Author Shigemi Komatsu has portrayed Hidetoshi Nakata, Ichiro, YOSHIKI, and Ayumi Hamasaki, among others, who represent the biggest names in their respective fields. Motoki Kobayashi, author of “Sayonara, Ken Noguchi,” nominated for the “2022 Yahoo! News Bookstore Award for Best Nonfiction Book. How have these two writers dealt with “superhumans”? This is the second part of a series of articles following the first part.
Kobayashi: Many superstars have offered to write books for Mr. Komatsu. For example, Mr. YOSHIKI offered to write a book about himself. I read in your book that on the day you met for the first time, YOSHIKI-san was three hours late for the meeting.
Komatsu That’s right. Stars don’t always arrive on time (laughs). The first interview was for a magazine. I talked to YOSHIKI, who was wearing a suit and sunglasses, for about three hours, and when I was getting ready to leave, YOSHIKI said, “Mr. Komatsu, do you have a little more time? I said, “Sure. I told him, “Of course,” and there was silence for 10 minutes, after which he began to talk about the death of his father by suicide, saying, “Actually, I am going to tell you something that I have not told anyone since I was in the fifth grade of elementary school.
He told us in tears that he had been burdened with unbearable sadness at the sudden and unexpected death of his beloved father, that he could not escape from the sadness forever, and that the pain was the starting point of X JAPAN’s songwriting. He also said, “I want to tell this story to my fans, so please write about it in your manuscript, Mr. Komatsu. That interview led to a book , “YOSHIKI/YOSHIKI,” which took 10 years to complete.
Secretly borrowing a phone number
Kobayashi: Mr. Komatsu was the first person to whom YOSHIKI confided the story of his father’s suicide. I feel that the true essence of Mr. Komatsu lies in the fact that someone who would have ultimate naïve sensibilities like his opens up his heart.
I also admire Komatsu-san’s courage in taking 10 years to complete his research and draw the work, and I am sure that many people will see the resulting work and say, “I want you to write about me and mine, too.
Komatsu Thank you very much. When I meet a person whom I love and respect, I have a deep desire to convey his or her life in print. I sometimes feel that the strength of this desire is connected to my writing. You also have a strong desire to meet and work with people, don’t you? I was shocked by the episode in which you decided to meet two great people, Mr. Ryu Murakami and Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, before meeting Mr. Ken Noguchi, and really went to meet them, becoming a team member and working with them.
Kobayashi: When you were a student, you were captivated by Ryu Murakami’s works and thought, “I want to meet him no matter what. At that time, what naturally came to my mind was, “We live on the same planet, so if I really try, I can meet him.
Komatsu You were fearless (laugh) to visit your parents’ home in Nagasaki unexpectedly, become friends with your father, and borrow the phone number of Mr. Murakami’s home in Yokohama while he was in the bathroom. You also wanted to meet Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, so you stormed into his house in Denenchofu.
Kobayashi: I was in my fourth year of college at the time, and Mr. Ishihara was the governor of Tokyo (first term). I was excited to imagine what I would see if I met and worked with him.
So I made a proposal for Mr. Ishihara’s official website and brought it to him. But when I went to his house, I found a police box. The policeman said, ‘I’ll take care of it,’ but it was meaningless because it would be combined with other mail. I thought that the difference in fate was whether or not I could negotiate and press the intercom at his house. I persisted, saying that if they wouldn’t let me press the intercom, I would come every day (laughs).
What “top-notch people” have in common
Komatsu No, it’s wonderful. They are crazy, defying the barriers of common sense (laughs). But looking back, how did you feel when you actually spent time with these people who could be considered superhuman?
KOBAYASHI: Actually, there was a time when I did not have a positive impression of the time I spent with the three of you. It was all my own fault, but there was a time when I was financially impoverished, mentally and physically ill, and repeatedly changed jobs. There were times when I regretted that I should have found a job.
But I can’t start talking about that now. The only thing I can do is to try to affirm my past self. At that time, I remembered what the three of you told me. Mr. Murakami told me, “You have to have something that no one else can beat. Mr. Ishihara said, “Life is a theater where you perform your passion. And Mr. Noguchi said, “There is a difference between ‘wanting to do’ and ‘doing. Kobayashi, you have to keep the knack for the knack.
What all three of them had in common was “a serious attitude to live life only once. So I decided to take a last chance and write one more time, and this time it took shape, and the reactions of those around me changed like the blacks in Othello turning to whites. And I think I was also able to affirm the many things that had happened in my past.
Lastly, the same question, but what kind of influences have you been affected by in your portrayal of the lives of these superhumans?
Komatsu I felt the “power to believe in myself,” so to speak, to be able to be honest with my own inner voice and inner sense of discomfort. Take Ichiro, for example. There was a time when he was at his best, hitting 10 hits in a row. But when I talked to him, he was struggling, saying, “I’m in the worst condition. He said, “It’s just the angle of the ball and the condition of the ground that makes it a hit, but I myself am at my worst. Normally, if you hit 10 hits in a row, you would ignore it even if you felt somewhat uncomfortable, because the result is everything. But Ichiro never ignores the little voice that comes from within him.
And conversely, when he was in a major slump after a string of mediocre at-bats. At that time, he would say, “Mr. Komatsu, there are not many weeks in a year when I can play baseball so comfortably. You say with a smile, “I haven’t produced any hits with a little timing, but I feel confident that I can still grow if I keep hitting the way I am now. Hearing these words, I gasped and wondered how he could have such a strong sense of self.
As you can see, not only Mr. Ichiro, but all top-notch people have one thing in common: they all have their own firm logic or theory. No matter what anyone says, they never bend. This is because it is their own truth. And because they have the power to believe in themselves, they take on the next challenge and enter an upward spiral.
They also said this. No one knows who they really are. The strength to overcome that loneliness is necessary to break the barrier of limitations. I would like to take the words of such a solitary person and continue to write books.
Composition & Speaker： Motoki Kobayashi
Born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1978. His book "Sayonara, Ken Noguchi" (Shueisha International), about mountain climber Ken Noguchi after 10 years as his manager, was nominated as a finalist for the "Ken Kaiko Nonfiction Award.
Speaker： Narumi Komatsu
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1962. After working for an advertising agency, began writing in 1989. Author of many books, including "Hidetoshi Nakata: Kodo" (Gentosha), "YOSHIKI/Yoshiki" (Kadokawa Shoten), and "M: Someone to Love" (Gentosha).