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


15th Anniversary Concert “Gift” DVD Cover Art
Maaya Sakamoto 15th Anniversary Concert “Gift” at the Nippon Budōkan

“Gift” MC #5

The next song is the last one.

(cries of surprise, disappointment)

When I was 16, without any warning at all I suddenly, through some strange twist of fortune, made my CD debut. I was your average high school girl who just liked to sing, and I’m still that way today, but at the very start, I really thought ever since that time in my childhood that there wasn’t anything that unique about me, that I was a plain, uninteresting girl, so finding something that even I could do, and hearing people say they liked what they heard, and hearing them praise me—that made me extremely happy, and that time when I started singing was filled with joy.

(male voice: “You were cute!”)

I still am, aren’t I? (smile)

(laughter, applause)

But after that, since I was still very much a child, I set foot in that career without having a clear idea of what it meant to have me, to have my name be packaged and sent out everywhere to places I had never seen, and appear in magazines and all sorts of media, and after a while, I actually started to feel a little scared of that. By which I mean, when I think about how people I’ve never met are imagining me, and all kinds of things about me, saying “Maaya Sakamoto is this kind of girl,” or “I’m sure she’s like this,” even though I don’t even know myself that well, it was like, I wonder what is everyone else thinking? What kind of person am I? I don’t really know—what should I do? And yet everyone seemed to be paying so much attention to me, and since I was a child, there was a period when I really struggled with that idea. But as I think about it today, I think that was when I started to produce music as a true expression of myself.

That was right around the time I was working on my album “DIVE”, when I was 18. Looking back, 18 is really young. But, at the time, while I wrote those lyrics, I thought seriously about what kind of person I am, but…I didn’t really know. I didn’t know, but there was something vague and cloudy there, and I thought just maybe I could turn that into words, so I put everything I had into trying to know myself through the lyrics…as I wrote them. While I was choosing songs for my 15th anniversary commemorative album, every song I chose is really a continuation of “DIVE” from back then—I simply wanted with all my heart to know, and although I’m really just one tiny individual, as I sought out my place in the vastness around me, I wrote the last song for today during that time when I started to earnestly ponder what it was I could do.

I really have a deep sense right now of just how crucial staying the course is. 15 years after starting something I didn’t really understand at 18, I look back, and it’s just really, I feel so glad I’ve kept living out the rest of that story all this time, and as a result, when I realize that through this, many people hear my songs and feel something in them, it makes me very happy, and I want to tell this to the girl I was in my teens: “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” All sorts of people are, through me, and I’m sure more than seeing me, I’ve started to think that they’re seeing themselves. Since I’m probably just an average, plain human being, and since everyone is projecting themselves onto that, recently I’ve thought that maybe people listen to my songs as though they were their own. That’s such a comfort, and a joy now. Thank you. So with that…


The last song, “I.D.”