Violent Onsen Geisha 暴力温泉芸者

The other day I decided I wanted to try translating something, ended up on the Asashi Shimbun webpage, and decided to translate a review based solely on the title of the work being reviewed. I ended up doing 斉藤環's review of 中原昌也's autobiography, 死んでも何も残さない. Nakahara Masaya is a fairly popular guy, it seems. The review mentions one of his (many) projects, "Violent Onsen Geisha," which is referred to as a ノイズユニット. Noise unit? I didn't find a definition online, but looking through my handy dandy notebook Google search, I eventually decided I'd be probably mostly correct in thinking ノイズユニットmeant noise. And by noise I mean noise music. If you are more knowledgeable than me, have heard of noise music, and like it, you may find this blog interesting, if you haven't found it already. You won't find Nakahara's personal site, though, due to his apparent distrust of the internets.

Anyway, the nearest brush I've ever had with 'noise' is maybe The Mars Volta (yes, I like them, leave me alone!) and I don't think they'd really be considered noise even if they have long passages of what I would call noise. So I wondered what the nature of Nakahara's noise music was. Also the name is pretty awesome. There is an array of his music on youtube. A couple of the songs I've heard from the album "Nation of Rhythm Slaves" use found music, but you can find all kinds of genres, it seems, in noise.

There is also a music video!

Violent Onsen Geisha appears to be operating under the name Hair Stylistics, now. 

There were aspects of the review other than ノイズユニットthat I had some trouble translating, so I'll probably be looking a bit more at those later.


Translated Book Review (Series?): 「死んでも何も残さない」中原昌也 

Originally appearing in the Asahi Shimbun.

死んでも何も残さないー中原昌也 自伝 ("I Won't Leave Anything Behind, Even in Death") by Masaya Nakahara
Reviewed by Tamaki Saitou
Translated on a whim by myself, with a fair bit disgusting amount of temerity and tribulation, beginning with the title

A Genius for Pure Nonsense

Admitting the author himself would hate to hear it, I've been a decade-long fan of Masaya Nakahara. As an author who continues to utilize pure nonsense in his work, he is a rarity in Japan. When one suddenly laughs it is because one can't help but do so to hide the dismay of the anti-pleasure-seeking experience which is inherent in true nonsense.

A creator of nonsense without pathological basis, Nakahara's genius was displayed freely through the noise music project "Violent Onsen Geisha." However, despite winning three major literary prizes, that genius did not result in any financial success. Why not? Because people of this country don't put out cash for anything but "stories."

This book, resembling stream of consciousness, in addition to telling us how that singular talent was nurtured, is a uniquely intimate work. Nakahara, raised in Aoyama, was a "poor city kid." A child who liked occult movies, he says his foundation is "Monty Python." An enthusiasm toward senseless violence and laughs. Nakahara, who considers the iPod "a device that turns music into nothing but background music," trusts neither digital broadcasts nor the internet. These are equipment that suppress the variety that is nonsense and the choice of freedom which still existed in the 80's. Within the substance of analog objects, there is "an incomprehensible chaos born of human power."

Yes, it isn't simply nonsense that he loves. There is the "ruthlessness carried by printed type," the "folly of simply acting in violent passion." From this view point, in his description of the point at which he glimpses the true essence of film through the beheading scene of the film "The Omen," there is a persuasive power which is beyond criticism.

"I don't want to write anything but the things that I write not because I want to write them": his compositions reflect on the "absurdity of the world," but that consequently is what is called nonsense. The fact that this book's title, in this "World After 3/11," can be read as if it were a simple declaration, is by no means a coincidence.

Original text:


本人が嫌がることを承知で言えば、私は十年来の中原昌也のファンだ。彼は純粋な無意味さを小説において実践し続けた作家として、 日本では稀有(けう)な存在である。その小説を読んでつい笑ってしまうのは、真の無意味さが持つ反―享楽的な体験の恐怖を、笑ってごまかすしかないため だ。
語り下ろしによる本書は、その特異な才能がいかにして育まれたかを知る上で、またとない好著である。青山育ちの中原は「貧乏な 都会っ子」だった。オカルト映画好きの子どもだった彼の基本は「モンティ・パイソン」だという。意味のない暴力と笑いへの情熱。 iPodを「音楽を BGM以上のものにさせない機械」とする中原は、地デジもネットも信用しない。それは80年代にはまだあった選択の自由や、無意味さという多様性を抑圧す る装置だ。アナログなものの物質性には、「人間の力によって生まれるわけのわからない混沌(こんとん)」があったのだ。