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A Man Named Hirokazu Tanaka: Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta Interview

January 28, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook A Man Named Hirokazu Tanaka: Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta Interviewon Twitter

Before you get too excited, this is not Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka we’re talking about. While Hip Tanaka was responsible for the music on the Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta single that we reviewed last month, it turns out that he wasn’t the mastermind behind the project.  It was actually another Hirokazu Tanaka who isn’t a musician at all!

Thanks to the folks at HearJapan, we’ve been able to get in touch with this Hirokazu Tanaka to talk about this single, how he came to organize the Hirokazu Tanakas for this project (he even has a website for people named Hirokazu Tanaka), and his thoughts about Hip Tanaka, names, and what’s next for the group.  It’s pretty wild, and be sure to pick up the single from HearJapan if you haven’t gotten around to it yet!

Our interview with Hirokazu Tanaka, after the jump!

OSV: Tanaka-san, thanks for taking the time to speak with us about the “Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta” project. We hear it’s all the rage right now in Japan! Please tell us about how you came up with the concept for this track.

Tanaka: Nice to meet you! I’m “Almost General Manager” Hirokazu Tanaka for this Hirokazu Tanaka movement.

I had been wanting to have a theme song for this Tanaka Hirokazu movement. There must be an elementary school Tanaka Hirokazu and senior Tanaka Hirokazu, so last year I thought of this concept of the song being something that anyone can sing like a school theme song (In Japan, pretty much all the public schools have their own theme song).

OSV: In your search for people named Hirokazu Tanaka, you likely found more than just 10. How many did you find all together, and how did you approach them with this project? Can you tell us about your experience working with them, and with “Hip” Tanaka in particular?

Tanaka: I have been looking for the same names for 15 years. I think I started actually meeting them in 2003. I looked for them on Hobo Nikkan Itoi newspaper, some popular Japanese websites, and our tanakahirokazu.com and that resulted in meeting 10 of them.

Hip Tanaka is called “Composer Tanaka Hirokazu san” among us. When I had an interview with Asahi Newspaper, I told them my wish to meet him, the most famous Hirokazu Tanaka among the others. He was the second one that I met in movement.

OSV: Was the entire premise of this project built upon the fact that “Hip” Tanaka would be writing the music? Did you have any input on the song that he created?

Tanaka: I could not even have thought of this project without Hip Tanaka. When I asked him that I would like to have a theme song for the movement, he gave a very positive answer “I would do it if there are lyrics.” The finished material had such a perfect song and arrangement that exceeded my expectation.

OSV: So you were responsible for writing the lyrics to the song? Also, whose idea was it to have the one Tanaka who yells, “Woo hoo!” from time to time? Was this intentionally done to sound like Mario?

Tanaka: I wrote the lyrics. This “Tanaka Hirokazu wa, Tanaka Hirokazu to au (Hirokazu Tanaka meets Hirokazu Tanaka)” phrase popped up in my head, and I wrote the rest in like 15 minutes. Things like “Woo Hoo!” in the middle of the song were all Hip Tanaka’s idea, which made the song much more fun. I think Mario influenced the music a bit, too.

OSV: Are you a musician or performer by trade, or was this project something completely new to you?

Tanaka: No, it was all brand new experience for me. I feel the joy of living in this era for a person like me being able to send my own music to the world.

OSV: Can you tell us about your partnership with HearJapan? How did you become aware of the website, and what are your thoughts about it being distributed outside of Japan?

Tanaka: It is delightful and is an honor. I would love to communicate with the activists who are also looking for the same names on the planet. Also I want to recruit the people who are wanting to change their name to Hirokazu Tanaka.

OSV: Will you be working on any similar projects in the future with the 10 Tanakas? Perhaps something completely different next time?

Tanaka: Up to this point, I have met 16 Hirokazu Tanaka in the reality. Actually there are over 60 Hirokazu Tanaka who are either in touch with me via email or whom I know exist from sources. To be honest, we not only have the plan for the second song but also the third song. I would like to keep sending our music to the world as a Hirokazu Tanaka of the artist group.

Additionally, this book “Tanaka Hirokazu san” will be released next month in Japan. It will include a summary of our activities and also scholarly, philosophical approach to human names.

OSV: Tanaka-san, thank you very much for your time.

[Special thanks to Nathan Reaven at HearJapan and Shota Nakama for translating]


Tanaka: Nice to meet you! I’m “Almost General Manager” Hirokazu Tanaka for this Hirokazu Tanaka movement. わたしは、田中宏和が集まる、このHirokazu Tanaka movementのテーマソングが欲しいと思い続けていました。田中宏和さんたちには、小学生の田中宏和さんやお年寄りの田中宏和さんもいるはずです。そこで、昨年、誰もが歌える校歌のような音楽というコンセプトを思いつきました。


Tanaka:わたしは、いままで15年間、同姓同名あつめをしてきました。実際に会いはじめたのは、2003年からです。ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞という日本で人気のインターネットサイトや我々オリジナルの田中宏和.comで、同姓同名の募集をし、10人の田中宏和さんと会うようになりました。 “Hip” Tanakaは、我々田中宏和の間では、「作曲の田中宏和さん」(“Composer” Hirokazu Tanaka)と呼ばれています。朝日新聞の取材を受けた時に、「田中宏和の中で最も有名な田中宏和さん」として、わたくしが会うことを希望し、リアルにお会いできた2人目の田中宏和さんです。


Tanaka: “Hip” Tanaka無しにはこのプロジェクトは、考えられませんでした。”Hip” Tanakaに、「田中宏和運動のテーマ曲をつくりたい」とお願いした時に、「詞があれば曲をつくりますよ」と好意的な回答をもらいました。出来上がった曲は、わたしの想像以上の、パーフェクトな曲と編曲でした。

OSV: 作詞をしたのはどちらの田中宏和さんでしょうか?田中さんの一人が「Woo Hoo!」を叫ぶことは誰のアイディアでしょうか?またこれは任天堂のマリオと同じ声をわざと真似したのでしょうか?

Tanaka:わたしが、作詞しました。「田中宏和は、田中宏和と会う」というフレーズが思い浮かび、それから一気に15分ぐらいで書き上げました。「Woo Hoo!」のような間の手は、すべて”Hip” Tanakaのアイデアです。おかげでとても愉快な音楽になりました。Marioも影響を与えているでしょうね。








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