ANN Tamashii no Radio - Nagasaki: Part 1
Zankyo 残響 - A collection of Masha’s thoughts on his hometown Nagasaki (4)
ANN TamaRadi Blog:
Photo Stage I ～記憶の箱庭～ (Kioku no Hakoniwa, Miniature Garden of Memories)
Photo Stage II ～出会いの記憶～ (Deai no Kioku, Recollections of Encounters)
Photo Stage III ～残響～ (Zankyo, Reverberations)
Compared with the previous titles, this one projected a totally different feeling. Why did Fukuyama-san choose this theme? We had a hearty discussion about it in last week’s Tamaraji.
F: “In the 18th year after I left Nagasaki for Tokyo, I really wanted to go back and take some pictures. The city had been slowly changing and this could only mean that the skeleton which had shaped me in my first 18 years, was slowly disappearing too. Compared with the time that I had spent in Tokyo, those first 18 years had contributed a lot more (to my growth) in all aspects. I felt a sense of loss and restlessness whenever I thought of my roots and familiar scenery fading away!”
It seemed that as the number of years spent in Tokyo caught up with the time spent in Nagasaki, his desire to keep something as reminiscence of his hometown, became stronger and stronger.
F: “As the old familiar scenery vanishes, so will my memories and my roots. Without them, I would feel very insecure as I grow older. In order to be able to capture my “roots”, I acted on a strong instinctive urge and went back a couple of times to take pictures. I wanted to share them in this exhibition and hence the name Zankyo.”
And while he passionately talked about the photos, Fukuyama-san’s expression looked quite different from the earlier half of the broadcast when he was teaching us about AVs. But then he said,
F: “Of course, another reason for displaying these photos was for publicity. We’ve got to show people something!……I think this is going to be quite a good photo exhibition, also ‘Nagasaki is a great place, come and see for yourself!’ As a promoter of Nagasaki, I want to do something for her.”
~ Extract from ANN Tamashii no Radio Blog (2008.03.19) ~
I never got the chance to attend his previous photo exhibitions, finally I can go this time (Photostage III), with an added plus that it is held in Masha’s hometown. When I made the decision to go, I didn’t know that Masha would be returning to his hometown for the opening as well. I’m so excited!
I remember Masha had said that whenever he goes back to Nagasaki, he prefers to walk home. That is because he can’t stand the fact that taxi drivers will automatically drive him to his house, without him needing to say anything. That’s really true! All I needed to do (on previous visits), was to tell the taxi drivers to go to Fukuyama Masaharu’s home, no address needed, it was so convenient ^^
ANN Tamashii no Radio live:
It actually took us 3 years to take all those pictures in Nagasaki. When I turned 36 and the time I spent in Tokyo started to outnumber my days in Nagasaki, I felt I really needed to reconfirm my roots and to look again at the Fukuyama Masaharu who was created in this place. But everything I knew here was gradually falling apart or vanishing. Will my memories fade away together with those places and scenery? It was a very loney and uncomfortable feeling for me. So I had to do something about it.
As a musician, I could remember all the different types of “sounds” as well - the street trams; the sirens of the Atomic Bombing Memorial Day; the music we played in the Live House…. All these scenes have stayed on in my heart.
In the exhibition this time, we have a set of pictures taken on Hashima Island (端島) i.e. Gunkanshima. Hashima Island was originally a coal mining community and had Japan’s first ever concrete building. There were pachinko shops and public bath halls underground….. With the closing of the coal mines in 1974, the residents have since moved off and it has now become a restricted area.* Having weathered the passage of time, only ruins are left now. It’s like a symbol of the industrial heritage of modern Japan. At that time, coal was a very valuable commodity, hence a lot of people and technological resources were assembled there. When this cherished energy resource was replaced, the people gradually left, leaving behind a hard skeleton…..very much like the rise and fall of the old empires. Gunkanshima does remind us of a lot of things, it’s just like an encapsulation of humanity, I think it’s the pride of Nagasaki.
~ Extract from ANN Tamashii no Radio Blog (2008.04.08)~
* Gunkanshima has been re-opened to the public since 2009.04.22, after more than 20 years of closure.
ANN TamaRadi Blog:
Photostage III ~Zankyo~ Photo Exhibition: The number of visitors have been increasing non-stop. By the first week, 8,814 people have attended. Compared to the same period in the previous 2 times: Roppongi Hills 5,860 and Tottori 1,937 people! Our radio programme has also received a lot of feedback from listeners.
F: “8,000 people wouldn’t normally come! Nagasaki is not an art centre!? That’s incredible!!”
An staggering number… giving Fukuyama-san a sense of unreality.
And in his radio programme, he reflected once more on this piece of land that he should know very well.
F: “I really want to get to know Nagasaki a bit more. This is my birthplace, but there are still many places that I don’t know about about. A while back, I went up to Kameyama Shachu (龜山社中)* only for the first time. There are really a lot of places that I’ve heard of but never been.
Nagasaki has a lot of hillsides. Even though there are roads for cars to drive up, there are many stairs for people to climb as well. When you hike up the hills, you’ll come across houses and cemeteries etc…..I’m a bit concerned about what’s happening now. Huge condominiums are sprouting up everywhere, whether on flat ground or hillside. Those narrow uphill stairs were the primary way hillside residents took in their daily lives. It’s really hard work climbing those slopes and stairs. Some people would find it too inconvenient now and sell off their houses cheap, in order to move down to the bottom. So at night….there are many deserted houses (on the hillsides), coupled with the cemeteries closeby and the dim street lamps, it’s become a bit scary.
If you only come here as a tourist, you probably won’t feel it as much. But when it’s humid and cold; raining and windy…..it’s really something to have to climb up those stairs and slopes! And there of plenty of those in Nagasaki! As more condos are being built, more people will move away and the hillside houses will turn into ruins…that’s going to be a big headache. What are we going to do from now on?
There never used to be tall buildings in Nagasaki, so the uphill stairs were normal daily tasks. Uneven geographies and a hard way of life (i.e. having to climb uphill) have encouraged the people to help each other, I truly believe that. With this in mind, if someone asked for directions, we would explain with utmost patience.
I just remembered, I had a part-time job before, that was to deliver New Year pudding. What was it all about? That job was to help the elderly people who lived high on the hillside, and were unable to lug the heavy load home themselves after their New Year shopping. We carry their purchases and follow them up the stairs all the way home. Although we get paid for our services, but we feel like we’ve done a good deed by helping the elderly. Sometimes the aunties would tip me ¥500, that would make my day. Getting extra income after a good deed, it made me feel like a very useful person, that I could help others.
What’s so good about Nagasaki? Come and have a look for yourselves!”
~ Extract from ANN Tamashii no Radio Blog (2008.04.16) ~
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Article 813), 891 & 932), with reference to the original posts in ANN TamaRadi blog 2008.03.19 and 2008.04.16
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)