Cut Magazine (2009.07): Part 2
Extract from Cut Magazine No. 248
■ The concert this time signifies not only your first time at the Budokan, but the notion of reviewing your roots in this 20th anniversary year, as well. Furthermore in August, you have the concert in your hometown Nagasaki, after a break of 9 years. And your album “Zankyo” is also based on this theme, the overall concept being built on your roots and past. All along, Fukuyama-san has always emphasized that you came from Kyushu. Why do you need to reinforce it even further now?
F: Yes, for a couple of reasons…….these past few years, I’ve started to take interest in the possibilities of this thing called “Entertainment”. What is “entertainment” really about? What can we achieve by it? As I get older, I’ve begun to reflect and think about this.
When I was young, about the age of junior-high, I looked around at the adults and got the impression that life was to be dedicated to a company; working for a salary; following company policies and putting up with a fixed routine every day for the rest of your life. Perhaps I got this notion from what I saw in the surroundiing adults. It was around this time that I started getting interested in the entertainment world. After moving on from “Anpanman” 《アンパンマン》* (laugh).
During that period, I began to take notice of people like musicians and idols. I have never met these people; they’re not my family; not the teachers at school; not neighbours living close-by; no-one I knew around me was like that. But the glamour and energy they emitted in their work, gave me a sense of freedom and it caught my attention. Whether they were idols, actresses, whoever they were. It was the same to me.
F: At that time, I thought that the sparkling glamour, the freedom, came from this city of Tokyo. That’s why I came over. Even if I had stayed on in Nagasaki, I couldn’t have sensed those possibilities, so I left. When I was in my 20’s and early-30’s, I had never thought about the impact my work could have on this society. I merely wanted to express myself, and it was like I had a very personal relationship with the fans at that time. It was all I thought about, this personal relationship extending through my radio shows and concerts.
Ah…….although that’s normal, but I’m 40 now ………I’ve started thinking about the people on the receiving end of my performances. They also have their own jobs; their own lives; their parents have gradually become elderly; their children have grown up, a lot must have happened to them. Perhaps they can no longer buy CDs, or no longer come to the concerts. Even people who used to love listening to music, could have slowly stopped listening now, and so on. I’ve realized I can’t simply rely on the glamour of entertainment to carry on.
■ That’s true..
F: It’s because I treat this job as my profession that I will do my utmost in it. If I could, I‘d wish I can keep on with it until my last breath. Then, what is “entertainment” in this society? I started thinking about this from a couple of years back. Entertainment as we know it, is still being viewed as kids’ pastime. Hit CDs are limited to artists backed by young people. In this society, the music industry continues to be driven by the younger generation.
F: And I’m 40 now, it’s a bit far off to say that I’m still right for the teen crowd (laugh). That makes me wonder “How shall I do it?” From now on, things that I can do from the standpoint of entertainment, I want to make it as far-reaching as I can. And one of these, just happened to be linked to my hometown. Last year (2008), the photo exhibition held in my hometown Nagasaki “~PHOTO STAGE~ Zankyo” 「PHOTO STAGE 〜殘響〜」 brought in over 70,000 visitors.
F: It was in the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum**, so of course a lot of people came from within the prefecture. But there were many outside visitors as well. This led me to think: “Wow! That’s amazing!” and “Oh! I could do that too. As another face of entertainment.” At that time, I was interviewed by the Nagasaki Press. They all asked me the same thing: “Finally, can you say a few words to the people of Nagasaki?” When I replied: “What do you want me to talk about?” They said: “Nagasaki is now being thought of as a city shrouded in grey, with no vitality at all. So please say something to help lift our spirits up.”
The reason why this has happened was because there were many tragedies in Nagasaki a few years back. Like in Sasebo, an elementary school student was killed in the classroom by a classmate.
■ Something like that happened!!
And another time where a youth kidnapped a child and threw him to his death down a (multi-storey) carpark. Those cases all made news across the country. The sight-seeing city that was once so well-known for its foreign country charm, the characteristic image of Nagasaki that even I’m so proud of, is now being viewed as a city of darkness. The local media was very concerned.
At the same time, I was deliberating what I can do for this city, by way of my work in entertainment. Many things were happening in parallel. Like the decision to hold the concerts in Inasayama, different jobs were in progress, as well as the invitation for the Taiga drama. As I was comtemplating on the type of work I could arrange (for Nagasaki), it coincided with the members of the Nagasaki media and the Young Generation Association*** who were trying to get something done for their hometown. From there, we had those activities that followed, like the album and so on.
■ Both the photo exhibition and the album shared the same title, how did you come up with the words “Zankyo” 「殘響」 (Reverberations / Echoes in the Heart)?
F: Whenever I think about my hometown, I can see and hear the images and sounds very clearly in my mind. Next time you go to Nagasaki, please try and experience it as well. I don’t know why, but those streets and harbor surrounded by the mountains, will reverberate all sorts of sounds.
F: There is a place called Ohato 「大波止」. When you get there, you’ll understand what I mean. The clanking of the street cars (trams) on the tracks; the sound of trumpets in the distance; the occasional piping of steam whistles. Since the workshop is on the harbour front, you can hear the ship horns from there. So it’s not just the images I see in my memory, the scenery and the sounds are imprinted in my heart as well. That’s what they mean, the words “Zankyo”. When I think about my hometown, the echoes are recorded as well.
~To be Continued~
I remember a few days after I came back to Hong from Nagasaki in 2007.04 (for Photo Stage III), I was shocked to see the news that the Mayor of Nagasaki was assassinated during his election campaign for another term. The incident happened close to Nagasaki station.…..
* Anpanman is a well-known Japanese manga and anime series for young children - Official Site
** The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum - Official English Site
*** The Nagasaki Young Generation Association (NYA) - Official Site
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 6515 & 6521) with reference to the original article
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)