young Fukuyama who was questioning himself on how to proceed, the elderly photographer became a role model. Whether it was for singing, guitar playing or photography, as long as he was enjoying it from the bottom of his heart, that would be the right thing to do.
1998, Tottori Perfecture, Daisen Town
Fukuyama has frequently said, “Performing is not simply a procedure. There must be a clear goal (message) of what you want to show to people.” Happiness is when one has gained something in spirit.
Tottori Sand Dunes
The next day, the photoshoot for the magazine starts at 5am.
F: “Good Morning. Let’s try our best today. You’ve had to come here at 5am for our photoshoot too. Thank you.”
Magazine “Switch” Vol 2005.11 - Photoshoot and Interview
Although it was still Summer, he was in Autumn attire. It was very difficult, but there was not a word of complaint. An absolute professional feat. (”Thank you.”)
After a change of clothes, we are at the final interview of this programme. Before I started all these interviews, I had once thought: “Fukuyama is probably nothing more than just a good-looking face.”
F: All along, I have made my way through misunderstandings and mistruths. Isn’t Fukuyama like that? Isn’t he a country boy? Isn’t he someone who relies solely on his looks? Isn’t his singing pretty good? Isn’t he a really nice person? Isn’t he indeed the best? etc. It’s gradually going in the right direction!! See! Hahaha!! This continuous misunderstanding is probably part of the entertainment business too. At least I feel there are always good and bad parts to it.”
Thank you, OK! We’re done!
Whether or not the misunderstandings are resolved, he is not afraid to be misunderstood. Even when he is a pro among pros, as long as he retains an amateur spirit, that’s good enough.
(In the midst of his magazine interview)
F: …now we fully understand the scenery of the Tottori Sand Dunes…..the tourists are going to surge here…”
~ The End ~
Translated from Chinese subtitles in the video, with reference to Fukuyama Honne (Articles 106 & 113)
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)