Interview: Masa Hidaka


Some say that you brought the rock ‘n’ roll experience to Japan.

Oh, I don’t think about that. Our company policy is “If we love this music, then we want [to promote] it.” That’s it. When I started Smash in 1983, most of my favorite musicians were not coming [to Japan]. The only ones that came were Billboard [magazine’s] Top 10, that kind of thing. And we couldn’t stand at a gig. Even when the Clash came, we had to sit down! We had to see rock bands in locations that were really for classical music. But we wanted to dance! And now we can.

Tell me about how you schedule the bands. Is the sequencing important?

Scheduling is very important for our audience, but from the very beginning, I have wanted to make chaos for them. I want to say: “So two of your favorite bands are playing at the same time. Maybe you love them both, but you have to make a choice.” I want our audience to forget their schedule and look for new experiences. Japanese people love to make schedules. For example, when Japanese people travel, say, to Paris, everything is scheduled beforehand: “When I arrive there, first I’ll go shopping, then I’ll eat lunch at this restaurant, then go to this museum, blah, blah.” That’s not good for them. But this is a music festival. Anything is possible. So I say forget about your schedule, enjoy the day and you’ll find an amazing band you’ve never heard of before. That kind of discovery will make your weekend.

Read the full interview at The Japan Times Online.

Fuji Rocking 10 years on | The Japan Times Online

About Jason Andrew Jenkins

In 1997, Jason left his home near Atlanta for a year abroad. He liked it so much that he never went back. After three years in Taiwan and 13 years in Japan, he and his wife quit their desk jobs in Tokyo, pulled their kids out of local schools and traveled as a family for six years, living in Malaysia, Spain, and Mexico along the way. They returned to Japan — Osaka this time — in the summer of 2019. Jason loves Google Maps, carry-on luggage, and most dishes registering on the Scoville scale.
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