Collected translations of Maaya Sakamoto news, essays, interviews, and articles


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Celebrating Four Years

Part 24 of 68 in a series:

“Maaya Sakamoto: I.D.”, my radio show (on NACK5), had the good fortune this October to mark four full years on the air. To celebrate this special occasion, I used the month’s final broadcast to put on a concert! I had never before done an on-air concert, and although I felt oddly nervous it was exhilarating! The three songs I sang—“Daniel” from “Music for 11 p.m.”, which reached stores this year; the Beatles’ “Here, There, and Everywhere”; and “Rule ~ Unfading Days” from my album “Lucy”—were my way of saying thanks to all of you, my loyal listeners. The feedback messages from everyone who tuned in keep pouring in! I’m excited to see such a big response! I’m so glad you enjoyed the concert. As you might expect I hoped to put on something that I too could enjoy, and on that front I obviously achieved my goal. I was able to have a blast all through the broadcast.

When I was 13, I made a small radio in my school’s technology class. That special radio introduced me to Western music, and at the same time symbolized my memories of junior high and my first crush. Every day I found an uncharted world at the flick of a switch, a world where I was encouraged by the cheerful words of the DJ on the other side of the speaker, and from which came the voices of singers who could make me cry even though I didn’t understand the English lyrics. At the time I never even imagined that one day I too would have a part in the world of radio. Even now, when I think about how my voice finds its way through radio waves into so many listeners’ ears, I honestly feel a somewhat perplexing mix of both happiness and trepidation. I’ve never thought of myself as having the gift of gab (rather, talking is one of my weak points), so when I first sat before the microphone I was deathly scared to the point my hands shook. But I enjoy reading the postcards that come in, and I’ve been able to get this far with staff who support me and listeners who sustain me. I still have yet to find confidence in my ability to talk, but I can find satisfaction if these broadcasts lift the spirits of someone somewhere—just like I was encouraged by the music from my radio many years ago.

That’s why I decided to cover the Beatles’ “Here, There, and Everywhere”, a song I first heard on the radio when I was 13. Singing this song never fails to put me in high spirits.

Since the CD that has “Daniel” went on sale this year, it was my first time to sing it live. This truly somber yet powerful song stands out as one of my favorites. And as I sang the last song, “Rule”, I reflected on how well its lyrics link with the passage of four years’ time. It takes on an especially satiny sound with a single guitar for accompaniment. That reminds me—I almost forgot to mention something important. The mystery guitarist: Peso-kun. It was a recorded show, but we recorded it with exactly the same setup as a live broadcast, so the studio was filled with the same kind of tension as a live show. I also felt tense, but my mood was purely cheerful. It seems to me that having people listen to my music is the smoothest way for me to communicate. I suppose that’s why I feel so happy when I can sing.

The members of the “I.D.” staff haven’t changed since my debut. We mesh very well, and yet I think we have wonderful relationships where we inspire each other. I’m thankful to them for supporting me.

To you who tuned in, and also to you who weren’t able to pick up the show from your area: “I.D.” has the same title as the first track recorded on my second album, “DIVE”. It stands for “identity”. The song’s lyrics are those I wrote as I gazed at the stars outside the studio on Lake Yamanaka. Back then, at 18, I wanted to know myself more than anything else in the world. I believed I had no way to go forward without knowing anything about myself. Four years have passed; I’m 22, and all I can say is, “It’s an eternal mystery!” Thinking about something doesn’t guarantee an answer. Even supposing I were to reach an answer, I wouldn’t know whether it’s what I’ve been searching for. But I believe there’s meaning in continuing my search. Making mistakes, taking the long way, wasting time—nothing’s wrong with that! In a way I’m revamping my approach. As I go on to future works and interactions with people, my I.D. will always come into the picture. I know this is my eternal theme, as well as my personal challenge and quest. I hope that you’ll forgivingly accept even those broadcasts when I’m speaking total nonsense!

Wait, what’s this? It does seem like I’m making up a convenient excuse, but in any case, I’ll keep on this voyage with my I.D. I’ll aim for even more advancement. Please keep sight of me.


Part 24 of 68 in a series: