An Interview with Endo Michiro (Director)
After the Disaster, My Song Got “More Real”
Q: Fans must have been overjoyed with this film, packed with footage from your live performances, your trip back to your family home, and your dialogue with different people. Why did you think of making it?
EM: I turned 60 in November 2010 and launched a tour, something like a road movie in January the following year. The initial motive was to document that. When the earthquake hit in March 2011, I got together with musicians from Fukushima and a bunch of other people and initiated the movement called Project Fukushima!
Thanks to this Fukushima connection, I started to visit my family home a lot more than ever before, and as we continued to film throughout our tour and my homecomings and the Fukushima live gigs in August, we found ourselves with the film you saw.
Q: Can you tell us about the structure of the film?
EM: The opening scene is on the eve of the Fukushima fest on August 15. We played music on the streets. Starting from there, we went to the Osaka stage in January that celebrated Stalin’s reunion, and went on chronologically until August 15. The day I talked with my mother at home was the 16th, so the time order is a bit shuffled around there.
Q: There seems to be a connection between what you talk about and the music that we hear afterwards.
EM: I chose songs that had to do with what was discussed in the scenes. All the band gigs (not solo) are those we did in Fukushima that August. I chose all the songs. I wanted to emphasize my relationship with Fukushima, so I made sure to select songs that had something to do with what followed after the disaster.
Q: In the film, you proclaim that you like travel. Why is it?
EM: That’s a good question. When I was young, manga comics about picking up a sack and hitting the road were popular. I was inspired and really felt that was what I wanted to do myself. So for the first summer holiday in college, I went on the road. Ever since, I’d go hitchhiking all around the country as soon as it was warm enough to do so.
Q: So you really like traveling.
EM: After graduating from college, I hung about in Yamagata for two years and started to sing. I realized that singing gave me a reason to travel. Thanks to my wanderlust, I became the singer that I am. Usually, you start traveling after you know how to sing, but in my case it was the opposite. I sang in order to keep moving.
Q: Tell us about the title song Mom! I Have Forgotten Your Face Already.
EM: It’s a song from a solo album I cut during the Stalin times. Initially I wanted to do a cover of Bob Dylan’s It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), but it gradually started to sound nothing like the original. So I decided to do something different and came up with Mom! I Have Forgotten Your Face Already.
Q: After the earthquake, did your feelings for music change?
EM: Basically not. Except for one thing. I think my songs became “more real.” Stalin’s music before the disaster were basically lyrics and melodies created out of my imagination. But after the earthquake, my music began to feel factual, like reality. And that’s exactly why I decided to do the Stalin gigs in Fukushima.
(Compiled by Kano Megumi)
Interviewers: Kano Megumi, Yamane Hiroyuki / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Kat Simpson / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2015-10-13