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Maaya Sakamoto: I.D.

Part 4 of 68 in a series:

“Maaya Sakamoto: I.D.”, the radio program I host, as of this month has entered its fourth year on the air! Regrettably, only those living in the Kantō area have had a chance tune in every Sunday to this 25-minute show on Nack5 over the past three years. Thank you for all your postcards!

The show began in 1998. Which means I was 18― a first-year college student. It was just prior to the release of my second album, “DIVE”. Now, three years into the show, I feel we’ve been able to stick to the themes and goals I formed early on for when I had my own radio program.

The first of these is the “Maaya’s FILE” corner. For this corner I play a song every week from a favorite female artist. This “only songs from female artists” rule has gone unchanged since the very first broadcast. That being said, I actually wasn’t particular about this rule when the show started—I kind of felt that just playing my favorite music wasn’t that original, so without much further thought I decided to limit it to female artists… (All the while thinking I could change it to “only male artists” if I tired of that rule later on.) But for whatever reason my director was adamant when it came to this rule, and whenever I felt like abandoning it he wouldn’t agree, telling me to stay with it a little longer.

Looking back now, the longer I kept at it, the more my interest in and knowledge of female artists around the world expanded, and I think it’s had a positive effect on me. I’m thankful my director opposed changing the rule.

The other mainstay is the listener postcard corner. This corner arose from my wish to “play catch with the audience”. When I read listener mail, I want to not only respond, but to also invite discussion from everyone on the same theme over several weeks, whether it’s a listener offering a comment on a different listener’s opinion from the previous week, or many listeners chiming in with insights and opinions around a single question. This kind of back-and-forth conversation, like chains joined into many loops, is what I hoped to accomplish on this show.

Through changing themes and styles, this corner has continued for three years. I’m always thrilled to see the piles of postcards that come in for each theme. What thrills me most isn’t the quantity of postcards, but the contents. This is because I feel that being able to express your opinion in response to various themes and events is vital.

For instance, if you’re asked, “Will this relationship work out?” it matters little whether you answer “It will!” or “Not a chance!” The crucial thing is being able to say why you think that way. Nearly all of the listeners are my age or younger. Because of that we should be proud that we, the members of this young generation, are discussing our opinions and reporting on our endeavors, and I hope people of all generations will turn their ears to this lively forum.

I have an amazing staff. They are my good advisers, my wise counsel, and my friends. We get along so well, and often go out for dinner together. I honestly don’t have any confidence in my rhetoric (haha, what a strange choice of word). It’s not that I get so nervous in front of people that I clam up—that’s not it, but since it’s not as if the things I think and feel are vacuum-sealed for presentation, it’s scary. There are so many feelings I want to convey and things I want heard, but I lose confidence when I look for the words or styles that best communicate my thoughts. So I’ve always had a habit of hiding my true feelings and sealing up words in my heart. Of course I tell myself that everything will work out if I ignore my fears and speak from my heart.

So I realize radio is not one of my specialties. The fear may never go away. But thanks to my wonderful staff and the constant words of support from my listeners, I’m having a blast with I.D. And as someone who grew up more on radio than TV, to be able to work in the world of radio makes me feel very, very fortunate. I couldn’t be happier. I sincerely hope this show will last for a long time.

Just a thought, but do you suppose the very areas you’re not good at are the areas that are full of chances to learn and grow? Now that we’ve reached our fourth year, I hope to grow even more as I work hard to make it a fun show. More than anything I hope to learn how to speak honestly and straight from my heart. Please don’t forget to tune in!!


Part 4 of 68 in a series: