Excerpts from Various Interviews
Zankyo 残響 - A collection of Masha’s thoughts on his hometown Nagasaki (3)
“Strictly speaking I haven’t done much for my hometown, but it would be good enough if more people have become interested in Nagasaki and start to like this place, because of me. As I am holding the photo exhibition, I could be of some use to Nagasaki at the same time, this alone has given me the greatest joy.”
It has been 10 years, since he has evolved from the model to the photographer. This year, for the first time, Fukuyama Masaharu will be holding his individual photo exhibition in his hometown Nagasaki, Japan. The exhibits will centre on his best work in the past 10 years. And the most striking of all, is a collection of photos known as “Reverberation” (残響 Zankyo). These are also the theme photos of the exhibition, taken mainly from the photos taken (by himself and of himself) when he went back to Nagasaki with photographer, Ohmura Katsumi.
“True, compared to the others, the Nagasaki photos are generally darker and more solemn. How did it turn out that way? Even I felt it was a bit incredible myself. I had no negative feelings when I took them. To this, Ohmura-san made a revealing comment: ‘It must have been because you were born and grew up in this city, so you experienced a lot of your “first pains” here.’
For example, when we hurt each other from those past conflicts with our family and friends; from wounds of lost love……As we journey through life, many of our “first pains” are left in our hometown, and this is what we see in my pictures. Perhaps, when we were in our teens and twenties, our wounds were not fully healed and we were not able to face them in earnest. But with the passing of time, as the days I spend in Tokyo slowly outnumber those in Nagasaki, I have come to treasure these sorrowful memories, these frustrations and pains of my hometown. They are like old friends to me now.
I can finally look at the ache and bitterness; the wounds and solemnity shown in my pictures. They are all very precious to me. These are my true feelings.”
~ Excerpt from “With” Magazine Vol. 2008.06 (2008.04.26) ~
When I was looking at the Photo Stage III Exhibition, I also felt that Masha looked so serious in the Nagasaki photos…. Why? What happened to his smile? I guess we all have to go through setbacks and bad times to make our life worthwhile. The important thing is not to segregate ourselves from others because of this, but to give ourselves the opportunity to grow and to reflect on our decisions, though the process. This is what I believe.
Your reason for using Nagasaki as the background for your photos?
Why I wanted to take pictures of Nagasaki and have my pictures taken there……..? Well, since I left Nagasaki to live in Tokyo, the time I spend in Tokyo is increasing all the time, compared to my days in Nagasaki. I really wanted to look once more at the place of my roots, my base, my hometown which made me into what I am. I wanted to capture them on film. That’s why I started the photo-shoot in Nagasaki.
Can you say something to the effect of “Please come and visit us”?
Please tell everyone that it’s not just Kumamoto’s Keika Ramen that’s tasty, Nagasaki’s Champon* is very scrumptious too! (laugh)
You’ve been appointed “Hometown Ambassador”
I’ve always treated myself as the “Hometown Ambassador” even before then (laugh). It’s just that I have been given the title this time. From now onwards, I hope to be telling everyone through all the radio and TV stations; all the magazines and related media that “Nagasaki is a great place, come and see for yourself!”
You came to Tokyo when you were 18. Now, 21 years later, what do you feel about Nagasaki?
Nagasaki is a city which is very respectful to its dead. The Shoro Nagashi** is celebrated with a lot of pomp, big drums, fireworks, and parades…..it’s a very dangerous traditional ceremony where the float bearers could easily get hurt. The dead are sent on their way amid the noise and festivities. At the same time, during the festival of souls, don’t they hang lanterns out in the cemeteries to help the lost souls find their way back? I find that a city which has this tradition of doing such things for their departed, is a very kind and affectionate place.
Do you think of Nagasaki differently now?
This is the place where I was born and grew up after all. There won’t be just happy memories…. sad and unpleasant recollections I have plenty!
Like now, I may look good on screen when I greet everyone with my “Hello, I’m Fukuyama”, because backstage staff have put makeup on me and helped me dress in style. But deep under, many unpleasant memories still remain, shameful unpresentable memories…. Unpresentable is not as bad, I can still recall times when I had caused others great trouble, or pain……My hometown embodies all of my past.
Even though I can start again and work on it again, I can’t ignore what’s happened and pretend it never occurred! No-one else will understand what we did in the past as clearly as we ourselves, and that’s why (whenever I think about it / whenever I go back to Nagasaki) I feel really embarrassed!
Commonalities among the roles of Photographer, Singer and Actor
They’re different in every aspect, um…. If there really is a commonality, that would be to inspire and move people’s hearts. If you don’t feel touched yourself, you cannot move forward. You press the shutter because you feel inspired (by what you see); you write words that you could not voice out into your lyrics, because you are moved by them. I think it depends on whether I can feel that emotion myself. If so, I can express it through my pictures, through my music.
~ “Zoom In” TV Interview (2008.04.05 and 07) ~
* Champon is a popular specialty noodle dish in Nagasaki.
** Held in the evening of Aug 15 every year, the festival of Shoro Nagashi (the Floating Lanterns Festival) is celebrated all over the city. It is a tradition in Nagasaki that, on the first Obon (August 15) following the death of a family member, the family places the soul of the deceased into a boat and sends it on a voyage to paradise. People pay homage to deceased loved ones by parading the boats (floats used in memorial services) through the streets before launching them out onto the open sea, accompanied by fireworks.
Whenever I reminisce about Nagasaki, not only the images but the sounds also appear in my mind. Like the rickety clanking of the street trams; the music of my junior high brass band practicing on the school roof….I could remember many of the things I did in my youth very well, because it was the first time I tried them. About 10% were good memories …….. as for the rest, rather than call them unhappy, they were more like things that I had done which unintentionally caused other people trouble and pain. Like hurting my friends even when I didn’t mean to; or not getting along well with my girlfriend…..In my entire life, the first time I felt shame, was in my hometown – Nagasaki.
In Junior High, there was one teacher he would never forget – the Brass Band teacher, Gen Sensei (原先生)
During the Inasa-yama Live in year 2000, I wanted to ask Gen Sensei to write something for me. When the staff contacted him, they found that I had written his name wrong all along, really…..(laugh)
In the band’s morning rooftop practices before school, Fukuyama-san would always be very early. He would hit the bottoms of any members who were late (with a stick). “That was a rule brought down from before. I didn’t want to punish them, I had only wanted to follow and keep to tradition at that time. (Now I think about it…)”
In the concert brochure for the 17nen mono We’re Bros Tour, there was a picture of Masha standing in front of the “Precious Gems Kindergarten” (寶珠幼稚園) gazing at the cherry blossoms. That was a very precious photo to the kindergarten.
“What was I thinking when I was looking at the cherry blossoms?…… I felt that a lot of the scenery we see now, will fade away one day. That’s why, before they disappear, I wanted to preserve on paper the places where I had my most memories. One memory of the kindergarten, was the time when there was a school hiking trip, the type that needed to camp overnight. I couldn’t go because I had diarrhoea, that’s wasn’t a happy memory, but it doesn’t mean that all my Nagasaki recollections were awful.
~ Various Photo Stage III Interviews ~
“With” Magazine post translated from Fukuyama Honne (Article 998), with reference to the Chinese “With” Magazine Vol. 2008.06. Many thanks to beautifuldays of discuss.com.hk for sharing.
Other posts translated from Fukuyama Honne (Article 886 & 916)
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)