Pinky Promise
Interviewer: Headwax
Translator: Bunny

Since hide had set off on his journey, this year marks the 13th memorial of his death and is a critical period for Buddhist ceremonial rites.

Maybe the time hasn’t completely passed in the blink of an eye, but whether or not it seemed long or short it’s been ten or so years hasn’t it. I’ve been asked such things like ‘has the passage of time helped to heal?’ but it’s the opposite. Even now on TV when I see another artist doing activities, I am filled with regret…… I wonder if that child were still alive what kind of things would he be doing, what kind of music would he be making…… and other things. Because we are in this world, I wonder whether or not its possible to communicate with heaven. I really think of things like that.

Your thoughts have increased more.

There is a saying “don’t keep counting the years of a dead child” ((a saying similar to “don’t cry over spilled milk”, don’t say things like, “if my child were alive today, he’d be 32”)) but inside of me, Hideto remains young.  That child had said once “Even when we turn 50, we are still going to keep our hair just like this!”, kind of like ‘The Ventures’, no matter what they do something at least once a year I’ve also heard…..

For you, you hold a title as an “artist’s parent”, but, I wonder, in your situation, your son had a lot of videos and products, so does that make you happy or vice versa, does that make it very painful for you?

Recently, I don’t want to watch music programs. I’ve said before to my husband, “Even if we watch, he’s never going to appear so Dad please turn the channel”.  When that child was alive, we would tape all his TV appearances.  He would definitely ask, “how was it?” when he would be scheduled on TV. He even would ask the same day he had the performance. I would say “that black rain was really amazing (Music Station) wasn’t it!” That child was especially curious about the thoughts of nonprofessionals.

After all, as parents I wonder if he wanted you to understand him the most. An entertainer’s job details aren’t easily understood. It’s an occupation that is hard to imagine.

If I think so now that is probably the case. Hideto would sometimes explain for me a CD that he himself made.  “Mom, this album may be a little bit difficult to understand. It’s crazy! But the next album I make will be pop because I want to make something that is easy to understand when you listen to it.  I want to alternate between my own hobbies and what everyone expects from me,” is something that he had said and so when I listened to the CD, I thought, “This must be the crazy part he talked about huh……” (laugh).

From here on out, we will be talk about some memories that you have, so if you would please let me inquire to you about the child, Hideto Matsumoto, as his parent.

December 13th, 8:16 p.m., some sprinkles of snow were fluttering on that day. It was a very cold day. On that kind of day Hideto was born. A name which would help him become a superior person was something I decided[1]. But, people told me the number of strokes [for the kanji characters] were bad and some other things were said (laugh). But from the start I decided that, so I stuck with it. Recently, I had received a letter from a fan that said “I used a kanji character from ‘Hideto’,” and attached with the letter was a photo of the fan’s baby. I was so happy.

I would like to ask about the amount of studies he did when he was younger?

English and penmanship, also abacus, he had several things we had him study from the time he was in preschool. Also, everyday after coming home from school,he would trade bags and go to cram school (extra classes).  Now that I think about it, he didn’t really look at his parents in the eye huh. For a child he could see through things.  Even he didn’t look at what he was studying…… I wonder if it was about elementary school time? He had pleaded with me, “In our house area, there isn’t a park and I can’t even play ball because the road is dangerous, but I don’t have any exercise for my health, so can I go to the police area and learn Kendo or Judo with the neighborhood kids?”  So then he was taught Kendo and practiced on Saturdays.  At the time, Hiroshi was small, and he always clung to his older brother.  After that, the people who wanted to learn increased and it eventually became a place for friends to hang out with swords, but Hiroshi still tried his utmost best to learn.

How was hide at Kendo?

Hiroshi said “I’m better than you” (laugh).  In truth, Hiroshi did win a lot more matches so it seemed like he was.  Hiroshi also hated to lose though.

Was there some kind of special parental love or reason behind having him learn exercises?

When Hideto was born, he was a premature baby that just missed being considered full term[1]. Because of this, I tried everything I could to make sure he’d grow ‘big’. Although because of that he had become an overweight child (laugh). That was something that boy had resented later on. During lunch recess in his Elementary School days, although everyone else was playing, only the overweight children would be made to run around the sports ground. There was that kind of thing in those days, but I had intended to make him exercise in a positive way[2].

These episodes of being overweight, hide himself had mentioned it before in various places, but, after his debut he wasn’t fat at all!

From junior high he was awakened and little by little became able to play the guitar. At that time, he bought these slim tights he couldn’t fit (now a days you would call them leggings), and hung them on the wall in his room; and so that someday he could wear them, he put in great effort to lose weight. That child’s amazing result was due to his strong desire to be thin.

Guitar Obsession in Junior High School

What was hide like in junior high school?

When Hideto was a junior high school student, he was half-heartedly strumming on a classic guitar (acoustic), but when he received an electric guitar that was bought for him, he earnestly tried to play it. I heard a story from his friend that once he had tried going somewhere to learn guitar. However, it seemed his own methods (practicing) was completely the same as the instructors, and it seems that he said it was stupid and immediately quit.

Haha, that does sound like hide doesn’t it?

After school, when he would come home, he would go straight to his room and hung his guitar with the strap around his shoulders and sit at his desk and study the guitar. Even when he was doing homework, he was holding his guitar. When he turned on his amp, I would get angry (laugh), so that’s how he played.

It’s an episode where you understood how much he truly loved guitar right?

Yes, that’s right. One day I thought “it’s so quiet”, and looked in his room, he was asleep in bed holding the guitar in his hands. It was the first time I carried that guitar but I didn’t know a guitar was that heavy, but that day I knew. [Implied that she put away his guitar when he was asleep]

Rock=delinquency seems to be the image that parents of that time felt, I think.

Yes that’s right. Since I told him that he must never go to Dobuita[3], I thought that Hideto had obeyed me. Unless he got good grades, I said he was forbidden from playing the guitar or anything like that, and so, so that I couldn’t tell him that, he studied as if his life depended on it. Even when he went to high school that didn’t change. So on those grounds, he studied hard, and so I never once said that [that he was forbidden to play guitar] to that boy. However, he did frequent Dobuita though (laugh).

Did hide have a subject that he was best at?

He had mentioned that more than calculation, he liked essay questions. He said that he liked this kind of thing best. He seemed like the kind of person who liked to prove another person wrong or win an argument right (laugh). That boy would write until his paper became completely black to memorize something. He used that way to study.

hide would become completely absorbed into music while doing his studies however.

First, his appearance changed. Straight jeans and things like that, he bought several of the same thing. When people looked at him, they got the impression that he was wearing the same thing day and night, so sometimes I would say ‘how about wearing a different color?’ or something, but he insisted, “I don’t care what people say, I’m fine, so it’s fine.”

I wonder if the people reading this right now had parents who advised them the same thing?

There were also things like holes in his jeans pants too; because you know in my time, there wasn’t such things like holes in your pants. Furthermore, that boy had drawn things on his shirts too. Torn necklines, holes, shortened lengths of his clothes[4] and things like that … … . Well you see, all those things, when that boy was in school, I would throw them all away.

AHAHA (laugh). Did he become enraged?

No… …, he was silent. He didn’t speak to me (laugh). He would do things like put up Kiss and The Clash posters in his room (laugh). In the beginning I would think he was mad, but then it seemed like he gave up being mad, but he’d silently put up the Kiss poster again. It was this kind of repetition.

Hiroshi said that when he came home from school, his older brother and his mother were always quarreling but, the reason must be what you said before right?

We never quarreled! (laugh). But, for Hideto, even if it were drills [for homework], he’d open up the page for that day’s exercises and put it on his desk and do them diligently, but Hiroshi would close his drill book, and so as to not be discovered, he went outside to play (laugh).

The Oldest Son, hide

After graduating high school, he went on to stud at a beauty school right?

Yes, that’s right.  But Hideto, without asking for any advice, decided it all by himself.  That’s why when he was in high school and we talked about whether or not he’d go to a university, I wasn’t worried at all.  I didn’t really like hairdressing myself, so I wondered what would happen to my mother’s hair salon, but Hideto had told me, “I plan to take care of it”. ‘This is a first’ I thought to myself (laugh).  At that time, to me, there were some male hairdressers, but even less than now a days.  Come to think of it, I paid for the school’s tuition. I thought that if he made it big, I would have him pay me back for it (laugh).

While hide was taking classes at beauty school, he was also doing band activities concurrently but when did you think you accepted the things that your son was doing?

I just thought that if he is going to walk that path then he should do it thoroughly.  I didn’t especially object to what he was doing.  As long as he could pass the state examination for hair dressing, I permitted it.

hide had said again that he wanted to become a pro, was there some way he announced it to you?

No, there wasn’t really any kind of announcement but I myself hate when things are done only halfway so, I just thought that if you are going to do it, then please do it.  There was one time, when Saver Tiger had disbanded and at the time he was going to return on the path of being a hairdresser, the Saver Tiger members said to me, “Aunty, hide-chan said he is going back to being a hairdresser.  Please don’t worry anymore”.  ‘Ah, ok, I’m glad, he’s going to take over the shop’ I thought, but, it’s funny you should mention it (laugh).  Actually, he himself also said at the time he quit Saver Tiger that he would return to his principal occupation.

Then he started X right.

Before he told me, it seems like he had made a promise with Yo-chan (YOSHIKI). And then after that he finished his work at the shop and after that took his guitar and went to Tokyo. They practiced until morning and then he walked to his work.

What kind of part time jobs did he do?

He did a lot of part time jobs.  He set up displays in department stores, or set up venues for fashion shows, and it seems like he did some other kind of work that I didn’t know about.  “Today I did some work in Chiba Prefecture” he would say.  Actually, I didn’t give that child any money. Although he had asked me, “do you ave any money?”

Really?

But as for my mother, she would give him some money.  I knew about that.  But the amount she gave to Hideto and Hiroshi were different! Hiroshi was the kind of child that spent whatever he had on anything, but as for Hideto, for example, if he had a record he wanted, he would go to buy it, but if it wasn’t there, he would come back home without buying anything else. He had a strong sense of purpose. As for Hiroshi, he would come home buying something in place of what he couldn’t find (laugh). That’s why Hiroshi would say “if I ask grandma, she will just give me a small change.. if it’s my big brother she’ll give him a fortune, it’s so unjust..

And then hide began his activities as HIDE a member of X

When that child was standing on stage, I did not have the feeling that it was my son.  I really thought that.  He just seems like some musician. In the blink of an eye he changes, and the person on stages and I don’t think that is my son on stage.  The feeling is like they are two different people.

I see

When he would come back home, his make up was off, and so were his sunglasses, and that feelings was as if my son had come back.  Once Yocchan came to play at our house and he also had his sunglasses off and wearing a T-shirt so I just thought he was like a normal person.  That kind of feeling.

When was the first time you saw your son as an artist?

The very first so to say.. I didn’t see him when he was in Saver Tiger. The very first time I went to his show was at Nakano Public Hall. When I arrived at the venue, outside there were a bunch of fans lined up huh….. I thought ‘There are so many people who came to see Hideto and his band’ At the time the performance was really extreme so I still thought ‘that is not my son’.  Even from the time he was working in a hair salon, he had done the KISS make up , wore his hair how he liked, made his hair stand up and put colors in it, so, I wasn’t really surprised.  It was just.. sometimes I said, “when you come home to my house, can’t you just dress a little more plain?”

Ahaha

But he never listened to me any way.  At that time, even if I passed that boy on the street, he would pretend to not know my face.  If it was Hiroshi and he was on the other side of the street he would yell out “Mom, Mom!”.  For Hideto it was too embarassing.  In the past, Hideto was really shy.  But when he entered preschool, he was a representative that gave greetings in English, and sang in songs or plays. Hiroshi did the same things as but it was completely different. Hideto did things on a grander scale.  At that time, I didn’t just think that ohh, there is more to him than he let’s on, but I just thought that he had that ability [to be shy but still perform in front of others].

That shy son of yours could sing in front of people.

Even if he could play guitar in front of people, it was really rare for him to sing in front of others.  There was one time though, where the family had gone to a hot springs together.  At that time, it was a rare for him to say, but he said “let’s do karaoke”, and everyone sang karaoke in this big space. And when we went, Hideto said things like “hold the mic like this and think about your breathing” and “if you sing it that way the candles will all go out”.  “Huh, so it’s like that huh” his Dad would say back, but that was the first time I heard him sing while being close to him.

So then, how was it to see hide sing in front of a huge venue with a lot of people?

‘He’s always doing his best’ I thought, “my shy child, singing in front of others.”  But, he had said, “I will never sing in front of people!  I want to produce people and make the CD jacket and do work in the background. But I want to film a movie.” He wanted to do some collaboration with anime.  It is just like Hideto right.

The Last Phone Call

Much time has passed since the time of his death, and even more memories had come out from our talk but, likewise there must be more casual memories that you can recall now.

Let me see. Even now, if I think about it now, there are many memories of me questioning whether or not he was in LA. When he would return from America, he would always call me at Narita airport “I just came back now”. Even though it was the last time he called, the conversation was a lot like that. The last time I talked to that boy was April 27th. He called me and said “I just arrived at Narita airport.” Exactly on that very day, was the day that the blueprints from his new house was finished, and since they were able to complete it he said “Really? I’m so glad” and was really pleased. Up until then it was really terrible! He looked at about 300 properties and finally he decided on the plot of land to build his house. At the time I had just done surgery on my leg and I looked at the properties using a cane while walking around. I took videos of them and sent them to LA repeatedly. “Ahh, this place is no good, and that place is no good either” and he couldn’t decide on a good place. Finally he decided and we proceeded with making the blueprints.

Is that so?……

He had plans to have a new house fixed with a studio. It was that phone call I guess? Anyway, he had got the new house so I was asked, “Could you bind up the music magazines that you had tried throwing away in the past”. After that boy had gone to live in Tokyo, I had thrown away a few of his old magazines (laugh). I thought, ‘no one is going to read such old magazines’. And so he had said, “Mom, I said that those are backnumber magazines, collecting them is really difficult! So don’t throw them away from now on ok?” He had those books all this time.

Of course you mean that you threw them away to tidy up right? (laugh).

But you know they were really old you know (laugh). That boy had magazines to practice guitar, and at those times ‘Heibon’ and ‘Myoujyou’ (music/idol magazines) he practiced while reading. Those books from long ago are important huh. It seems the scores now weren’t available in the past. It was really self taught.

You said that you sent videos to LA just a bit ago, but did you exchange things a lot with hide while he was abroad?

Yeah. I sent out homework. I mentioned the blueprints but also things that he had to examine, I sent about 20 items. So, when I talked to that boy, I needed a pencil and notebook. Because I wouldn’t remember you know (laugh). Moreover, with the time differences, over here in Japan, it would be the middle of the night and I would be half asleep so I needed a memo even more.

What kind of homework was it?

Things I sent out, what kind of reputation he had (popularity, rumors, etc), or how many CDs he was selling and stuff like that. There was a lot concerning typical reputation talk. In addition, there were other various things but, of course, there was a lot involving numbers. But in the middle of the night, even if I’m listening, I can’t really reply immediately (laugh) so it was homework! One hour long conversations was commonplace. Even now, if I hear the phone ring in the middle of the night, I become surprised. If it’s around 2 AM here, over there it was about 9AM there right?

Feelings as the Days and Months Pass

This time, the fans who have been affected by hide until now, we have told them a lot of stories, is there something you want to say to these fans who want to feel a connection to the musician and artist they want to be close with?

Hideto used to say a lot “I don’t just want to make a quick buck out of my fans. There is a limit to what they can spend so I don’t want to put out cheap products they don’t need.” So, especially even now for those fans who have come from far away and buy goods, you have already come all the way here just for Hideto and spent a lot for travel so I think you don’t have to feel like you need to buy anything.

I want to talk a little bit about your the difference from a mother’s perspective on the differences between your son and the artist.

Even now when I see fans scream “kyaa!! hide!!” I feel happy. In the beginning I was young, so even if I was assigned to the “VIP” section, I would go to the arena area, I would dance and wave my hands while watching (laugh). When he passed away and even now, when I watch the show at the venue, from the “VIP” section, for example, you can’t really see the members on stage, only just the monitors right? I really fall into the illusion that Hideto is working in the background.  I don’t feel that Hideto is not there. Then when I see everyone holding the dolls of him up high, the tears don’t stop you know. I feel that after all this time, this many people still think about my boy, my Hideto, I am so happy and so thankful.

Have you heard that in recent years young fans of his have increased?

Really recently there are a lot of overseas and younger fans. They write a lot of messages like “I have never seen hide before, but I came to hear about his music.” And other things like “hide had become a hair dresser so I decided to enter a beauty school but it is way harder than I thought! But if hide could do it then I’m going to try my best!”

Music isn’t the only thing that hide has left them it seems.

If that is true that makes me happy you know……. At the time of his death, there were things left in his pockets, things that he would use now and then. Gum, or dollars, or Chinese yuan, or corks…… they may not have an monetary value but for me, these are the treasures that he has left me.

[1] She used the word ‘ギリギリ未熟児’ (girigiri mijukuji). ‘Girigiri’ is really hard to translate, but the impression I have, is that she’s saying that hide was a premature baby, but he just made the ‘category’ for preterm. A normal pregnancy is about 40-41 weeks and anything before 37 weeks is considered “premature”. hide was probably born about 36-37 weeks.

[2] She’s referring to the previous question of him playing Kendo. I didn’t translate this part yet.

[3] Dobuita was a street that hide frequented in his hometown (Yokosuka). It was here that he said he learned about music, alcohol and women lol

[4] I think she’s trying to say hide would cut the lengths of his shirts/pants shorter.