Thank you to everyone who came to see the two shows in Tokyo and the one in Nagoya.
Last week I wrote about “abbreviations” and this week I’d like to talk about “nicknames.” I’ve never had one myself. My real name is 木村 和, and the fact that the “和” is read as “Kan” was back in those days just this astonishing thing. Even now, 43 years later, it still remains at the forefront of naming. All through kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, I was called “Kan-chan” by my seniors, “Kan-kun” by girls and “Kan” by friends. I’ve never received a nickname even once.
On the contrary, there have been times when this real name of mine has been thought to have been a nickname. For example, during the summer holidays when I was an elementary school 4th grader, I was attending this swimming school. This guy, I think he was student of the Fukuoka University swimming club, he was working there part-time as a swimming instructor. Each time there was a roll call, he’d call out “Kazushi Kimura!” and instead of a “yes,” I’d go “it’s Kan.” That’s always how the exchange went. Neither of us was willing to back down for the entire summer, so that went on for the whole 20 days of swimming school. Just one of those “Kyushu boys” episodes.
Then, near the end of my 3rd year in high school, a guy who had been in the same class with me since year 1 asked me, “by the way, man, what’s your real name anyways?” Since he’d heard everyone else calling me “Kan,” he naturally just followed their example. But as we got to our 3rd year with graduation looming right around the corner, I guess he felt he ought to at least make sure of his friend’s name.
Even after moving to Tokyo, all my university friends and band mates kept calling me “Kan” or “Kan-chan.” Thinking back, the last time I was even called “Kimura” must’ve been around ’84-’86 when I was working part-time at a Ginza restaurant. At any rate, I’ve never had a nickname. I made my debut as “KAN” in ’87, changing the reading of my real name to the alphabet version. But that’s a “stage name,” right? Yet, I still continue to be called “Kan,” “Kan-chan,” “Kan-kun,” “Kan-san” or “Kan-sama.” There’s no sign of me getting a nickname anytime soon.
Well, be that as it may, it’s not like I really want a nickname or that I even have a particular one in mind. No strong feelings of that sort. But, how should I put it…? It’s like, I have this kind of admiration for getting called by a nickname. The story behind the nickname, the circumstances under which it was born in, and whether the person in question actually likes it or not, those are of course all things important to take into consideration, but it’s like, if you have another name, I think it must feel like you have this whole other realm to explore. That’s why I kind of admire it. “I have no experience with it nor am I going to going to do anything in order to make it happen, but it just feels like another realm, so I admire it…” Theoretically, I could say the same about something like skydiving or scuba diving.
In the early days of Kome Kome CLUB, Tatsuya Ishii was calling himself “Donald Heigen,” then later changed the stage name to “Carl Smokey Ishii” (which the masses all accepted), and on top of that, he was always called “Teppei-chan” for some reason. Now, if you think about that in the terms I just talked about… man, that’d be the same as me jumping from an altitude of 3,000 meters above the sea next to some Southern island, diving directly underwater to take pictures of fish. I kind of admire him for a variety of reasons. Not that I will by any means try to make the same happen for myself, nor that I want it to. Not at all.