Kadokawa Mook FM Special (2009.07): Part 1
The 20th Year Sign Post
■ In May and June this year, Fukuyama Masaharu stood on the Nippon Budokan stage. This was his first time in 20 years. The name of the concert, in true fashion with his usual humour, was
“Fukuyama☆The Sudden Daikanshasai
~ Eh! Never Been There Before? For the First Time?
Love☆The Fukuyama Exhibition in Budokan!!”
The concert had many elements, it was a sincere and earnest performance, like having wrapped himself up as a present to be delivered to the audience. What impressed me most was that the audience had settled down very nicely to enjoy the music. Artist and fans were interlinked together, so very naturally without any hint of strain. Their relationship was very relaxed, and presented an image of mutual bliss.
F: Each show will be different because of the variants present at that time. But looking back at my concerts in the past, I feel they have changed a great deal. At the beginning, I was at a loss about who I was and about the disparity between my ‘true’ and ‘false’ images. I was too concerned with the audience’s reaction that day, be it good or bad. At that time, I used the audience response as an indicator for the success of a concert. And I would be endlessly thinking “Everyone’s very passionate today, that’s good” or “The mood’s not good enough today.”
But then from a certain time onwards, I started to understand “This shouldn’t have anything to do with the mood or emotion they showed, should it?” Say when I go to an overseas entertainer’s concert, will I be as highly emotional throughout the entire show?” Not really. But even if I hadn’t been calling out his or her name, I would still be very excited (laugh)! So, I don’t want to feel edgy anymore just because of how many people are cheering or clapping in rhythm. And when I came into this state of mind, I stopped worrying about those things all throughout the concert.
Actually, thinking about it rationally, people have to buy tickets before they come to the concert. As an audience, I don’t suppose they will be thinking of “Well now, let’s evaluate this, shall we” when they come in. Fundamentally, they should be bringing in their love and interest (laugh) with them to enjoy the show. I don’t think it matters therefore, whether they appear to be jumping about or not.
Because I am holding concerts on an ongoing basis, I have a mutual trust and reliance with my audience, that’s how it’s come to be now. Rather than being concerned with the volume of the cheering I hear, I should focus on accomplishing what I want to convey from the stage and what I want to do. In essence, to communicate with heart and sincerity to the audience the things we want to get done, in accordance with our run-down. That is what I will always bear in mind now.
In my heart, I don’t see myself as a restaurant that can draw people in with just my talk. So, how can we play the best music out? That is where I plan to be putting in the majority of my time and effort. To achieve that, we have gathered a group of outstanding band members. My goal is to get to the standard (of performance) that even if it were just them playing the music, people are still willing to pay money to come and listen. And only with that, will I feel assured enough to embark on my many other lines of work. After all, music is my base, but to make it a special point to show everyone that “All I want to do is music”, is not, based on my character, something that I’d like to do (laugh).
Plain instrumentation; singing the songs without any MC, where the audience just listens to the music…If this is what they want, I will want to do it. After all, I’m just like the type of “girls who can’t say no to soliciting and are willing to get into bed because of it”. Fundamentally, I think I’m the kind of person who would want to “respond to other people’s requests”. If my audience wants to strip away everything (outside of music) and just listen to my songs, I think then that will be what I want t do.
As someone whom you could say, “occasionally takes a trip into the TV world” (laugh), embracing the Fukuyama-style of servicing would mean, I’m thinking “The audience would probably want to listen to live sounds, wouldn’t they?” And the occasion for trying out this theory, is for me, the Daikanshasai concerts. But our experiment for the first day of the 1998 Daikanshasai was a big failure. In my opinion, I have almost never had a failed concert, and that was the day, everything turned out different from what we had in mind. What we gave out, was not what people wanted. We thought we would show clips and add in some comedy, we tried different things…….because I don’t want to remember what happened, I’ve almost forgotten it all. (laugh) In a nutshell, we changed everything the next day.
That 2-day Unplugged Acoustic style concert held in the Yokohama Arena……..started off on the wrong foot already (laugh). From the last row of the Yokohama Arena, I was supposed to walk slowly up to the stage…….but I just couldn’t get onto the stage anyhow! I got grabbed on (by fans on the way) and they wouldn’t let go. By the time I finally got on stage, my clothes were torn and tattered (laugh). And the performance thereafter was all different from what we had imagined.
In the organization of our concerts since then, because we put more and more thought into the planning, I think we were able to build up the mutual trust relationship that we have with our audience now.
■ It seems he doesn’t just do the things he wants to do, this we can feel from Fukuyama’s talk.
F: Well I guess there’re different types of artists, and I’m a bit against things like having to act good-looking all the time. If I had to stand there and play cool, I’d find it absurd and embarrassing. I’ve always been the type who feels shy and awkward very easily. Having said that, it’s not good to just let it be and not do anything.
I was thinking, I could make use of my shyness to create something. I could materialize it in some form. Because these are songs that I write myself, if I feel embarrassed when I sing them, I can use that feeling to build a bit more into the song. It’s not in me to feel complacent and self-intoxicated. So when I start thinking “Given the way I am, what can I do about it?” things naturally progressed to the present state.
That’s why if you don’t need me to talk in the concerts, I can stop talking anytime (laugh).
■ In his capacity as a radio DJ, I’m sure many people can hear how fluent Fukuyama-san is, from his broadcasts. But this is different (playing cool). In his innermost core, Fukuyama Masaharu is filled with “delicacy”. And the disparity between the false images and what is real (which he had mentioned at the beginning of the interview) had cut him up inside.
F: That happened during the years between 1993 and 1995. When I was starring in “Hitotsu Yana no Shita” (ひとつ屋根の下 Under the Same Roof), whatever I did in the concerts, the audience would scream “Kya~~~~”. That really embarrassed me at the time. I’d think……are they listening to my song? Yeah, now I actually miss those times. Sometimes I’d wish they’d stop listening and go “Kyaaa~~~” at me. (laugh)
But I couldn’t comprehend it at all in those days. I couldn’t see how that could be “something good” and I couldn’t respond nicely to the audience. Now, it’s fine by me whatever way the audience uses to enjoy the concert, so I wouldn’t get exceptionally nervous as a result.
~ Continue to Part 2 ~
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