It's you injured warrior!
Higuchi sneaks in under cover of faint light around me. I picture his
small-made profile. His words come to me in fragments. I stay motionless
- it's well past midnight, still and all I don't doze off. I really need
to stay close to that moment of solitary inspiration.
I met Yoshito only a few weeks ago; both he and I were participating
at a youth program organized by the Japanese government. He has a funny
cute face that draws attention of females. He strums the guitar with
almost imperceptible body movements and that memory wafts past me like a
That's not all. He is different from many of my musician friends. We
got to know each other over a few days and one evening we could settle
down for a long frank talk - there was no coffee to pour but we had some
cookies from his prefecture, Okinawa. There is much to say on Okinawa,
but it needs space elsewhere; uniquely it's the birthplace of Karate.
And now let me tell you why I am sharing my encounter with Yoshito:
he inspired this column.
Our youth program had lots of music items, and one was just the
American Idol type with a few more categories such as best singer and
best instrument player. Yoshito could not take part because he was down
with fever. Even so the video footage featured and named him as the
'injured warrior'. I have no idea who must have named him as such, but
it struck me to the hilt. But Yoshito was yet to know he was tagged as
the injured warrior.
Now you can guess the origin of this column's title - only a part of
I am no big fan of music, and mainly listen to music of my mother
tongue, Sinhala. But when he sang in Japanese, a warm feeling enveloped
me. I felt as if I had the firsthand experience that music is really a
universal language. He became an idol, and I his devotee.
Yoshito Higuchi. Picture by Didem Tari
His face is always decorated with his inimitable smile. There cannot
be a happier person on this planet, you may guess if you see him. But he
has his own worries and troubles, which I shall not mention here.
"I believe in music, because it soothes away my sorrow." I remember
him say munching a cookie. It may look a flat statement, but still I
feel its weight. When Yoshito says he believes in music, he really means
it. He mainly plays both guitar and another Okinawan instrument. When he
plays guitar, he gives it a deep sense of meaning. He has his own
physical movements along with the guitar. Just like when we watch our
Maestro Amaradeva give a meaning to his music instrument.
"I enjoy any kind of music in my own way. And I think everyone can
enjoy music too." But I have my rebuttal: "But everyone cannot create
For that you need creativity, he says. 'Creativity', haven't I been
overusing it in my previous writings, I reflected. But still it has a
meaning. I was thinking along those lines, and we were both silent for a
few seconds. Yoshito was looking downcast. I piped in.
"Our souls should be injured to initiate creativity, don't you
think?" He stares at me for a while and then speaks on.
"Soul is a sensitive thing, you know. It's a petal. A creative
artiste is someone whose petal is injured."
I'm still alone, waiting to fly home - and yes, it's well past
midnight. That memory, I am now sharing with you, fills me with warmth
as never before. I don't feel sleepy in the least.
I think of my previous column - I stopped it a few weeks ago: 'Random
Muse'. Muse is always random, it's not neatly arranged. But for the muse
to be born, your soul should be injured. The soul that is petal.
And it's you, injured warrior, who could crest the hill and let me
feel that soft moonlight. Thank you Yoshito, for sharing that solitary
moment of inspiration.
Between 1965 and 1972 Okinawa was
a key staging point for the United States, in its military operations
directed towards North Vietnam. Okinawa along with Guam also presented
the United States military a geographically strategic launch pad for
covert bombing missions over Cambodia and Laos. Anti Vietnam War
sentiment became linked politically to the movement for reversion of
Okinawa to Japan. Political leaders such as Oda Makoto, a major figure
in the Beheiren movement (Foundation of Citizens for Peace in Vietnam),
believed that the return of Okinawa to Japan would lead to the removal
of U.S forces ending Japanís involvement in Vietnam.