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TRANSLATED ARTICLE FROM THE MAGAZINE
by Xiaoxin of MashaPlus Info Forum
Note : The notes in blue are by Xiaoxin herself! The original links are here for Part 1 and here for Part 2, both at Masha Heart.
As a musician, he is commencing his 20th year in the industry as well as playing Sakamoto Ryoma in Taiga Drama next year. As an artist, he is now presenting completely new performances. His adventurousness, eagerness to explore and the fact that he is active in many different areas would make people think that he is similar to Sakamoto Ryoma, who led Japan into reforms.
In the next 120 minutes, taking “Fukuyama = Ryoma” as the premise, he told us a lot about Fukuyama Masaharu in Heisei 22, which covers work, love and marriage.
Views about “Blessing”/"Theory of Happiness" (幸福論 Koufukuron)The definition of “blessing”/"Theory of Happiness" should not be determined by the majority’s view. It is more important for you to work this out for yourself.
When considering how to live your life in the current era, I think it is important to define the meaning of “blessing” in your own way.
It should not be what most people regard as blessing. Rather, it should be something that you can feel “Oh~this is it!” from your heart. Something personal.
This view would not change, I think, no matter during the chaotic Bakumatsu period (Xiaoxin: "Late Tokugawa Shogunate" -- end of Edo period in Japan, when Ryoma lived) or in the future when the human race expanding onto the moon.
Due to information overfloat nowdays, sometimes people will take the common standard to determine “blessing”, such as being rich or becoming famous etc. However, opposing views have developed overtime as well. Such as the term “the Winning Side” (勝ち組) has been popular for sometime as well as the idea of “Slow Life”. It is a bit embarassing to talk about “Slow Life” now, though (laugh).
That’s why I believe it is no good to determine “blessing” according to the trend, a certain moment or the public opinion. It is excellent if you can find your own version of “blessing”. This happens all the time in man-woman love relationships. Although some people may advise “you’d better give up!”, if the couple think that this is fine, there is no room for other people to comment. Afterall, it is their own private matter. If both of them think there is no problem, then this is a type of “blessing” too.
I am the type that never gets the “blessing”.A performer would never have “blessing” for his whole life? (laugh)
Although this is my belief, I haven’t drawn the conclusion yet (laugh). This is because I always want to search for something new (and never be satisfied. – Xiaoxin’s interpretation.) That’s why I am the type that would “never be blessed” (laugh).
This “searching for more” is the food for creativity which is related to my performance. Perhaps I am very suited to this type of work (laugh). Those who want to take performance as their profession might never get the “blessing”, as there is no ending to it.
If you can find something you can accept and feel satisfied about, it is a blessing. My (ex-)classmates look very much blessed as they can see their answers. It doesn’t matter whether their houses are small or facing the sun, they always try to find something good in it. For example, they would say “although my house is small, it is still great!!”. On the other side, they would say to me “you have always been asking “is that anything more? would there be more out there?” why are you searching so hard? ” They always try to persuade me (laugh).
Although I am not trying to say “just love the people around you (will do)”, you will never be blessed if you don’t accept what you have at certain aspects. When looking back at my life, it would be good enough if I could say “well, although I have been looking for things all along, I feel being blessed overall”. However only at the last second that I realised “the process of searching is a kind of blessing afterall”. Before that I kept looking out for things and it was just so tiring! (laugh).
Of course, I have my “blessed” moments too. For example, I feel really blessed when seeing the audience’s smiling faces during my concerts. I sometimes said in my concerts that, the audience might feel that they were seeing something bright and shiny from the stage. However their smiles were even brighter to us. I don’t get to see this very often and it is really awesome! I felt truly blessed when I was at those moments.
However the thought that “I am doing it for this” doesn’t suit me at all. “Their smiles are all because of me” --- I would never have thought so (laugh).------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Reference:
“Slow Life”: Japanese-English – evolved from the word “Slow Food”. It is a response to the fast moving pace of life in the modern society that we need to live more slowly and culturally.
“Winning Side”, “Losing Side” : originates from the conflict between two groups of Japanese immigrants in Brazil. After World War Two, those who believed Japan was defeated were taken as the “Losing Side”. Those who believed that Japan didn’t lose and that it was only a strategy were taken as the “Winning Side”. In the 1990’s, businesses which survived the economic downturn were the “Winning Side” and vice versa.
Views about "Romance"
I am the type that will never be able to say to someone “let’s get married!”.It doesn’t matter at what age, being in love is a necessity.
Although it is different from those deliberate “sweet talks” (to please someone) in social relationships, sometimes we do see the situation where “the one who speaks out first would win” in a love relationship, right?
If a person to whom you have no feeling towards suddenly says “let’s go out for dinner” or “let’s get married”, I think most people would start liking that other person, more or less.
Of course, this wouldn’t apply if you already dislike that other person from the beginning.
The point here is not that you really want to marry that person, but you are touched by the fact that someone loves you to the extent that he/she wants to marry you.
“Gosh! I didn’t realise he/she loves me so much!!” you would exclaim.
It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, if you could say “let’s get married” to someone, it is really great! (laugh).
If someone says to you “I like (love) you” many times, you would feel you need to respond to it, right? However I am not the type that is able to speak this out. I do want to say this out to my heart’s content but I just can’t. Sorry! (laugh)
However, please let me make a statement: “it’s me who want to be like this!” (laugh)
If I can say this out easily, there is no reason for me to write songs anymore. Songs are love letters that carry the thoughts that you can’t express verbally. If I am able to speak out “I want to marry you. Let’s be together everafter. Let me look after you”etc, I would have got married by now, perhaps. I could even be divorced. (laugh). The partner (hypothetic wife) might say “I married you because of what you said before. How come it hasn’t come true at all!?” As a result of that, she couldn’t stand it anymore.
That’s why, as a person who can’t speak out love words, I want to keep this integrity and only use songs to deliver my thoughts about someone. That’s what this is all about. Excuse me, everyone! (laugh). .
For me, I am not able to turn moments of blessing into songs. Rather, in order to let go some of the regrets that have sunk deep down into my heart, I am like writing songs in a confessional. When I was writing Hatsukoi (the latest single), it was really tough! This is not a sweet song. It was really harsh and unbearable!
Perhaps it is rude to my first love if I say this: my first love (affair) wasn’t all that beautiful….but she was very pretty though! (laugh)
When I was young, I didn’t really know how to love. I don’t quite know even now! Before I thought it was all my fault (that we split up). Now when I look back, it probably wasn’t the case. I now think it was caused mutually, by both of us.
The type of woman one wants to be with could vary greatly over time, depending on the circumstances.
Ryoma-san was very active spiritually during his last 5 years (age 28-33). I think the types of woman that would suit him and not suit him could be easily distinguished. According to historical information, Ryoma’s wife, O-Ryou-san, had an eccentric personality in the eyes of others. After Ryoma’s passing away, she left the Sakamoto family despite other people’s bad comments. Her deicison is understandable though, I think.
Considering someone in his 30s, what sort of woman he would like to be with, given that he is very active? I think it would be the same in a woman’s case. She would probably want someone energetic as well.
In the light of this, if Ryoma wasn’t assassinated, would he still want to be with O-Ryou-san in his 40s or 50s? Depending on the circumstances, the type of woman that one wants to be with could vary greatly over time,
Of course, it doesn’t matter at what age, being in love is a necessity.
For my current situation, if I pair up with someone just like me, it would be really hard! (laugh) On the other hand, a girl who is a bit muddled would suit me better now. When I am tired, it is better to be with someone whom I can get along with in a relaxing way.
Again, this is not an easy article. You maybe sick of my repetitive choice of words or clumsy sentences by now. English is not my first language and I mostly use it in business writing. So please bear with me! I hope this is understandable, at least. Don’t expect me to match Izumi’s high standard!
This articles reveals Masha’s current love view, which I think would interest fans a lot!
Views about Cuteness ( 可愛さ Kawaisa)
“This is my first time!”
“Only you would have done this (for me)!”
I think these 3 lines would be enough!!
I think Ryoma-san is a cute, likable and single-minded person. For those who are eager to achieve, just having a strong will is not enough. If you were not cute or likable, no one would want to come close to you. Not everyone, even Ryoma-san, has a big vision and ambition all the time. If someone has a charisma that can attract people around, there must be “cuteness” inside that too.
So what is cuteness?
“Oh, I don’t know about this! Can you tell me?” Someone who admits his ignorance when coming across topics that he has no idea about. Someone that is curious to things that are unknown and listen to other people with great interest. That alone is very attractive! It doesn’t matter how old you are, there are still a lot of things that you don’t know. Isn’t it true?
So, what sort of girl is cute? I am very clear about this though…..
This is from the point of view of an oji-san (uncle) (laugh). A cute girl needs to be silly in certain ways. It is more likable if she is a bit “loosen” (xiaoxin: vs tight and strict). If she is too serious, she is not very approachable for guys, right? Of course there are many different types of “loosen” people. For a man, although he may not think his jokes is up to any good, he would still be very happy if a girl laughs at his jokes (laugh).
Compared to the “keep-it-to-yourself honesty” , the “out-spoken cuteness” is more advantageous.
In the orientation course of a famous business corporation, new female staff is asked to memorise 3 lines:
“Wonderful!”“This is my first time!”“Only you would have done this (for me)!”
They are instructed to “apply” these words onto their male colleagues.
I reckon these 3 sentences alone are sufficient to reflect cuteness.
For example, in the scenario of a male supervisor telling off his female subordinate like “you can’t do this” or “in this situation you should do it that way….” etc. If the girl then replies “Thank you! Only senpai* would have told me this!”. The man would feel “Oh really!!? ♥” (laugh).
(* xiaoxin: senpai: Japanese way of addressing someone who is more senior at work or school. It means someone who started earlier then you in that place.)
The same theory applies to restaurant dating. Assuming that the guy has taken a long time to choose a restaurant, if the girl says “Oh wonderful! This is my first time here. The food is delicious!!”, the guy will feel very satisfied. It is like that in real life, as men’s approach to love is not very sophisticated. (xiaoxin: in the original script, the last sentence is “men are at a very low level regarding love”.)
Girls who can talk like this could become “women’s enemies” in some situations. A man would still feel happy even though he can sense what the girl says is fake and just for flattering. Why’s that? This is because the man would think “that girl is only trying to get people to like her!”
Regardless of what she says, her action is just to trying to make herself likable to others. On the other hand, those who are not able to speak out in this way would also have their own cuteness and men know about that too. However it is harder to detect if they don’t voice it out. So the former is more advantageous in human relationships. It is understandable that some girls are unable to “sweet talk” in such a way as they are more honest. However, I still hope they would try.
Afterall, you see~~people are not just listening to what she says, they can feel that she is really trying hard, right!? Therefore, although men can tell she is not serious about she says, they still won’t reject or deny it.
On the opposite side, those girls whose cuteness is hardly noticeable could push responsibility back onto you by saying “please understand I am not able to do this…” If you have to reply “how can you turn me down straightaway without even trying?”, it is meaningless already.
I think this is quite common in an office ~ well, like those who suck up to other people (laugh). Sucking-up has its own meaning too….it means that you are trying very hard. It doesn’t really matter even if everyone can tell (that you are sucking up). Well, I don’t work at an office so I am not sure about the real life situation. However in terms of human relationships, I reckon there would be similar scenarios.
This one is…still not easy but not as hard as I thought at the beginning. I got my other half to proof-read it and he thought it makes sense. So I am relieved!
I think this article reveals that Japan is still a male-dominated society regardless of all these strong women we saw in TV dramas. However my other half suggests that this is a true reflection of male psychology. I would be interested to see what you girls think!
Views about Reform (維新 Ishin)
The only “reform” that I have ever had is moving to Tokyo. If I didn’t do so when I was 18, I probably would have stayed in my hometown all the way. It doesn’t mean that I had a very big vision though. I wanted to form a band but there was no hurry to find band members. That was how I felt then. However I became more desperate when my housemate was spotted by a talent scout. Then, when I heard about an audition for a movie announced on TV, I thought to myself “maybe I should give it a go.” This has opened the door for me to the industry. After joining my agency (Amuse), I thought if I told them that “no~~ I want to play music instead”, something should happen. You see, I really thought like a villager!! It is like buttoning up the wrong holes on your shirt.
I had never thought that I would act in Taiga Drama. This role is so different from Mr Galileo and Chii-ni-chan (Hitotsu Yane no Shita) (laugh). When they asked me to take up the role, of course I started to think about it. It is like, when someone tells me that she likes me, I will start paying attention to her (laugh).
In Japan, only one person would receive this invitation for each year. That is nothing more honourable than this, I think. Although I was not sure whether I was able to do it, the fact that I got the invitation could be seen as a kind of fate where me and Taiga “met”. I wanted to consider it at this level.
Well, someone like me….how do I say it?? I wasn’t the type who felt that there was no way out, then thought very hard about what I should do and then just turn into who I am now. I think Ryoma san was the same, though. He wouldn’t had thought of turning himself into the Sakamoto Ryoma that everyone know nowadays at the very beginning. He just went one step at one time with his vision and then gradually turned into the iconic “Sakamoto Ryoma”. I think most people are like that too. Even if you want to become a certain type of person, you would always end up turning into someone different at the end.
I think those who progress with the Zeitgeist are happier. This would be the same in future. There is nothing better than “just go with the flow and you will still get fed” (laugh). Set targets and work towards them. Challenge yourself with things that interest you. This is the basic attitude that I recommend. I know it sounds like the weathervane. However, there is a real need to see where is the wind is blowing to, social trends and so on. Most important of all, is how you adapt to this change. For example, during the Meiji period, Iwasaki Yataro successfully seized the opportunity and established the foundation for Mitsubishi, in which the company carries on til now. Recently there has been an IT revolution which generates “Hillzoku” (people who live in Roppongi Hills). This is a wave generated by the Zeitgeist as well.
The Zeitgeist sometimes produces things that only lasts a short while. Whether the timing is right is the key to your success afterwards. On the other hand, there are examples where people live their lives totally disregarding the trend and are still happy.
If you ask me which type I am, I would say those who progress with the Zeitgeist are happier people. In that context, what I choose to do will depend on the Zeitgeist too. Music, acting and radio broadcasting all have their own meanings. If I can understand them at depth, they would influence my philosophy and aesthetics about life.
I am a bit of a “perve” who want to try out many different things (laugh). When I say this, it feels like I have let go myself. I am not sure what type of person I am, all along. Perhaps I am now watching myself objectively, with interest: “from now on, what would this person do? What job will he take up and what sort of know-how will he be bringing into these jobs?”
~ The End