“It’s possible he might have been prompted to talk due to the atmosphere at the time.” (Shinji Miyadai)
If Mr. Oyamada made such statement about bullying due to the pressure from kichiku-kei mountings of the 90s, it was not a matter of Mr. Oyamada’s personal qualities but the atmosphere at the time, which means, someone else could have been in Mr. Oyamada’s shoes?
Shinji Miyadai (hereafter Miyadai): I can’t say for sure, but it is possible. It just so happened that Keigo Oyamada was called by “Quick Japan” and was prompted to make such a statement – as if he doesn’t regret it at all, because of the atmosphere, something that he otherwise would not have told others – perhaps something he secretly regretted.
Even Mr. Oyamada could be seen as a victim of those times.
Miyadai: I think it’s an overstatement to say so, because there were many people who could resist the atmosphere of that time. Regarding that era, there isn’t a clear-cut point when it moves to the next. Even in the 90s, when the kichiku-kei movement surfaced, some of the ‘slight feverishness’ movement of the 80s were still alive. Let’s take clubs as an example.
The reason why I got involved in the production of NHK’s ETV special program “Shibuya: Music at the End of the Century” in 1994 was because I wanted to depict a pleasant laid-back, slight heat completely different from the festive heat. I wanted everyone to understand that it was not a hot fever, but a cool breeze-like fever. It was not a place of hare*1, but rather an activity to return to your true self and true friendship in a laid-back space and time.
Club culture in the last 2 decades has been a space and time for fashion dominance or music maniacs, so current college students would not be able to understand the atmosphere of those days. In my word, clubs in the early 90s were “a place where cram school students who were not good at making friends could go alone”. You didn’t have to dress up, you didn’t have to dance well. You didn’t have to be pretentious. At the time, there were discos from the 70s, but it was different from it. At a disco, you had to dress up and show off, right? so it was a place to pick up girls. In the early 90’s and in clubs, picking up girls was not forbidden, but seen as very annoying.
DARTHREIDER (hereafter DARTH) :I think the hit song that symbolizes that laid-back atmosphere of the club is ‘Boogie Back Tonight’ and it was created and sang by Kenji Ozawa, the other guitarist in the Flipper’s Guitar band. The relaxed rhythm of “Boogie Back Tonight” and the rap – the point is, the ‘dance floor’ with its unadorned, unglamorous, and flowy temperature – is the image of the club that Mr. Miyadai describes. I think that this exquisite club atmosphere was actually a place where people could escape from the pressure of kichiku-kei. I think it’s ironic that while Kenji Ozawa’s way of being went in this direction, while Mr. Oyamada may have gone on to kichiku-kei mounting.
What was the divide between Mr. Oyamada and Mr. Ozawa?
DARTH: That’s something that needs to be properly analyzed, but I think the conditions were actually not that different, since both musicians had similar communities and connections of people who participated in their works. As for the question of whether anyone could have become Keigo Oyamada, the issue here is how he presented his story about bullying that happened in his school days. There are plenty of people who hadn’t done such things in middle or high school. In fact, even if I had been a middle or high school student, I would have thought, “That’s wrong!” So even if the social background of the time of the interview was as Mr. Miyadai explained, I think it is up to each individual’s nature to decide how to react to it. There were people who went to laid-back clubs. I think that’s the part that Keigo Oyamada has to accept. Also, the major problem with the interview itself was that Rocking On Japan published Mr. Oyamada’s comments without checking them, and the way the editor and writer of Quick Japan finished the article. I think the way the article was made reflects the historical background and the people’s mindsets at the time as Mr. Miyadai explained.
*1Hare…… Hare (sunny, fine) represents the extraordinary annual events like etiquette and festivals while Ke (mundane) represents the ordinary, everyday life.
“The only thing that matters is why it happened and what was going through his mind.” (DARTH)
So, what should Mr. Oyamada do from now on?
Miyadai: He doesn’t have that many options. First of all, since he is a musician, he should continue to prove himself through his work. Next, regardless of any personal connections he had with the editor, he needs to express the result of self-analysis, why he said such things in the interview without compunction, and why he bullied in the first place. Apologizing is all talk, so anyone can do it. Apology isn’t enough. You need to keep talking about why it was done and what you’re doing now, all in line with the international standards.
Here is an easy-to-understand example. The Japanese are quick to apologize, but the Germans do not. The Japanese say “I’m sorry,” but they are an idiot who doesn’t think about what they did wrong. Germans rarely apologize, but instead, they analyze and then express what they did wrong. It’s totally different, right? The difference is how much people will come to trust you afterwards. In Japan, people aren’t trusted because they apologize too soon. So, I think those people who shout, “Apologize! Apologies!” should perish.
DARTH: Mr. Miyadai once told me about a speech by former German President Weizsäcker *2. He said, “Crime, is to reconcile the past with an apology. It says the Germans will take responsibility forever, rather than reconciling it with an apology. Responsibility is based on action. After that, it’s how we look at words. An apology is just words, so it’s the content that really matters. For example, if someone says “an apology was posted on Twitter,” you don’t know who wrote it, and you don’t know their intention. So, it has no value at all. The only value is that it’s an act of putting an official statement on the official forum. That’s just the starting point. You can’t show anything by words. Instead, you have to show it through the way you live and the way of being, and Mr. Oyamada has no choice but to do that. Mr. Oyamada is a creator, so he also has the output that he can use. I realized through this incident that the only thing that matters is the reason why it happened and what was going through his mind. It’s ridiculous that people who value words and what they say/don’t say are not thinking about what kind of function words have in the first place.
Miyadai: I think it’s absurd when Japanese people demand apologizes. Anyone can apologize sincerely if the people around them say “it’s better to do so”. On the other hand, what is really needed is a self-analysis of “why I did it” and “where I went wrong” together with actions that is the result of self-analysis as shared by Mr. DARTH. That’s the only thing demanded by international standards.
When foreigners ask me, I tell them that Japan has a “culture of oblivion”. For example, the change of era under the emperor system. Through the change of the emperor, the atmosphere changes and purifies. This is symbolized by the amnesty given under the change of the emperor. In my view, the emperor system is a “device for oblivion and reconciliation”. In the same way, many people apologize instead of expressing a concrete detail of their remorse. Apology in this case is a deal, not to rehash the past after that.
So, whether the era changes, or how many apologies are made, the same mistakes will be repeated forever. For example, take Coronavirus crisis which only Japan seems to be losing is the reemergence of the bullshit of prewar and wartime. And of course, it is the reemergence of the same bullshit that only Japan has continued to throttle nuclear power since the nuclear power plan explosion a decade ago, and has been completely left out of the huge market for renewable energy. Even in the Diet, the standard question from the opposition parties is, “Won’t the prime minister apologize?” instead, it should be “Where do you think the error was?”.
In the former President Weizsäcker’s view, first, people will never forget the great evil even if you apologize. Secondly, it is a blessing that people do not forget. Because you can continue to tell those who don’t forget that you have self-analyzed your mistakes and now acting in a certain way. By doing so, Germany restored trust, or rather, fostered it anew. Since what I have just described is a universal story about the relationship between the main subjects, it can be applied not only between nations, but also between individuals. It can also be applied to the Oyamada issue.
But if Mr. Oyamada was so weak that he was pushed around by the kichiku-kei mounting atmosphere, I feel that it would be difficult for him to come out in the media and self-reflect. He may decide to remain silent, and I fear that such a chain of silence will continue to happen in this country. Just like the government, I think the atmosphere of “let’s keep quiet until everyone forgets” will get even stronger. I have a feeling that we are going in the opposite direction of Germany.
Miyadai: That’s why I’m speaking here on this show, because I think there is a possibility that someone related to Mr. Oyamada, or even the man himself, will watch this program. That’s the point. He has the opportunity to speak in public. He has a chance to express himself. He should constantly express the results of his self-reflection. It should definitely be done, both in the public sense and in the sense of self protection. Actually, there is no other option.
Plus, by “continuing to prove himself through his work” doesn’t mean that he should show his remorse directly in his work. The musical experience is outside the spoken, the legal, and profitability. If it’s a seminar, I would discuss what possibilities were gained and what possibilities were lost through only the Sapiens’ acquisition of segmented vocabulary, or language despite both the Neanderthals and Sapiens shared ability to sing. The only point here is to be able to convey, the pretext and inexpressible only the sensitive people understand, through their music experience.
The reason I say ‘music experience’ instead of ‘musical expression’ and talk about sensitive people is because this challenge is actually up to the receiver. When Pierre Taki was arrested with cocaine, Sony stopped the distribution and sales of Denki Groove altogether. Musicians overseas have been caught with drugs all the time, but their sale nor distribution has never stopped. Inflamed public demand apologies to the bad deed and to humor them, Japanese musicians says, “I’m sorry, I won’t release my work anymore” from their laziness.
A good piece of work is a good piece of work regardless of whether it is made by Mr. Oyamada or anyone else. When the Flipper’s Guitar band came out, we elders thought, “Happiendo is back”. They listened to American pop music and wrote songs after studying the essence of both old and new music. Since HAPPY-END, there was only Flipper’s Guitar for a while. He’s a great guy as a songwriter.
DARTH: I used to listen to a lot of Cornelius'(Oyamada’s) 90’s work and remixed versions, so that’s exactly what I mean. And actually, the potential, fun, misery, and cruelty of creation lies in the fact that any human being can create something amazing. Although drug-related cases do not directly bother anyone, in Mr. Oyamada’s case, even though the statute of limitations has expired, because he was dragged onto the stage of the Olympics, there are many people who are hurt again by seeing the articles in those two magazines. I think there is certain moral obligation there, so I still think it is different from a drug case. And as I said earlier, the people who wrote, edited, and published those two magazines are also morally responsible, and responsible for Mr. Oyamada’s current situation.
(*2) Weizsäcker…… Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker was born in 1920 and served as mayor of West Berlin (1981-1984) before becoming the sixth president of West Germany in 1984. He was re-elected in 1989 and became the first President of a united Germany in October of the following year; he retired from office in 1994 at the end of his term. He died in January 2015 at the age of 94. He is best known for his May 1985 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II, in which he said, “Anyone who closes their eyes to the past, ultimately is blind to the present.”.
“Keigo Oyamada has a duty to take responsibility forever.” (Miyadai)
Even if he does fulfill his responsibilities, do you think Mr. Oyamada should decline to provide music for any public event, even if it is not the Olympics in the future?
Miyadai: You’ll know if you think about the meaning of former President Weizsäcker’s speech just mentioned by Mr. DARTH. An apology is a way to settle the past and dealing with it. But for serious mistakes, you shouldn’t settle the past. So ‘I apologies, so don’t drag it up’ attitude is folly. The people around you should bring it up forever. It’s how you respond to the call from people around you. That’s what responsibility is. The people around you determine whether you are worthy of their trust or not by looking at your mediopassive response.
In this sense, what Weizsäcker spoke about ‘responsibility rather than crime’ is today, a universal providence. Just as Germany should not apologize to settle its past, it’s Keigo Oyamada’s duty to continue to take responsibility forever. He can restore his humanity depending on the degree he fulfills that. We should also reinstate based on that degree. According to the sociologist Max Weber, responsibility essentially means the qualification of a person of faith that comes from his ability to continue responding to God’s call. Mr. Oyamada is also being questioned about his qualifications.
DARTH: I was just watching a film called ‘Criminals of the Holocaust’ this afternoon, but there’re always new films coming out about the Nazis. Every time there is a new film, Germany is required to present itself as the most respectable country that thinks about environment and human rights. If Germany showed an attitude saying, “It’s over, so don’t make any more Nazi films” or “That matter has been dealt with.” …actually, there is one country in the Far East that has such an attitude (LOL).
Miyadai: You mean the country where the right-wing pig paradise is left alone, right? (LOL).
DARTH: Nazi films are constantly being made and constantly revisited. Every year it’s highlighted through a new Nazi film. Every time it’s brought up, as a nation or as Germans, they need to respond to it. Unfortunately, even among the German people, there are neo-Nazis*3 who are beginning to abandon their responsibilities. This is the dilemma that Merkel is facing today. Germany is having that level of discussion, while Japan hasn’t even started thinking about that in the first place. That’s the reason why we cannot even start a proper discussion on the Oyamada issue.
Repeatedly bring it up and repeatedly respond…that is not a custom in this country at all. Anyway, it’s a country that believes it’s best to apologize once and reconcile.
Miyadai: In the future, we should not allow reconciliation when dealing with major mistakes. We should keep bring it up forever. That will give Mr. Oyamada the opportunity to endlessly respond, and by using that opportunity, he can become a trustworthy person again. Perhaps he can gain greater credibility than before. Just like Germany, which created the Nazis, became the leading power of the EU. There is no other way to recover. Regardless of Japan’s customs or mentality, there is absolutely no other way to recover. This can be seen in the huge gap between Germany and Japan in their political and economic statuses today.
*3 Neo-Nazi …… Neo-Nazism. Refers to those who adhere to the Nazi ideology, principles, system of rule, totalitarianism, parochial nationalism, etc., or the advocate groups, or the ideology itself. It emerged after the reunification of East and West Germany. Such organizations exist in many countries today.
“Removing it from you view is not a solution to the problem.” (DARTH)
I think how it’s brought up again is also important, what do you think?
Miyadai: Earlier, I talked about why the kichiku-kei gained popularity in the 90s, what the premise was, and how it was motivated and it’s probability. So, I hope you now understand that it is different and not as simple as “Mr. Oyamada was a savage”.
Even today, there are many cases of bullying stirred up by inhumane and anti-human emotions. As I have written many times, bullying is different from mere harassment. Harassment is something that everyone does on a daily basis. Bullying is the irreparable destruction of a person’s dignity. The act of “making people eat feces,” as Mr. Oyamada confessed, is not harassment but bullying. As a harassment, we can never eradicate bullying, but as destruction of dignity, bullying must be eradicated immediately.
If we follow what the fools, who say “Oyamada is at fault” and “so apologize”, the problem will end up being a special case and will be forgotten. Bullying has been repeated a lot, and there are still many cases of suicide among elementary and junior high school students. Suicide from bullying, destroys a person’s minimum dignity needed to survive. In fact, it’s possible that the victim of Oyamada’s bullying may have committed suicide. Such indirect killings still continue today. In that case, the problem is not just a special case of Mr. Oyamada. Therefore, we should clarify what kind of historical context and relationship mechanism caused the bullying he was involved in. That would be our responsibility as we were ‘called’ by this tragic bullying incident.
Whenever I talk about bullying, some fools say, “I would never do such a thing,” but I say, “You might not, but your children might, and your friends might.” Think about that. In any case, if you adjust to the level of a fool, nothing will start.
DARTH: I have children myself, and I think many parents worry that their child might be bullied. But at the same time, they must also worry that their children might be the bully. I think that’s very important.
DARTH: There is no single problem that can be solved by blaming one person saying, “This is the bad one”. For example, removing a cast from a show is no solution, you’ve just removed them from your sight. Getting him out of sight is not a solution to the problem. The only way to solve the problem is to face the cause and the way of thinking, that led to the problem. Unfortunately, the action to remove Mr. Oyamada from public eye at various places was extremely unconstructive and irresponsible.
Miyadai: Yes. We need people to understand deeply how important the issue of ‘crime and responsibility’ as mentioned in former President Weizsäcker’s parliamentary speech, especially the importance of ‘forever taking responsibility through action’. At the same time, since the problem is extremely universal, I would like people to correct their own behavior instead of just being appalled.
Right now, I think everyone is feeling relieved that Oyamada has been eliminated and that he is no longer visible. But the moment you feel relieved, you have forgotten everything. That’s why the cycle of ‘public outcry, apology, and relief’ is repeated endlessly. It’s really inferior. Instead, it is important for Mr. Oyamada to keep popping up here and there, reminding himself each time, and be persistently asked if he is still being responsible for his past. Mr. Oyamada’s persistent response should foster an unprecedented level of trust. That’s what we should be hoping to see.
Born in Sendai City in 1959. Professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University. He specializes in sociology and is also a film critic. In the 1990s, he attracted attention with his essays on paid-dating and the Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese cult group) incident, and has since continued to critique politics and society through a variety of media. He is the author of numerous books, including “Sociology from Age 14” (published by Chikuma Bunko) and “Japan’s Difficulties” (published by Gentosha Shinsho). His most recent book is “Accelerating Collapse: “Society” Sinks and “the World” Emerges” (blueprint)
『Why Don’t You Eat Carrots』(1971) Faust
『Oh Yeah』 (1972) CAN
『Full Cirle R.P.S（No.7）』(1981) Holger Czukay
『Velvet Voyage』(1977) Klaus Schulze
『BBC 1.3.73-The Lurcher』Faust
The artists listed here are those who, in a sense, are willing to accept the responsibility of being a ‘backward Germany’. Therefore, they tried to avoid being mainstream by fronting tackiness, making it dissonant and avoiding rhythm. The members of CAN, including Holger Czukay, were Stockhausen’s students. The members of Faust rejected Germany after the war, formed a commune, and lived and recorded in deserted schools while living there. Klaus Schulze was a graduate student who specialized in Jungian psychology and held a strong opinion that the rock music of his time was wrong. By the way, Schulze defines the rock music at his time as ‘British and American ass-kisser rock’. (Miyadai)
Born in Paris, France in 1977. Raised in London. Dropped out of the University of Tokyo. Musician, rapper, MC, and vocalist of the three-piece band The Bassons. In 2010, he suffered a stroke and lost his left eye sight due to complications. His books include “DARTHREIDER Autobiography: NO Restraint” (Rice Press).
『Meu Mundo E Uma Bola (Main Theme) “My World Is A Ball”- Version1』Sérgio Santos Mendes
『Little Pad』The Beach Boys
『Boogie back tonight』Kenji Ozawa feat. Scha Dara Parr