兄弟: 追憶のhide

Brothers: Recollections of hide

Author: Matsumoto Hiroshi
Translation: w_b

Please do not repost this translation. I wanted to share a bit of Hiroshi's book since it's pretty funny by parts but I am doing so without any sort of official permission. For this reason I am asking you not to repost the following text. Please just link instead.
Thank you! :)

The Eldest Son's 'Will'?

With the '2 days' event hide's second solo tour [PSYENCE A GO GO] came to an uneventful end at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

The following week hide set aside some time for us to have a relaxed, brotherly chat. If I remember correctly he had had interviews and photo shoots with several magazines that day and the entire time had been spent moving around, from photo studio to photo studio.

By evening all the work had been wrapped up and I was ready to escort hide home when suddenly he seemed to think of something. "Oh, right. Hiroshi."

"Drop me off at Rally." (1)

Rally is a bar in Nishi Azabu which back then was hide's favourite haunt (they've presently reopened). The moment I pulled up in front of the bar he spoke up, tone unusually calm.

"Hey, how about today you drop the car off and come back here for a bit?"

Hide's apartment was less than ten minutes from the bar. I wouldn't be making him wait that long even if I left to park the car then doubled back. But...what exactly did he want?

"You can take a taxi on your way back. Just, go park the car and get back here already."


I hurried back in a taxi as I had been instructed to but perhaps due to the early hour the bar was mostly empty of customers. What was this about? That was all I could think.

Had I messed something up recently? I was going in circles.

But maybe I was over analyzing it; maybe hide was meeting with an acquaintance of his and wanted me to join them at the table? I kept thinking about all the possible reasons as I took a seat at the counter; that was my designated spot whenever I'd be waiting for hide at the bar.

Then, I heard hide calling me from the seat closest to the door.

"Hiroshi, you come here too. Let's drink together."

"What? You really want to drink with me?"

Seems he wasn't waiting for anyone after all. I knew it; he probably intended to lecture me on something or other. Steeling myself, I went over to his table.

"What are you having?"

"A beer, I guess."

"First time we're drinking together like this, isn't it."

I felt a bit of relief when it didn't look like I was in for a lecture after all.

"So what's up? Have you gotten used to the job?"

"Yes, for the most part."

"How old is our old man?"

"Sixty, I believe."

"Normally he'd be a grandfather by now, wouldn't he. But man, he's in extremely good shape for his age."

In fact our father was still doing push-ups at his age, and while doing them he'd look at his sons askance as if telling them to tone up! Anyway, he was a sportsman. He was a 'monster' at the gym who could do an underwater round trip in a 25 meter pool without taking breaks.

Somehow for the first time in years we were having a serious talk between brothers. Feeling the tension melt away I brought the beer to my lips.

"How do you find this world?"

"It's like, I feel I belong in it."

"Ah, I'm glad. Besides, you know how to get along with people so you should be fine. Now I just want you to use this opportunity to get further ahead."

"That is precisely what I would like, yes."


hide pulled out a cigarette from his Mild Seven Super Light pack, and lit it with a hundred yen lighter.

"I'll never have kids, you see."


Lost, I took a swig of beer and resumed staring at hide. The conversation faltered.

"Because of the nature of my work I've given up on marriage, on kids, on ever having a normal life."

"I...beg your pardon?"

We had never talked of such personal matters before, even though we were brothers.

"So what, you're telling me you don't want kids? Is that it?"

Perhaps there was a bit of a sting to my words. Yet instead of answering me, hide made an impish face and supplied.

"Or, I could step outside and get run over by a car."


"Or, I could suddenly fall ill and die, couldn't I?"

"That is another possibility, yes."

"When that happens, even writing a book about me wouldn't be enough for you to make a living, would it."

"Wait. What's this about now?"

"I want you to be the one to write it. Because you're the only one who gets to see that side of me which I can't show to the public."

"And how exactly am I to go about writing that?"

I had spoken so brusquely that I nearly overturned my glass.

The rock music that was always playing at BMG thrummed in the pit of my stomach.

Without really understanding the drive behind my actions I fixed my gaze on hide's glass and lit a cigarette. hide lit his lighter at the exact same moment.

Suddenly, I remembered how around the time of middle high I had gotten scolded by our mother after she had found hide's hidden cigarettes. That time, my brother had played dumb while I took the blame for him.

"See, I thought I should ask you properly."

"For what...?"

"Because of the life I lead I have no time to get involved in family matters. I'm asking you to take care of our parents and family should something happen to them."

I offered a bitter smile at this kind of older brother speech; I felt as though it was a 'will' of sorts. I know that someone who was dying would have spoken that way unconsciously, but I found it altogether strange coming from hide. All I could do was tilt my head in confusion.

That was towards the end of October '96. A year and a half before hide passed away. A year and a half since I had started working for him. When I think about it, this was the precise turning point during those last intense three years.

"Now, if something should happen to me...."

"What do you mean, "if something should happen"...?"

"I've always wanted to die as 'hide' so when I do die, please do not show me to the public without any makeup on. The same absolutely goes for the funerary portrait, or anything else of the sort."

I was shocked at this morbid talk but I had to butt in all the same.

"Hold on just a second. Exactly what in the world are you thinking about?"

"So if I should die, make sure that the funerary portrait is of 'hide', make sure that I'm wearing makeup. I ask that you please make sure I remain 'hide' till the very end."

"When your time comes. Then yes, I will."

I didn't believe for even a moment that something like this would happen but I had no choice but to listen.

"Do you actually get it? When I take a single step out my door I put on a hat, glasses or sunglasses.... That's disguise number one. Disguise number two is when I'm on stage, wearing full makeup and with my hair done. It's something I've always done so far. So do you understand just how careful I am?"

"I do, yes."

"So understand that I don't want to let my fans down, to the very end."

"I do, of course."

Suddenly I had another flashback to a time when hide was in the third year of middle high. He had been furious when a band he'd loved split up. He said he felt betrayed. He said, how could they simply split up at their own convenience after he had invested so much of himself in supporting them.

That day he had secretly sworn never to become that type of person. And when it came to questions pertaining to his music, hide continually turned to his 15-year-old self for answers.

So hide asked his inner fat, taciturn, insolent brat to keep a close watch while he pursued a career in rock. If his lyrics were personal, if his songs eclectic, it's because he would turn to 'Hideto Matsumoto - The Boy' for his opinion.

Not only did he focus on the quality of the music he wrote. He also made the packaging for his solo video look like a can, he added bonus 'Phantom Cards' to his CDs. All of these ideas which resembled the 'Glico omake' (2) were things he had wished for himself in his boyhood.

From an adult's point of view such things at first glance seemed silly marketing gadgets. But the harder it was to make something happen in this world, the harder hide went after it.

If for example something was rejected as an outright impossibility without being thought through first, hide would risk his own life fighting for that very thing. That is why once in a while in the middle of his tours he'd exclaim: "Thank you, Gods of Rock!"

He genuinely was racing to stay close to his 'boyhood' sensibility.

As I took a long hard look at hide's face, I thought that this man with his hair dyed pink truly meant to tear through life.

Never for a single moment did I think that this conversation really would become his 'will'.

1. If you're curious about Rally, the bar has its own page here: http://www.redshoes.jp/rally.
2. The Glico food company would add little toys, action figurines, cars, and similar fun extras to its packaging.