Guitarist MIYAVI Releases His Own Brand of Sake in Collaboration with One of Kyoto’s Oldest Breweries
29.October.2019 | FOOD
MIYAVI is collaborating with the oldest brewery in Fushimi, Kyoto to create his unique brand of sake. After meeting Tokubei Masuda – the fourth generation owner of Tsuki no Katsura – a collaboration was launched to produce a new brand of Japanese sake called MIYAVI SAKE which was released in Japan on October 29.
MIYAVI wrapped up his seventh world tour last year, and even starred in the American dark fantasy film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as Udo which hit theatres earlier this month. Continuing to make achievements on a global scale, MIYAVI is now aiming to spread Japanese culture around the world. To get started, he met with Masuda Tokubei in November 2018 where he observed and studied the brewery’s sake-making process. From the precise recipes, making process, flavours and aroma to the care, tradition and history, Tsuki no Katsura made a grand impression on MIYAVI. Masuda Tokubei, who also shares in MIYAVI’s vision, agreed to the collaboration and they both set out on their project to get their brand out there to the world.
MIYAVI SAKE STANDARD Junmai Daiginjo-Shu: ¥4,300 (before tax)/ MIYAVI SAKE LIGHT Junmai-Shu: ¥3,200 (before tax)
After endless discussions between the two of them, MIYAVI and Tokubei Masuda carefully crafted the recipes to perfection. The MIYAVI SAKE collection consists of four types of junmai sake which are made from polished rice. This reduces the bitterness of the alcohol and creates a clearer flavour. MIYAVI SAKE PREMIUM is a junmai daiginjo-shu which is made without adding any extra alcohol or sugar and has been matured over 10 years. The MIYAVI SAKE STANDARD is infused with fruity flavours such as peach and lychee and is perfectly balanced and refined with a refreshing aftertaste. The MIYAVI SAKE LIGHT tastes like a fruity white wine and the MIYAVI SAKE SPARKLING is a sparkling wine which resembles champagne.
With the expertise of Tsuki no Katsura, MIYAVI’s sake is bound to get as much global attention as his guitar skills so be sure to check it out.
MIYAVI SAKE Brand Website: https://miyavisake.jp
Kyoto Station’s Beautiful Cafe Saryo Fukucha Releases New Herb Tea and Dessert Sets & Autumn Menu
Saryo Fukucha has unveiled new Japanese herb tea and dessert pairing sets as well as a batch of seasonal autumntime menu items.
Kyoto is a city where history and tradition come together, and where every single day, people from all around the world come and go, each encountering new experiences. Saryo Fukucha opened inside Kyoto Station back in April this year. It is managed by long-running tea company Fukujuen.
▼Japanese Herb Tea & Dessert Pairing Menu
Herb Tea & Dessert Sets: ¥900 Each (Before Tax) *Herb teas by themselves are ¥500 each
Running: From October 10, 2019 (Available all year round)
Hibiscus Blend Houjicha x Crème Brûlée Chocolate Berry Confiture
The tea is a luxurious and fragrant blend of light-roasted houjicha, hibiscus and rose hip. It’s perfectly paired with a rich chocolate crème brûlée and refreshing berry confiture.
Cinnamon Blend Kukicha x Mascarpone Cream & Apple Tatin
This kukicha, or twig tea, has a distinct refreshing flavour to it. It has been blended beautifully with cinnamon and chamomile. The kukicha is paired with a caramelised apple tatin which is topped with a dollop of rich mascarpone.
Peppermint Blend Kukicha x Seasonal Fruit Tart
Peppermint and chamomile are the blending ingredients for this kukicha tea. It comes with a tart with a full-bodied almond taste topped with seasonal fruits like strawberries and raspberries.
Ginger Blend Genmaicha x Tart Ricotta with Orange
Genmaicha is combined with roasted brown rice, giving it its characteristic sweet-smelling quality. Blended with ginger and dandelion leaves, it’s been matched with a fromage blanc cream-topped ricotta cheese tart with a side of orange.
Running: October 10, 2019 – Late February 2020 (subject to change)
Sasamaki Okowa (Matsutake Mushroom & Daggertooth Pike Conger/Minced Chicken & Yama no Sachi) Houjicha Set – ¥1,200 (Before Tax)
This set was created by Hisato Nakahigashi from Miyamasou, a highly-rated inn in Kyoto. Enjoy the combination of the houjicha tea with the bamboo leaf-wrapped okowa steamed rice.
Chestnut Houjicha Wafer Cake – ¥350 (Before Tax)
Not only does this wafer cake look cute, it’s packed full of autumnal ingredients too, including astringent chestnut and coarse sweet red bean paste.
FUKUCHA Specially Made Matcha Koji Sweet Sake Red Bean Soup – ¥700 (Before Tax)
The koji sweet sake used in this dessert has a gentle flavour and a strong aroma. Added to it is matcha, chestnuts, sweet potato, and rice flour dumplings, all set into a mizu manju sweet water jelly.
Japanese confections are always best paired with Japanese tea, so be sure to stop by Saryo Fukucha when travelling around Kyoto.
Address: Kyoto Station Central Exit Floor 2F (901 Higashishiokoujicho, Shiokouji Sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto)
Opening Hours: 8:30-21:00 (Last Orders 20:30)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://fukucha-fukujuen.com/
New Website Launched for Foreigners to Learn About the Wonders of Kyoto
09.October.2019 | SPOT
The Kyoto by the Sea Destination Management/Marketing Organization (DMO) is a general incorporated association that works over 7 cities in the northern region of Kyoto Prefecture. Aiming to increase the amount of information about Kyoto in English for foreigners, they recently opened a brand new website which was created and is managed by their International Promotions Manager Jesse Efron.
Jesse Efon is an American who moved to Japan to work as an Assistant Language Teacher in Kyoto. Jesse worked at a local elementary and middle school for four years in Kyotango. After training as a local guide and advisor, Jesse rose to Promotion Manager for the DMO. Standing by his motto of “follow your curiosity,” Jesse created the Kyoto by the Sea English website to spread news about Kyoto to foreigners.
The English version of the website contains articles and information on what to do in Kyoto and is split into five categories: Sea Nature, Sea Heritage, Sea Food, Sea Stay and Sea Yourself. Within these categories, Jesse has uploaded a series of articles which focus on a specific location or area of culture in Kyoto and provides an in-depth explanation along with photographs. From culture and nature to food, Jesse explains the wonders of his home for other foreigners to learn more.
A Statement by Jesse Efron
Hello everyone, it is nice to meet you!
I assumed the position of International Promotions Manager in April. This puts me in charge of relaying Kyoto by the Sea news to our foreign audience. Before joining Kyoto by the Sea DMO, I worked as an Assistant Language Teacher for four years. I have lived in Taiza, Tangocho for five years. It is a great pleasure to be engaged in this work. Kyoto by the Sea works all over Kyoto so I strive to do my absolute best. My motto is “follow your curiosity” and this is what my articles are all about. Please check out the Kyoto by the Sea website.
Kyoto by the Sea
3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019
17.October.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.
Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.
KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.
Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals
Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.
The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto
Support Fund: ¥300
Official Website: http://jitokuin.com
Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours
Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.
During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November
Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.
This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.
Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto
Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100
Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp
See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.
Official Website: http://www.kyotoside.jp/
Senkyakubanrai by DAOKO X MIYAVI Unveiled as Theme Song For Sensational Movie ‘Diner’
Diner is an upcoming film adaptation of author and horror writer Yumeaki Hirayama’s 2009 novel Diner directed by Mika Ninagawa and starring Tatsuya Fujiwara ー a dream tag team! The novel was said to be so good that it cannot be made into a movie…however, it was! The movie features the fabulous actors and actresses Kanata Hongo, Masataka Kubota, Shinji Takeda, Takumi Saitoh, Eriko Sato and Nobuaki Kaneko as well as Shun Oguri, Anna Tsuchiya, Miki Maya and Eiji Okuda. For this movie, they are all playing the role of contract killers. This non-stop action film is all about pushing your instincts to the max. The movie will be released on Friday 5th July 2019.
The main theme song for the film Senkyakubanrai by DAOKO X MIYAVI can be previewed in the trailer which has finally gone public!
Last year, guitarist MIYAVI finished up his 7th world tour “DAY 2” World Tour 2018. The tour started in Tokyo and took place in a number of Japan’s cities, finally hitting up Seoul, Singapore, Taiwan, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and even Europe, Russia, the US, as well as Central and South America! The release of his album SAMURAI SESSIONS vol.3 last year in December also became very popular. Recently, he was recruited by fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto and Y-3 to take part in the worldwide advertising campaign Moncler BEYOND as a model. These are just a few examples of the many varieties of collaborations that have made MIYAVI so famous. Now, he has even created a song with DAOKO!
Rap singer DAOKO and guitarist MIYAVI’s new song Senkyakubanrai will be available for digital download and on streaming services from 3rd July!
The passionate samurai spirit of guitarist MIYAVI combined with the enthusiastic rapper DAOKO is no doubt a collaboration that will reverberate throughout the entire country, sending ripples of passion through Japan. You just can’t take your eyes off DAOKO and MIYAVI for a minute!
A statement by director Mika Ninagawa
An absolute dream come true. I am so thrilled. I’ve always been a fan of DAOKO and MIYAVI separately. One day, I was on the way to the set for the filming of the movie Diner, and I heard their song play. I thought to myself; wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work together someday? I then thought, wouldn’t it just be amazing if I could put those two in charge of the opening theme song for the movie! After that thought was in my head, I didn’t even think of considering anyone else. I asked them immediately and it’s actually happening. I just can’t express how happy I am.
Statement by DAOKO
I wanted to portray the 1v1 battle between the main characters Bombero and Kaneko in song form somehow. I was thinking of how to do this with MIYAVI when the idea crossed my mind! I challenged myself to keep to my rapping flow but to sing in a style to reflect the stubborn, strong-willed female role of Kaneko. I got really close to her personality through the lyrics and challenged myself with full power!
Statement by MIYAVI
Creating a song that perfectly describes Mika Ninagawa’s perspective was key. I thought about making something to reflect the static relationship between Bombero and Kaneko, and so I took the concept of pushing away and coming close together and worked around that. The time difference between Tokyo and Los Angeles made things a bit difficult but DAOKO putting her heart into the lyrics really helped. I can’t wait for the world to be shaken when our song along with the film are finally released!
©2019 “Diner” Production Committee ©2019 Mika Ninagawa / “Diner” Production Committee
Release on digital streaming services/digital download: Weds 3rd July 2019
Release: Friday 5th July 2019
A Warner Bros. film
Official website: diner-movie.jp
SKY-HI Releases New Music Video & Announces Miyavi as Special Guest for Tour Finale
23.November.2018 | MUSIC
Having teased it earlier this month, SKY-HI has released the full music video for What a Wonderful World!! taken from his upcoming new album JAPRISON.
The song was produced by SKY-HI himself and sees the rapper and singer take to the piano throughout. The track also features legendary Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes performing his own piano solo. Laced together with SKY-HI’s personal and emotional lyrics and a chorus by Yuuho and Kayo of SUPER FLYERS, What a Wonderful World!! will no doubt be a standout of the artist’s first album in nearly two years.
The cage in which the music video is set can be said to be symbolic of SKY-HI’s new record. Throughout our eyes are treated to a kaleidoscope of creative and avant garde visuals. The dance between SKY-HI and the skull face painted lady serves to deepen the perspective of the song that much more.
It has also been announced that internationally renowned guitarist Miyavi as well as RAU DEF and sleepyhead will join the special guest list the finale of SKY-HI’s ongoing tour SKY-HI Round A Ground 2018 which will take place at Toyosu PIT in Tokyo on December 11 and 12. There are limited tickets left for the two-nighter at Toyosu PIT
On Sale: December 12, 2018
Regular Edition (CD+SP Music): ¥3,000 (Tax Included) [AVCD-96047]
Music Video Edition: ¥5,000 (Tax Included)
What a Wonderful World!! Official Stream: https://avex.lnk.to/SKY_HI_WWW
SKY-HI ROUND A GROUND 2018 – Toyosu PIT
Special Guests (Japanese Alphabetical Order):
■December 11, 2018: Nobuaki Kaneko, Kan Sano, mabanua, Miyavi, Sleepyhead
■December 12, 2018: eill, KEN THE 390, SALU, Ja Mezz, Tak Tanaka, NovelCore, HIDEYOSHI, Takashi Mochizuki, Reddy
*Guest line-up subject to change.
Venue: Toyosu PIT
Time: Open 17:30 / Start 18:30
Price: ¥6,500 (Tax Included)
*Separate mandatory drink charged upon entry
*Tickets are numbered in order for entry
*Pre-school children not permitted entry
SKY-HI Official Homepage http://avex.jp/skyhi/
Miyavi & SKY-HI to perform theme song for stage adaptation of manga series “TOKYO TRIBE”
05.September.2017 | MUSIC
It’s been announced that internationally renowned guitarist MIYAVI will perform the official theme song for the stage adaptation of “TOKYO TRIBE,” set to begin at the end of September at TSUTAYA O-EAST in Toko before moving to Nagoya and Osaka. This first-ever stage show of the manga series, a story wrapped in conflict in a “Tokyo a little different from the real one” with rival gangs or ‘tribes’ including Shibuya Saru, Bukuro Wu-Ronz, and the Harajuku Jingus.
The original manga, “Tokyo Tribe-2,” a continuation from the first volume, has been translated into different languages and maintains a worldwide following. Miyavi, aka the “Samurai Guitarist,” has been chosen to become part of that world by writing the theme song. The song, entitled “Gemstone, was written together with Mitsuhiro Hidaka, known as a member of AAA and for his solo project SKY-HI.
Miyavi is famously known around the globe for his unparalleled slap-guitar skills. He has performed over 300 times in almost 30 countries and has successfully complete 6 world tours.
▶︎Comment from Miyavi
“I am honoured to be working with “TOKYO TRIBE” as it’s a series that I read and loved when it was being serialised. This is my first time writing a song for on stage. I am excited to see how ‘Gemstone’ which I wrote together with SKY-HI will be used in the production.”
One month remains before the show begins, but the song is already being played on air, and more songs are to make an appearance too.
A special promotional video for the stage adaptation of “TOKYO TRIBE” is already available to watch, featuring an original rap by rapper KEN THE 390, a talk with actors Ito Imagine and Hiroyuki Yashiro, and of course a teaser of the theme song “Gemstone.”
The hype is growing fast for the stage adaptation of “TOKYO TRIBE.” Have an early listen to the official theme song by Miyavi and SKY-HI!
15 bands join MIYAVI to celebrate his 15th anniversary at his special live tour “NEO TOKYO 15”
08.June.2017 | MUSIC
Internationally acclaimed guitar master MIYAVI is celebrating his 15th anniversary with a special 15-band live tour entitled NTT DOCOMO presents MIYAVI 15th Anniversary Live “NEO TOKYO 15.” The tour arrived immediately after MIYAVI ended his 6th world tour and began on May 21st.
The tour is being held in co-operation with NTT Docomo, who have created two different smartphone apps to produce a whole new way to enjoy live shows as part of their “new-style entertainment” initiative. The apps combine technology with music and are meant to stimulate each of your senses. The project is unique in that it actually encourages the use of your smartphone during live performances to enhance your experience so that you can enjoy the concerts even more.
(1) Enjoy the concerts even more with the “NEO TOKYO” App
This app is designed for the audience to enjoy live shows even more at each venue. When you open the app, your phone screen will change colours and flicker in time with the performance, allowing you to enjoy the performance in a completely new way. The illuminations that appear on each persons’ screens will simultaneously change completely to the music, enveloping the room with dazzling lights. And if you utilise the vibration function, your phone will vibrate together with MIYAVI’s guitar performance. Not only that, the phone will also react to loud voices that call for an encore at the end of a performance. All of this will allow for everyone to not only watch the concert, but have fun by participating in it too.
(2) If you can’t attend, then experience the excitement of the concert virtually with the “MIYAVI Live VR” App
Even if you’re not at the venue, if you download this app, you can watch MIYAVI and the concert in real time in a 4K resolution 360° virtual reality experience from a number of different camera views. Plus, if you wear VR goggles, the experience will be enhanced as you will have a complete 360° view all around you to ensure you feel part of the show too. You will feel like you’re actually there! But don’t worry, because even if you don’t have any goggles, you can still enjoy watching MIYAVI from 5 different camera angles. Plus, the video will be archived after the concert, so you can watch it as many times as you like.
At the end of the first concert of the tour, MIYAVI commented: “I’m very excited about this progressive collaboration with Docomo. Things like VR and glow sticks allow for a greater sense of unity between my performance and you. Please look forward to this new kind of live experience.”
Whether you can make it one of MIYAVI’s shows or not, be sure to download and try out one of these apps!
※Please note that only 5 of the 15 concerts will be streamed in real time.
A rock singer, “MIYAVI” released his new album, 『ALL TIME BEST“DAY 2”』on April 2nd.
08.April.2017 | MUSIC
“MIYAVI” released his new album, 『ALL TIME BEST“DAY 2”』 on April 2nd to celebrate his 15th anniversary.
One of the new songs, 「Live to Die Another Day –Sonzai Syoumei-」 is used for the theme song of a movie, called “Mugen no Zyunin”.
Amazingly, this album got a first prize in Japan’s iTunes Album Rock Chart.
In addition to the 18 songs, arranged「What’s My Name ?」「Universe」「Ahead Of The Light」「Subarashikikana Konosekai –What A Wonderful World-」「Guard You」are on this CD.
World tour 「MIYAVI World Tour 2017 “Fire Bird”」is being held now and after that 「MIYAVI 15th Anniversary Live “NEO TOKYO 15”」will be held in Tokyo.
『ALL TIME BEST“DAY 2”』
Sold on April 2nd
MIYAVI official website: http://myv382tokyo.com
Samurai guitarist MIYAVI breaks through the national boundary & collaborates with world-renowned photographer Masayoshi Sukita! “MIYAVI × SUKITA” photo book out 16th September!
Breaking through the national boundary and receiving worldwide attention, the samurai guitarist MIYAVI has been photographed by world-renowned photographer Masayoshi Sukita. The new “MIYAVI × SUKITA” photo collection will be made available for purchase from Friday 16th September.
■ Related article: Special interview with the worldwide famous “Samurai Guitarist” MIYAVI!
MIYAVI released his new album “Fire Bird” on Wednesday 31st August and started his world tour entitled ＜MIYAVI Japan Tour 2016 “NEWBEAT, NEW FUTURE”＞ on Monday 19th September. However, MIYAVI has done plenty more to break through the national border and develop as a global figure. MIYAVI has also celebrated his debut as a Hollywood actor, taking part in the film “Unbroken” which was directed by Angelina Jolie. MIYAVI is also one of the 9 people in the world to be chosen by Swiss luxury jewellery brand Piaget to take part in a series of unique activity.
Masayoshi Sukita is a world-renowned photographer who has photographed David Bowie, T.REX, YMO and many other famous sensational music artists. Masayoshi Sukita’s words after the photo shoot with MIYAVI were:
“It has been a really long time since I had last taken photographs of somebody who completely destroys their own image. The last time I had taken such photographs was with David Bowie.”
After putting every ounce of passion and effort into his photography with MIYAVI, the photo selection had been comprised into one book. As well as establishing many legends, Sukita and MIYAVI have crossed the boundary of their generation with this collaboration. An atmosphere of tension with a hot and sparky feeling seizes up every image taken. The overwhelming sensation as a performer, as well as a private and personal touch has been combined into this must-see masterpiece.
Special words from MIYAVI & STAFF
As if everything has crashed together and sparks have flown ー Although we are all males, you could say that the sensation in these pictures resembles the excited feeling of sex.
Special words from Masayoshi Sukita
MIYAVI is not afraid to destroy himself. He is always searching for a new “MIYAVI”. This photo selection is the new exciting sensation since David Bowie.
Launch for sale date： Friday 16th September 2016
Available for purchase at bookstores and CD shops nationwide
Publisher：Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.
Size & length：A4／128 pages
Special interview with the worldwide famous “Samurai Guitarist” MIYAVI!
11.August.2016 | MUSIC
MIYAVI has been called “Samurai Guitarist” for his slapping play style of Taylor acoustic guitar, and for his genderless appearance. Since 2010 he has been performing not only in Japan, but also globally from 2010.
In 2014, he also appeared for the first time in a Hollywood film, Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie. This time MIYAVI visited his home country a year and a half after he has moved to the United States, to introduce his brand new double A-side single to the audience in Japan prior to its global release. (The interview was carried out in mid-April.)
MIYAVI’s extraordinary guitar techniques along with his danceable tunes as well as his character all contribute to his global tour, yet he does not find it graceful to emphasize the Japanese culture or his Japanese identity. The guitarist, MIYAVI, aims to transcend cultural boundaries as an original presence,In the title, The Others, he has collaborated with the grammy winner producers, Drew & Shannon, who worked with John Legend in the past. From his newest title and after, he has started collaborating with the young producing and music writing team from Los Angeles, where he centers his musical activities, enabling the cutting-edge sound-making of the US.
-Can we ask how you are working in the US, as we don’t hear as much news in Japan?
I’m taking it very easy. In the US, everything is in much larger scale. Not just the distance; beats are huge, things are done in much longer periods. How do I synchronize my heart rate to that kind of difference is the matter of question, I think. It’s like the difference in the length of man’s stride. That synchronizes with the length of breadth, length of melody, BPM, and so how do I synchronize them as an Asian? That’s where I am right now. It will take some more time. I started to be conscious of not just myself, but also my roots, including my ancestors. How your body vibrates your voice, your walking forms, your DNA, etc. Not just the music, but all sorts of things that my ancestors have piled up from the past.
You’ve been working tough, and you still feel such a difference. We should be talking about a huge difference, is it?
Yes, certainly. Location, weather, and also the difference between race of hunters and that of agriculture, that’s substantial. We had been using different muscles, in a posture like this (crouching,) and we had no opportunity to look up. That’s still the same today, especially in a modernized city of Tokyo, we have no chance to look up at the sky. Then our chest shrinks, and then there’s smaller space for the air to breathe out, though I don’t mean to support the entire western life style. Language is also different, even at the level of its rhythm, but I think the boundary will vanish very soon. I hope my generation gets to witness that moment, or become the one to break such boundary, especially by the means of music.
Do you feel that you need to change your body itself to a body with such mentality in order to break the boundary, and to gain the reality in your music?
That’s right. I won’t be able to speak about the world if I stayed in the well without crossing the ocean. I may realize later on that the ocean was actually small, but not until I swim across. From here on, it doesn’t matter if I am Japanese or not. It’s only the matter of how I fight. Up until now, I had been focusing on how I can fight with a sword when a tank came and shot at me. But actually, there are more than one tank, or there are billions of tanks. Then what do I do? That’s what I’m thinking about right now. So my battle for the first stage was a battle against a tank, but now I’m trying to imagine what’s behind these tanks.
In other words?
To speak short, entertainment field has wide skirts. I worked for my last work in Nashville, and this time I’m working at Howard Benson’s studio in Los Angeles with his team, including young producers and music writers around age of 22 or 23. Everyone here belongs to a modern music scene, and I have different perceptions from what I had in Nashville.
Your last album, The Others, was quite self-reflective. Is there any change in your mind regarding how to fight with music?
It’s similar to what I have just said; the fighting style is gradually changing. I am currently reassessing the reason why I’m fighting. I’d like to explain more about this when my next piece comes out, but I am trying to make a California roll right now. You know, California rolls aren’t real sushi to sushi chefs; I don’t eat them either, to be honest. But I still recognize its significance, I mean, I recognize the role it has played. We wouldn’t have so many sushi restaurants in LA if hadn’t we have those California rolls. So those California rolls played the role of a bridge, and that’s what I want to create, even if it might take a long time. I have wasabi with me. Soy sauce, other sushi ingredients, vinegared rice, and salmon as well, but no avocado. That could be the pop part of the music, could be the melody or how the English words ring in the music… I don’t care if we can call that sushi or not, but I just feel that we can have something like that, or rather we need something like that. That’s my role, and I want to do it through music. I don’t mind if it’s well-known or not, but I will change my direction to something new, like “NEW BEAT, NEW FUTURE.” My guitar doesn’t have to be rock, well it is rock, but it doesn’t stay in the category of rock because that’s the role I feel I need to play. First I learn the manners, and then I remove them. I won’t be able to remove them if I’m too familiar with those manners, though.
Are you saying that you feel the necessity to change your guitar approach?
Not quite, but I do feel the difference in perceptions we have between Japan and outside. We don’t hear guitar music on radio, do we? Neither on Grammy awards. Then who is rock musician? If I had to choose one, I would say, Twenty One Pilots, but there’s no guitarist. I played with them in a gig in Hong Kong and Taiwan last year, and their vocal plays ukulele or bass from time to time, but not guitar.
Alabama Shakes won five Grammies, but they are categorized as alternative.
Right. There are so many attractive bands, but none of them play guitar music. I myself came along as an guitarist, proudly serving my sushi with lots of wasabi on a table saying, “There!” But it turns out, people start saying “wow, this is too hot.” If I can’t make them feel that they want to continue eating it, I can’t call that a victory.
In that perspective, you are playing guitar in your latest piece, and I felt your policy of how to fight in the US music scene is clear.
How much avocado do I add, and how much vinegared rice? Breads won’t do it. Afraid To Be Cool sounds a little bit like breads. This is an exaggeration, but people wouldn’t accept hamburgers from me if I try to bring hamburgers from Japan to the US. I see lots of made-in-Japan hamburgers in current music scene. They do taste good, but those are not what we want.
I understand. In that sense, I sort of recognized your message in your latest single that you are going to fight in the current mainstream music scene.
I do suppose that the way people feel the beats might be different from what I’ve seen in Japanese music, but things won’t change if I don’t force myself to lead it through. Otherwise, I should just stay back in Japan and make another piece. I will charge through in this style.
The other song, Raise Me Up, in your double A-sided single has a magical balance: your Telecaster is very effective, and though it is medium-tempo, there is this edginess.
Like the balance between pop and edginess? I think it’s getting close, including the drive it has. Half-time beat and its traps. These days we don’t hear so many fast-tempo songs in the first place. Most of them are half-time tracks or R&B. Maybe Mark Ronson’s the fastest?
(Laugh) Isn’t Japanese rock double in BPM?
Right, double. I mean, Japanese rock is different in its details, its strides. Even our heart rates might be different. The scale of supermarkets is totally different; the speed of music release is different. I feel this about myself, too, but skeletal structures of Japanese or Asians are flat. There’s difference in how much we can enjoy the beats and their depth. Western people enjoy slow beats as well because they can taste that depth of those slow beats. Talking about us Japanese, I don’t think we are able to taste that depth as much. For instance, we have very fast BPM music like Para-para, and the only parts of our body that are moving on beats are our wrists and hands! But I don’t intend to offend that because that’s one of the identities Japanese music have. If we try to make that a common language with the Western music scene, that’s tough, though. If I play at 180 BPM and no one was dancing to the music, what’s the point? It’s not a matter of which one is better. That’s what I feel about the difference in BPM, and my guitar playing style has been changing as well, in view of my identity besides slapping. Slapping is like a sprint.
It’s an impressive performance for the audience, too.
Yes, so it’s the wasabi. But you can’t keep eating only wasabi, so we need sushi rice. I need to be able to sing more on my guitar. The solo part too, in my own style, in my own expression. I learned these in my last piece.
On the other hand, you also use your guitar as a material.
I’m trying to transform the guitar itself, and to be honest, what I’m trying to do right now is a little bit off course, in perspective of the guitar rock history. But I still feel it’s worth it if I can accomplish that with the interpretation of the new generation. If I can get people to feel it’s cool, then I win, and if I don’t, my attempt ends up off course.
By the way, the music video for Raise Me Up has been produced by Fantasista Utamaro, and I found the video is also linked closely to its artwork.
That’s right. I asked Fantasista Utamaro for something brand new. An image that evokes something ahead and not behind is what I’m after. I feel that this piece is going to be my blood and flesh. So it’s going to change my performance, too. I need to be able to push harder in a team. I’ve always thought that I’d fight and slash my enemies even if I’m alone, but I realize now, that won’t do. Especially if I’m fighting against tanks, that’s endless. So how should we combat in a team, like setting bombs on a tank or other tactics, we are still trying to find the best answer. When we finally find it, that’s the moment we’ll truly win this battle. Tanks might change the direction they shoot their canons, or maybe we might not fight them at all. Still, we’ll continue to hone our swords, not to compromise but to prepare them in a new form.
What motivates you to change your attitude so much is the real difference you feel in the daily life in the US compared to that in Japan?
Definitely. Even in airports or supermarkets, I feel the difference in national strength, its resourcefulness, etc. I suppose that comes from education, from the attitude of those who are involved in education, and also from their conversation skills. On the contrary, I realize that what we can call the strength of Japan is its insanity and hospitality.
Could we also call that a sensibility?
Yes. When I’m having a session with other Americans,I can sometimes feel that, well, I don’t say they are afraid of me, but they are wondering “what’s MIYAVI thinking about?” Or maybe even other Japanese people might feel the same way too about me.
Yes. I don’t know any other nationality who eats this many kinds of food uncooked. Raw eggs, raw fish, and even raw beef!
(laugh) We can do that because we know what’s risky and what’s not.
I know, but non-Japanese would call that insane. I think that’s the Japanese sensitivity- the sensitivity for details that ultimately connects to their hospitality as well.
Perhaps insanity and hospitality are head and tail of a coin.
Jonny Dope did the remix of Raise Me Up.
Yes, for the same reason as the reason I requested working with Fantasista Utamaro. I would love to be influenced by younger generations, and I’d love to learn from their generation who does not stay in the frame of conventional theories.
Your Japan tour starts in September.
It’s been awhile after my last tour in Japan. After all, Japan is my home country, and though I’m so far away and still in the middle of my training in the US, my fans in Japan still support me and trust me. I’m very happy about it. That motivates me to push myself harder. I’m using the restaurant metaphor again: suppose a sushi restaurant that refuses first-time customer closes for a month or two. Customers still come back when the restaurant reopens. Why? Because there is that trust. In those two months, I would want to learn and present something new, and these customers would come to accept that. I don’t mean to limit it to only Japan, but I would like to play constantly in Japan, as it is my home country. I want to play the role that I need to play, showing them “we can go further.” I learned how to chop up the bullets, so maybe how to destroy tanks is the next? I’m back to that metaphor again, well, if I can present that as a Japanese, I want to share the power, the energy, or the excitement of this country with the audience. If a Japanese audience saw me and said “OK, he’s still playing,” that’s not enough. I graduated from that stage. I want to show them what comes beyond it.