TV Anniversarist (Fuji TV Mezamashi)
Interview with TV Anniversarist (2005.03.21) Episode 1
I: Interviewer F: Masha
I: This may sound abrupt but what did you do on the day of your debut?
F: I moved house on that day. Before my debut, I was getting JPY80,000 a month. Once my debut was confirmed, it was raised to JPY150,000. I felt I could live on my own now.
It was 15 years ago today on 03.21 that Fukuyama Masaharu debuted. Showing his talents across different channels in music, TV, CM and radio. Giving his all in whatever he does. Now finally, he can talk freely about his past 15 years.
The TV Anniversarist 2005 - a special interview with artists celebrating their debut anniversaries in 2005 - episode 1
Fukuyama Masaharu, 36 years old, born in Nagasaki.
He came to Tokyo at 18 to become a rock musician. Debuted in 1990, he is now an established model of the singer-songwriter in Japan.
19 singles, 8 albums
Starting with the Yokohama Arena, he is now in a Nationwide Arena Tour to commemorate his 15th anniversary. His last concert tour was 5 years ago.
5 hours before showtime
There is something he must do every time before the audience arrives for a show. He will look at the stage from the very last row of the auditorium.
F: I’ve always wondered if so many people will really come….(on stage) Be careful, we’re on the stage now. This is what it feels like from here. This is where we show our stuff to the audience. It’s very different from this perspective compared to what the audience sees. To understand how they would feel, I need to go (to the last row) every time before I can do the show.
Can he successfully perform from the audience perspective which he cares about so much?
So, with all concert venues promptly sold out, why did Fukuyama Masaharu specify the Yokohama Arena for our interview?
F: I didn’t have many jobs when I debuted. Once I was outside (the Yokohama Arena) and I thought “Wow, some people can really hold a concert in this (humungous) venue? It would be great if I could do it some day too.” This was the place. This was my field of dreams.
This dream is finally realized and confirms Fukuyama-san’s superstar status. But what caught my attention was the caption that was used back then for his debut album - イナカモン バイ (Rustic). So what does he think?
F: I really don’t know if that was good or bad, I just felt the caption wasn’t exactly kakkoi (cool).
I: It must have been hard during the long time before you could get a hit.
F: I guess it was more a feeling of not wanting to lose, rather than going for sales.
Even a star like Fukuyama Masaharu had his down-and-out time and now he can finally tell us about the extraordinary hard work during the 4 years prior to achieving stardom. In 1994, his single “It’s Only Love” finally put him in the league with 1 million copies sold.
I: But it’s not been plain sailing all the way, has it?
F: When you can’t sell, people will always put it on the artist. At first, they may say this and that about the promotion methods, how other artists are the same, but in the end, it’s always back to : “You’ll just have to write better songs…”. There is no escape. Whatever you may say, the answer would be “But it didn’t sell, did it?” So, to rid of all excuses, I could only rely on myself to find out just where I was not good enough. I’d heard that someone had written a brilliant song after working on it 3 days non-stop without sleep… so I tried it…. Literally passed out on the 3rd day!
I: Under normal circumstances, nobody would be able to function by that time.
F: Didn’t work. Doesn’t work. I tried everything in order to make a good melody. Someone told me that drinking helps, so I did and fell asleep right after.
As a result of his hard work, in 1995 his fifth year, the single “Hello” sold 2 million copies. Then, the release of “Heaven” in 1999 further diversified his range of music and in 2000, “Sakurazaka” sold a record 2.5 million copies. Born from his experience living around Sakurazaka, this hit single drew in crowds of couples to visit the place, making it a tourist spot in itself.
And next, the incident that happened as he was stirring up his audience in the concert .
F: I was clapping the rhythm with my hands over my head. The front row audience were pointing at me, agitated and screaming. And I thought, “Wow, the mood is really good today.”
Then I looked down and found my pants were unzipped. So every time I had moved my body to the rhythm, my fly would open and close to the beat like “Paku…Paku… Paku…”
The actor Fukuyama Masaharu
1993, playing the role of Second Brother in Fuji TV’s Hitotsu Yane no Shita, gave him a head start
1992, starring across Ogata Ken (緒形拳) in TBS’ Ai wa Doda. Will he continue his role as a actor?
I: Ogata Ken-san has a message for you, to congratulate you on your 15th anniversary.
O: He gives me the impression that he’s really good with the ladies. Once I asked him if he had never been dumped before. “Hai”, he said. I was amazed. He’s found his own unique style (of acting?) now and I’ll need to consult with him.
F: What are you talking about??!!
I: Never been dumped? “Hai.”
F: I was obviously kidding!
I: Oh there must be some truth to it…
F: Not true at all! If someone asks you such a question and you say “Nope, never”, it’s obviously a bluff right?
The motivation that has kept him going for the past 15 years is …his fears.
F: I always dream about the audience leaving….before my concerts (having the dream)…”Fukuyama is a joke, no good at all.” Then they’d go.
I: Do you still have this dream?
F: Yes. That’s why I want to work so hard, because I worry a lot.
I: Give us an example of what you would worry about in daily life.
F: I would never have the washing machine on when I’m taking a bath.
F: It’ll be nasty if the water comes out……I’m a neurotic and an alarmist.
A: Neurotic too?
F: Mr. Neurotic, Mr. Alarmist, Mr. Suspicion. So, no-one wants to marry me now.
Let’s talk about (the song) “Freedom”. This is something Fukuyama-san thinks about too.
F: When I think about what to do in my 15th year, I see a lot of things that I want to be rid of (released from)…..I’d sometimes wish for that….. to have the freedom of spirit as a normal member of society….if I can find it… I’d like to live on with that freedom.
~ The End ~
After the interview, the commentators in Mezamashi were very impressed that Masha had been so open and intimate in his talk. They called him down-to-earth, cool, kakkoi and very charming. The interviewer said Masha was very nice and talked for 1hr 40 mins with him. He was really happy that Masha was so frank and willing to divulge his fears and weaknesses. He went on to show pictures from Masha’s Photo Book (him in glasses, sitting cross-legged on the floor & looking at his guitar), describing hims as unpretentious and straightforward.
Translated from Chinese subtitles on the video. Many thanks to Bobo the original Chinese translator.
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)