This project was started in 2008, but only completed recently. Translation by nyanco, marie & myself. This 40min special interview can be found in the One!~The History of Tackey~DVD. Timings have been included so you can watch the DVD as you read.
Please DO NOT re-post any part of this interview outside takki.us, DO NOT create subs based on this translation, and DO NOT translate this interview into any other languages. Please only continue reading if you agree to this. Thanks!
HIDEAKI TAKIZAWA SPECIAL INTERVIEW
At the beginning, we decided to do a new stage play and during the meeting, they decided to make one which looks back at Takizawa’s half a lifetime. At first, I went “Ah, is that so?”. Honestly, the idea of looking back at half of my lifetime didn’t strike well, since I am still so young. I was thinking of questions like “what story can I tell?”. But I accepted and decided to do it, and waited for the script for a while. But they couldn’t come up with one.
Well, certainly they couldn’t. It’s about half my lifetime, only I will know. That is why I was suddenly told “Takizawa, you should write the script”. I can’t write a script but I could write the episodes from my past, so I asked my parents about various episodes and stories from the past. That’s how it was at the very beginning.
So, I was able to have a long talk with my mother for the first time in a long while. Since I entered the entertainment world, we didn’t really communicate with each other, but with One! as a start, it gave us a chance to communicate well. It was an interesting experience.
When my mother gave birth to me, there were two other reservations before her at the hospital. She was the third in queue. But it turned out that I was the first to be born. She knew she couldn’t wait, so she made the decision based on her judgment, laid down on the waiting bench and delivered me by herself.
(Interviewer: Ah, she paced her breathing?)
(She knew that it’d be too late if she waited for her turn to be in the delivery room, didn’t she?)
Yes. Somehow, when I heard this from her, I thought “That is why…” I don’t know. I just thought…
(What do you mean by “That is why…”?)
I don’t know, but… “I was born on the bench, that is why…”, this somehow made me very happy. Knowing that such an uncommon episode happened to me. This made me very happy.
Maybe it’s unusual to think this way, but when I heard about this episode, of her sudden decision to deliver me on the bench, I felt that, “Mom is great”. Yeah. In the past, I was a little rebellious and felt like “What’s up with Mom?”, but after hearing about this episode, her presence to me has changed greatly.
(As Takizawa-kun yourself, what do you find most difficult or tough during the process of writing the script?)
Well, the most difficult indeed was that One! is a true story. Because that is the major premise, I was most aware that there can’t be any lies in it. But at the same time, I had to be clear of what I wanted to convey without making it too heavy. That was also one of my major concerns.
(Did you have a particular theme or a message that you really wanted to convey when you started this at the beginning?)
Yeah, I had. As you know, we often use our bodies to express ourselves. There are many occasions to present something on stage physically, but in relation to One!, it is in fact more of a mental presentation, rather than a physical one.
I know that there are many different live paths everyone is going through, and each of us have our difficult times, and times when we experience sadness.
But I wanted to show that the time will definitely come when we realize that these moments of our lives were not pointless, and for this reason, we must hang in there.
In the past, I didn’t think this way. I’d think that it’s just a trying-to-be-a-hero kind of idea. But now that I’ve reached this age, and I now think it has become possible only at this moment. I mean, it’s not “how long” you have lived that I consider important, it’s the content or “how” you lived your life that is more important. It was from somewhere in the middle of doing this show that I felt “It might be a good thing to do this show”. From then onwards, I became positive and enjoyed the process.
Well, of course, I really had a hard time then thinking of the ways to express the mental aspects of One!. I was distressed, and at a loss over how I could present certain scenes of the show. But I didn’t want to just portray half of my lifetime. There are many people of my generation, or those even younger than me, who are also going through unhappy times. These days, there are many parents who are divorced. And I know that, at this very moment, there are many children too who are having the same feelings I had back then. Therefore, in One!, I wanted to portray these children’s inner voices using that fighting scene. It wasn’t about fighting with someone else, it was a fight within oneself, about showing one’s inner conflicts. In One!, I portrayed it in this way.
Of course, even if they’re children, they too have feelings like worries and happiness. They can feel unexpectedly much more than what adults can imagine. That’s why, I wish that adults will have a better understanding of this. In that scene, I looked at the children. “That’s not the way. Don’t waste your life away.” That was all I wanted to say then. That was the message I wanted to convey in that scene. The message to the children to “live your own life well”.
Because I went through the same experience, this is the only thing I can say with confidence. I wanted to bring across the message to “believe in yourself”, “don’t give up” and “don’t run away”.
(About your half-brother?)
(The episode with him was deeply told in the story, wasn’t it?)
Yeah. When I heard about my half-brother, and went over to see him, somehow I couldn’t feel happy. Well, I guess it was jealousy. Somehow, I felt like he took my father away.
(Did you hear about it from your father?)
He already existed when I met my father after a long time. I mean, the baby.
(Were you surprised?)
Yeah. I wondered whose child was it, and was told “He is your younger brother”.
I felt, “Ah…, is that so”.
(Was it shocking?)
Yeah. That was why I couldn’t feel genuinely happy, at that time.
(Well, after that, you often had chances to meet?)
Yes. We played together sometimes during the summer holidays. We played games together, and made some paper airplanes together. I taught him the way to make them, and showed him how to play with them step by step. While I was teaching him by playing together, I felt for the first time I did something older-brother-like. I was the youngest in the family so I’ve longed for a younger sibling. So I was happy, and somehow felt for the first time like an older brother. “Yeah, I’m an older brother.” From then, I started to like him.
(Did you know about him having an audition? Did he discuss it with you beforehand?)
Yes, he did. But it’s not for me to decide, nor to tell him if it’s good or bad, so I told him to just come and have a go. And he came.
(Did he ask you in person?)
(“I think I want to try for the audition”?)
He said “I want to do the same thing as you”. Yes, I was happy to hear that.
(You felt that yourself?)
Yes. I can’t imagine how it would be like if he really entered (the company). But him saying he wanted to do the same thing as me somehow gave me a moment where I felt good that I had joined Johnnys. Yeah, it made me happy.
(What are the memories you had with your father?)
Memories with my father? Honestly, I don’t have many.
Well, the only one I remember… There were two only, episodes or memories. The very first one that I still can’t forget now, was when I was going to nursery school. It was the first time, the first and the last, the one and only time, that my father came to pick me up. It had a great impact on me then. I thought, “It’s not possible. Such a thing isn’t possible”. I can still remember it very clearly now. Somehow. Yes, that was the one and only time he came to pick me up.
There’s one more after that, when my father left our house. At that time, I didn’t know what he was doing, but I saw him carrying various baggage and trunks to his car. Because I didn’t understand the meaning of it at that time, I said “Dad, I’ll help you!” and carried his baggage with him.
(Yes, it’s in the story too.)
That’s right. I carried the baggage, and my father’s huge trunk to the car with him without knowing anything, and said “See you, bye bye!”. After that, I could not see him.
I didn’t know anything at that time, but as I grew a little older, I really regretted. “Ah, what have I done?” Somehow it felt like I was the one who chased him away. I know it wasn’t me, but it was me who said “Bye Bye!”, and somehow I felt, “How stupid I was. If only I realized earlier and stopped him”. That is a sad memory that has stayed inside me until today, something I can’t forget. So, these are perhaps the only two memories I had with my father.
So, ever since then… how should I say… my life or way of living had changed dramatically. I know I should have many things to tell, but I don’t remember that much that I can call memories since that point of time. Well, everyone grew apart… My mother started working outside, my sister had to cover for our mother, and my brother became a substitute for our father. I remember we were almost falling apart. The three of us were always hungry and looking for food at home. I remember very well that my sister tried her best and cooked something from the leftovers for us, and it was like only three of us surviving together.
As the youngest in the family, I think I was in a position for longing to be pampered and spoilt, but I didn’t have that luxury. Yeah. I thought that I should no longer rely on them – my sister and brother – anymore, as they were too busy and had no room for me, so I had to do things myself. Then I stopped thinking myself as their youngest brother. Because I wasn’t pampered by my mother, I didn’t know how to behave like a spoilt child, so I’ve felt a little uncomfortable accepting (help from others), until recently.
Of course I felt lonely. Yeah. There were times when we were mocked by others for not having a father. They were awful memories, but in its own way, it somehow made us stronger… I guess we had much bigger problems then. In a way, to say exaggeratedly, it was like “We had to survive”. It was kinda like “At any rate, we have to get pass today for now” and then “Let’s enjoy it”, something like that.
And, from that point on, I think our family bond became deeper. We became brutally honest, almost confrontational to each other. To put it in a nice way, our bond became “deeper”, but if said in the other way, our relationship turned bad. But, from my point of view, in retrospect, we needed that kind of confrontational period.
Because I think there are not many families who can tell each other honestly what they expect of each other. In the present age, all sorts of families exist. There are many types of families, but if you can’t be honest to each other, I mean, I heard that there are such families… so, after all, I think it’s great that I have a family I can speak my true feelings to. Even though I didn’t like it back in those days, now when I think of it, we were still a good family then because at least we could confront each other.
(You mean that each of you spoke your own minds to each other?)
Right. We were clear to each other about things we “like” and “dislike” .
Well, the biggest thing was, as you can see in the play, I couldn’t agree when my mother told us that she was going to remarry. Even my brother and sister gave their approval, but I was the only one who…
After all, I still felt greatly the presence of my father. Somehow, I guess I still like my father. Yeah, I do. Honestly, the impression I have of him is bad, but somehow, even after the divorce, I felt that he is still my father, and I like him very much. So, I resisted a little taking on “Takizawa” as my surname. At that time, I was the only one who didn’t change my surname.
For that reason, I kept my father’s surname for a long time. But… Then… When I entered show business, I decided to take on my current father’s surname.
(What made you enter this company?)
Well… Before that, I wanted to become a pro-wrester, but… Well, because I wasn’t good at studies, and didn’t have any specialties either, I was thinking it will be a crisis if I carry on not having any professional skills. I knew I couldn’t rely on anybody. I had to take action by myself. Then, somehow the idea occurred to me about getting into show business and joining Johnny’s, so I sent in my resume, thinking I’ve got nothing to lose anyway.
Yes. Back then, I had nothing to do, or there was nothing I was good at. It’d have been nice if I had some skills, for example, in soccer or baseball, but I just didn’t have any, so I wanted to find a skill that’s a little different from other people’s, and it just happened to be in the field called show business. Yeah, it was quite simple. I just didn’t know there was a “Junior” period at that time.
(Oh, you thought that you could…?)
I thought that a group would be formed soon after entering the company, and then we would debut, I mean a “CD debut”. But as soon as I got in, I found out about the “Junior” period. Back then, I thought “What the hell is this? This is not what I understood”. That’s why it was tough for me at the start. It was like, “Damn, I didn’t know this!”.
(You mean you didn’t know there was such a training period? )
That’s right. It was a bit of a surprise.
(Well, in the play, there are many lines spoken by Juniors who are trying to step up and develop themselves through friendly competition. Was there also such competition or friendly rivalry when you joined, Takizawa-kun? )
Un… Competition? It’s hard to say, but I guess we were not that conscious of it. Compared to the Juniors now, I think we behaved more like children during our junior time.
It didn’t feel like we were doing a job, it felt like something we did in addition to school that we really enjoyed. I guess we didn’t feel like we were competing against each other.
And… somehow, most of the Juniors who became close to me come from single-parent families. That was very interesting to me.
I don’t know why, but there were so many of them.
(In the same situation as you.?)
Yes. There were so many guys like me, it was like “Uh? You too? And you too? And you too?”, and that made me feel like I was rescued in a way. That’s why we talked about everything at that time. We told each other everything, good things and bad things. If there were juniors who were like us, we’d listened to their stories properly. If it were our seniors, we’d asked them for advice. That’s why, we were peers who were very much like family. The Juniors were like my other family.
But, we did many mischievous things together too.
(Haha, in your own ways?)
I think I did. I was rebellious, as much as I could be. First of all, I didn’t trust what adults said. I guess I couldn’t trust them. And, even when I’ve already decided to go on path A, I would lose all interest if adults told me to take the same path. Well, I guess I just wanted to rebel everything at that time.
(“The hell with what adults say”?)
Yes, I thought so. I had a bizarre and impertinent thought of wanting to become a person who can win over adults.
So, I really worked hard since then. Of course, if it were planning a formation for a concert, even if I was a kid, I didn’t want to be outdone by adults. So I tried hard without sleep. I was only a junior-high or high school student then, but I tried desperately, and I guess somehow, it might have been a good thing. Well, I caused lots of trouble to the staff, but I guess this junior period was the time I was given the opportunity to receive on-the-job training.
(What happened when you first backdanced for your seniors during your Junior time?)
Well, about a week after I passed the audition, I backdanced for Kinki Kids at Yokohama Arena for the first time. Of course I thought this new world was “Amazing!”. Until then, I had seen the stage from the audience’s point of view, but I’ve never experienced it the other way.
(Ahh, that was the first time you stood on a stage?)
I guess it felt something like “Wow, what a great place I’ve come to!”
(When you stood on stage for the actual performance, and suddenly there was a large number of audience in front of you, honestly, did you feel very nervous or did you snap out of it very quickly?)
Surprisingly, I was okay. I have no recollection of being nervous.
(You didn’t really get nervous?)
Uh, I guess I didn’t.
I was a boy who hated appearing in front of people, but I felt free from all my worries at that moment.
(During that first time?)
Yeah. So I guess people who know me from before might be wondering why I’m in showbiz. To begin with, I hated appearing in front of others. To the extent that during events like school plays in elementary school, I was doing props and stuff.
Yes, yes. Because somehow, in the past, appearing in public itself was something I hated. But everything was freed from that first stage appearance, and I decided “I will go this way”.
(To pursue a career in this field…)
Yeah. I simply felt that “I want to go further”.
Now that I’ve teamed up with Tsubasa, well, really we’ve been together since the audition, walking the same path. And then, we debuted as a duo. That’s why until now, our most valuable asset is indeed being able to talk with our eyes, or perhaps I should say, the biggest asset we have is to be able to have a conversation with our eyes.
Yeah. So, for example if at all I have a thought like “I dislike such a thing”, he will know even without being told. And, I will also know what he dislikes.
So, even if we’re standing on the stage, when we were in fact supposed to go right… but if one of us wants to go left today, we can understand this with our eyes, and both of us will go left. We are also able to do such a thing.
Yes. That’s why that is an awesome and huge asset that was built up since those days. Well, I really think it’s that.
(When you debuted, in September 2002, your CD debut was accomplished. During that time, at Yokohama Arena, a huge event commenced and you debuted spectacularly, but at that time, what was the very first and foremost feeling you had? )
Well… well, “it has finally come”, something like this. Somehow, having our own songs was a really huge thing for us. But, rather than at that time of debut, it was perhaps only after some time has passed that the true feeling of excitement sank in.
(After some time has passed?)
That’s right. After we released our songs, when we went abroad, we were unable to have conversation with words, but were able to have communication with sound. And that moment, I strongly thought “Wow. The power of music is great!”. It was then that I thought, I was so glad that I debuted.
And of course the joy I felt when the audience cheered loudly when our songs were blasted from the speakers like “Boom!”. That sensation, it was huge.
(Well, you played the role of yourself in the future, who was actually an old man, but…)
(It was a remarkable performance with a feigned voice. What is your feedback after you played?)
Well, I played that scene quite in a comical way, but…
After all, death will come one day, sooner or later once you were born. And I thought, I don’t want to have any regrets then, and I want to look back at things that happened in my life, so I played it in a somewhat comical way.
And I created that scene of that old man dying on the bench where he was born. There, I wanted to show that his life wasn’t a mistake, that by being born and dying, he was able to make a round trip of his life. Not hesitating but properly returning to the place where he was born, something like that.
(You mean that he lived out his life. Is that the conclusion?)
Ah. That’s right.
(If from this point, you get older and become a father, a grandfather, what sort of future can you picture yourself in, Takizawa-kun?)
Un… Well, I don’t mind any kind of life, but… What is it… I’d be glad if I could have a satisfactory life, without being greedy. And I think it’s ok to make mistakes.
(You mean sometimes?)
Yeah. I don’t think it’s bad. That’s why I don’t try to accuse my parents for their mistakes. Well, everyone does such… You know, they are human, they make mistakes. I believe that what is more important is how to overcome and accept them.
It would be okay if you have the heart that is able to face it and accept it without ignoring it.
(Is that what you found from playing your 24 years of history this time?)
That’s right, yeah. Indeed, up until “One!”, I’ve never thought about things like my life, in such depth… but this time, it opened me up to a lot of thinking. So, after much deliberation over things like “In what way should I go on living?” or “What can I deliver to people younger than myself now?”, it was the only answer my present self could think of.
Anyway, I thought, rather than what had happened, what’s more important is how to keep your spirit after it has happened.
(Like you, one after another, there are teenagers who are attracted by show business, joined the company and are struggling to become the best. What do you feel about them?)
Let me see… yeah, there are many things I want to tell them, but people live different lives, so I cannot say one definite thing. Well, but, if there is someone who doesn’t know what to do, who is at a loss not knowing what’s causing the situation, who doesn’t know how he should live, or who cannot find any dream, if there is somebody like that, I want to tell him “how about taking action first?’.
(Are you suggesting taking action first?)
Yeah. I don’t want them to give up no matter what. I don’t want them to run away. Surely, I want them to be strong, too. Well, I think I want to tell them that life is fun indeed, even when you make mistakes.
I myself have made so many mistakes up until now. But when we overcome those mistakes, I think we can perhaps get much bigger things. The mistakes will become tiny things of the past.
(Takizawa-kun, now that you’ve performed One!, what are your thoughts towards “family”, which is also another big theme in the butai?)
Hum, let me see. Though usually they are a distance away emotionally, their presence will be felt extremely close at the crucial moment. Yeah. I think family is the place we go back to eventually.
This is not for sure, but, if I feel so down that I cannot help myself, who am I going to ask for help? I think that would be my family. No matter how sour the relationship is, family is indeed family…
(Do you mean that even if, to put it in an extreme way, you are hostile to each other, those whom you can rely on in the end will be…?)
I think so. Well, I think that is the case for everyone. There may be those who say “No, Takizawa-kun, family is nothing like that”; but I think that’s the case. I think that is the case for everyone. Yeah. Well, see? When you get married and have your own family, your environment changes, so it may be different for different people.
However, family that’s related by blood, and the people who’re precious to you… I think they are the ones who will be together with you at the end. Surely the presence of your parents is immense after all, and I think there are quite a few things you learn from your parents.
(How do you communicate with your family including your mother lately?)
Yeah, I think I communicate rather well with them. Like going on a trip together. Well, it’s like “let’s do what we couldn’t do before.” We are enjoying ourselves now.
(I see. It’s so to speak retrieving what you’ve left behind?)
That’s right. It’s a little late, but now we feel like doing what we could not do before. It’s so to speak a reunion, and these days, we get together and do something like playing together, and having dinner together.
And surely there are people who live very different lives under very different circumstances, but there are people who live strongly, who live more determined lives than me, so I think I cannot lose courage. That’s because if I find such a person around me, I’d like to tell him/her, “let’s do our best!”. I think I’d like to encourage everyone to live with this kind of attitude.
(This stageplay “One!” is a story which illustrates in a great depth the family, family ties, and steps each one takes. If you were to send a message to the viewers of this DVD, what would it be?)
Well, it’s actually quite easy, or simple… Surely I’d like to tell them about family ties and its importance; but rather than that, somehow I think I’d like to ask whether you’re confident of having no regrets in your life, the life you have led so far, and your history. For that question, at the very end of the stageplay, I myself narrated that I want to be born to the same mother and lead the same life. I’d like to ask the audience,”it is so for me, but how about you?”. Therefore, when they watch my stageplay or this DVD, I hope to give them a chance to look back and think how they feel about their lives. I hope this will be a good start. As for me, I was given the opportunity to look back by performing “One!” and I could feel a lot of things. Somehow, I could confirm that I have been able to live a satisfactory life, and so I’ve become confident, in a strange way, yeah.
So I hope the viewers of this DVD will also… well, because it doesn’t matter how long their history is… but I hope they can feel something from looking back at their life a little.