About

 

 

When Anzai Yoshitoki finally found his voice, he ended a family tradition of silence that stretched back half a century.

For 11 years, Anzai, also affectionately known as “Mooki” by his family, due to his cherub like features, almost never left his room in his family’s home outside of Sapporo on Hokkaido, Japan’s huge northern island. “I was hikikomori,” Mooki explains, one of almost a million boys and young men in Japan who shut themselves away and withdraw from society. In Mookis’ case, he stopped going to school and retreated to his room after sustained episodes of vicious hazing and harassment by older students, a chronic problem in Japanese public schools.

But even before his own withdrawal when he was 14, Mooki had first-hand experience of what silence and isolation was like. “My grandfather was a Soviet prisoner of war until 1949. He was a very young soldier in the Japanese army in Manchuria towards the end of the Pacific War (World War II) and was a POW many years longer than he was a soldier.” He married when he returned and seemed OK. But while watching the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, he saw the Soviet Union flag carried by Russian athletes, and something snapped. He did not speak another word for 20 years.

When Mooki became hikikomori in 1991, he had no computer or Internet for amusement, only books and magazines that his parents would leave by his door, on a tray with his meals, and television. One day, his older sister put in front of his door a big box of her cast-off magnetic tape cassettes of 70’s and 80’s disco music, and some old recipe books.  At night, Mooki’s family heard him dancing and singing along. Which gave his mother an idea. One New Year’s Day, his mother left a Yamaha keyboard outside his room. As a young boy, Mooki had learned to play the violin and recorder through the Suzuki method. Alone, he taught himself how to play the piano keyboard, using only the instruction manual. And Mookie started writing his own music. He credits the music with helping him gradually emerge from isolation in 2002, although he remains painfully shy. Since his emergence from self imposed isolation he began composing music at a ferocious rate, not to mention cooking up to five different recipes at a time from the old cook books which he had memorised by heart using an old Japanese technique called “Ayumu”.  His Mother couldn’t believe that her child could cook such amazing noodles from long forgotten recipes, not to mention hold a great tune.

Some listeners describe Mooki’s music as retro, reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder, ABBA, Andy Gibb, Toto, Grandmaster Flash, Fatback, and Kool & The Gang. One reason may be because of the influence of his sister’s tape cassettes. “I played them over and over and over, and it started to bother my sister and my parents. Japanese houses have thin walls so even when I turned the volume down, it annoyed them. My sister slipped a note under the door that said, ‘I will buy you some current popular rock music if you will just please stop playing my old cassettes! I didn’t mind hearing those songs the first thousand times but I don’t like them anymore.’ The next day, there was a pair of headphones outside my door.

Then one day after his parents returned home from work, they found a steaming pot of noodles and a note to say that he had left home to explore the world, and especially Africa as it seemed so far away, and that he would pay his way by singing and cooking for people. because if his family enjoyed his talents so much he would have plenty of “Hofu” or appreciation from those who lived in far away places.

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11 responses to “About”

  1. Até says :

    This has got to be the singular most interesting thing I have read in such a long time… ^_^ I really look forward to your blog posts now.. they are truly wonderful. And the awesome music helps too 😀

  2. Roxy says :

    This sounds like an incredible venture! Definitely sticking around to see your posts!

  3. Ben Chasteen says :

    Mooki RSS feed request to Before It’s News      
     
    Hi Anzai Yoshitoki,  

    My name is Ben Chasteen and I’m the Science/Technology editor at Before It’s News http://www.beforeitsnews.com. Our site is a People Powered news platform with over 4,000,000 visits a month and growing fast. We like to think of our selves as the “You Tube” of news. 

    We would be honored if we could republish your blog RSS feed in our Science/Technology category. Our readers need to read what your Mooki blog has to say.

    Syndicating to Before It’s News is a terrific way spread the word and grow your audience. Many other organizations are using Before It’s News to do just that.  I just need you to reply with your permission to do so. Please include the full name and email of the person who will be attached to the account, and let me know the name you want on the account (most people have their name or their blog name). 

    You can also have any text and/or links you wish appended to the end or prepended to the beginning of each of your posts on Before It’s News. Just email me the text and links that you want at the beginning and/or ending of each post. If you know html you can send me that. If not, just send me the text and a link to your site. It should be around 200 characters or less (not including links).

    Thank you,

    Ben Chasteen
    Science/ Technology Editor
    Before It’s News
    775 East Blithedale Ave. #362
    Mill Valley, CA 94941
    http://www.beforeitsnews.com

  4. Manuel says :

    Hi
    I’m Manuel Llorens, technical Architect and skater and with my wife interior designer, we created Skate-Home. (www.skate-home.com). I am contacting you to present a new product.
    This is an idea that combines the furniture to the world of skateboarding.
    We design furniture using real skateboards and turn it into couches, chairs, coat racks, lamps, mirrors, chests, stools, etc …
    So we would feel very honored if you were taken the trouble to visit our http://www.skate-home.com and publish an article stating their opinions about us in your web.
    We would be glad to link your web on our site as a prestigious reference.

    • Mr Miyagi says :

      Hi Manuel,

      I had a quick look this morning at your work and it looks amazing! I will put it up on the blog with pleasure in the next few days. We would be honoured if you put up a link to Mooki on your site. If you have any more inspiring ideas or know of friends that want to show off their creative side please send the info to us. Mr Miyagi

  5. courtney says :

    What a beautiful story.

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