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Special Message from Ryuichi Sakamoto for "TOKYO"

Tokyo, London, New York . . . In the old days, each city had its own individual character and produced its own distinctive music, fashions, and cultural forms. In those days, we tuned in sensitively to what was happening and imagined the high energy of the scene in cities we had never visited. Tokyo had its own colors, smells, and sounds of different weights and densities that could only be found here. We felt something essentially "Tokyo" in this, and sensitive people overseas noticed this as well. As a result, a kind of competition of perceptions and tastes arose among cities.

At some point, those distinctive sounds and fashions stopped coming from cities. New York, where I live, long ago lost its essentially "New York" character. Many of the essentially "New York" people born and raised here are drifting away, saying, "The city just isn't interesting anymore." Instead, they might find the nostalgic East Village atmosphere they miss in old East Berlin. So I wonder, is that nostalgic "Tokyoness" also gone forever? Will we maybe start to feel a new energy here?


―Ryuichi Sakamoto

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Yellow Magic Orchestra 1979 ©Photo by Masayoshi Sukita