"In Japan during the Covid-19 lock down we saw a movement. It was created from a woman who raised her voice to say NO via SNS to one of the controversial bills, a revision of the public prosecutor's office law* that was about to go through the Lower House without a fair public hearing. This tiny voice of hers went viral and formed an online demonstration to protect our democracy. It is very rare in Japan for the public to be actively involved in any policies. Alas the bill was temporarily suspended because many finally stood up.
When we threw lots of small stones, the mountain got moved a little. However we shouldn’t celebrate yet. We need to be calm and grounded and observe what the government will do.” says Kyoko Koizumi, an actress and a producer whom I respect dearly. Her phrases sums up things that do not change so easily.
*A proposed legal revision that would raise the retirement age for prosecutors became the centre of controversy this week when it was taken up by the Lower House. Unlike officials in other administrative organizations, prosecutors have wide powers to investigate, arrest and indict anyone, even prime ministers and other high officials. They must remain highly neutral and independent from other authorities and political powers. Since the proposed revision could allow the Cabinet to intervene in the personnel affairs of prosecutors’ offices, many experts fear it could jeopardize the independence of prosecutors and the separation of powers.
The music of Eric Dolphy lives with Breathing.
We never forget the day May 25th 2020 for the world we can freely breath in and out.
「Two Blue Kites」
June 4th 1989 , it is a very memorable day for me.
31 years ago I took part in a demonstration for the first time ever in my life. It was a small resistance held in Tokyo. I was with the Chinese people raising my voice out loud in the crowd. I couldn’t do anything but I felt that I had to do something.
In the beginning of the 90s I was going back and forth between Tokyo and Hong Kong making music. I was offered to make music for a film portrait the night before the Chinese Cultural Revolution called “ The Blue Kite”. The producer of this film invited me to make the music for the film. The film director was banned from making this film in mainland China and he escaped to Japan via Hong Kong. The film was finally completed in Japan. Hong Kong was still in British colony then. This film made my film music career begin.
June 4th 2020 The Hong Kong government banned the public to organise and attend the candlelight rallies to mark the Tiananmen Square massacre. Despite the harsh policing and the Covid-19 regulation many people (still) defied the ban and tried to attend the commemoration. I was thinking of many of my friends there at the moment.
I wonder how this little country, Hong Kong, that “brought me up” and “ shaped me who I am today” will be from now. My heart is full of concern for its future.
The film The Blue Kite is still banned in China to this date."
- Otomo Yoshihide
In Japanese / 日本語訳
「Two Blue Kites」
90年代初頭、わたしは香港と東京を行き来して音楽をつくっていた。そんな中1993年、文化大革命前夜の北京を描いた「The Blue Kite」という中国映画の音楽を作ることになったのが、わたしが映画の世界に入る切っ掛けだった。中国で作ることを禁じられ、香港経由でフィルムを持って日本に脱出した監督が東京で完成させた映画で、香港のプロデューサーがわたしを誘ってくれたのだ。当時香港はまだイギリス領だった。
「The Blue Kite」は今でも中国での上映が禁止されている。
Otomo Yoshihide moves between free jazz, noise, improvisation, composition and the unclassifiable with a generosity that opens up the possibilities for expression in all of the constellations with which he's involved. He spent his teenage years in Fukushima, about 300 kilometers north of Tokyo. Influenced by his father, an engineer, Otomo began making electrical devices such as a radio and an electronic oscillator. In junior high school, his hobby was making sound collages using open-reel tape recorders. This was his first experience creating music. Soon after entering high school he formed a band which played rock and jazz, with Otomo on guitar. It wasn't long, however, before he became a free jazz aficionado, listening to artists like Ornette Coleman, Erick Dolphy and Derek Bailey; and hearing music, both on disk and at concerts, by Japanese free jazz artists. Especially influenced by alto sax player Kaoru Abe and guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Otomo decided to play free jazz.
In 1990, Otomo started what was to become Ground Zero. Until it disbanded in March 1998, the band was at the core of his musical creativity, while it underwent several changes in style and membership. Since Ground Zero, Otomo has embraced minimal improvisation, film music and the jazz/big band conceptions of his New Jazz Quartet/Quintet/Orchestra.