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Embrace Freedom: ROTH BART BARON’s Mifune’s Life Advice to His Past Self

2024.4.12

FRISK「#あの頃のジブンに届けたいコトバ」

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FRISK’s collaboration corner “FRISK DEAR ME,” part of the project “Words to Deliver to the Jibuns of Those Days,” supports professionals and students embarking on new challenges, along with the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE.”

Appearing on the third day was Masaya Mifune from the Japanese folk-rock band ROTH BART BARON. From his experiences during high school, when he struggled with absenteeism, to his early twenties filled with anxiety, Mifune reflected on the letter he wrote to himself and discussed how it connects to his current self and the significance of making music, based on his activities in Tokyo and Berlin since 2023.

※NiEW has compiled an article including content that was not broadcast on the show.

Truant High School Days: The Most Intense Period of My Life

Takano (MC): How old were you when you wrote the title of your letter, “Nothing You”?

Mifune: I think I was around 23 or 24 years old when I started playing music, and when I started being pulled more and more by music, I think I was around 23 or 24 years old when I left college, but I was playing with a lot of anxiety. So I wrote a letter to myself, thinking about what it would be like to write words to myself at that time.

Celeina (MC): Let me read the beginning of the letter.

To Unremarkable My Past Self

Hey, how’s it going? You’re still navigating this world solo, grappling with its injustices, feeling the weight of the unknown, but refusing to let go of hope. It’s because of your stubborn resilience and open-heartedness that I’ve become who I am today. I’m sincerely thankful for that.

Preface to the letter. The full text of the handwritten letter by Masaya Mifune (ROTH BART BARON) will be exhibited at the FRISK “Words to Deliver to the Jibuns of Those Days Exhibition,” held at BONUS TRACK in Shimokitazawa from April 11th (Thursday) (click here for details).

Celeina: In the state of ‘being unremarkable,’ seems to be in a state of great anxiety. The feeling of being afraid of something vague resonated with me a lot, as I experienced it when I was around the same age. Masaya-san, I heard that there was a time during your high school days when you didn’t attend school much.

Mifune: I quit after the first 8 months. I was a truant. I think it was what we now call depression, but I couldn’t ride the train, or I would try my best to get to the halfway point, but it was difficult and I would come back home. There was a period of about two years when I rented music and movies from a rental shop and just stayed at home to input my thoughts.

Takano: Do those days lead you to where you are today?

Mifune: Yes, they are. When I think back on it now, it was the most intense time for me to be able to input so much of what I was interested in while everyone else was studying in high school. I absorbed a lot of things like a sponge, so I think now that it was a big season of input in my life.

Takano: You also say, “The only thing I have now that you don’t have is courage.

But what sets me apart now is ‘courage’—something you lack. Just shut your eyes, breathe deeply, and take the leap. The expansive world has been awaiting your arrival for quite some time. It’s up to us to uncover its mysteries, to explore the enchantment of music, even if only a bit, during our lifetime.

Excerpt from Masaya Mifune’s (ROTH BART BARON) letter (“Words to Deliver to the Jibuns of Those Days,” presented by FRISK)

Mifune: It’s not as if there was a clear shift of “Okay, now is the time. I started making music and performing in front of a single-digit number of people, but everyone helped and encouraged me, and as the circle gradually grew larger and larger, I felt like I was able to step out with everyone. I think now that the accumulation of these experiences has made me who I am today, but I didn’t know that at the time. I think it was a step for me to be able to write songs that I liked, and it was also a step for me to meet someone special through music. I think those were really small steps. Rather than a definite step, I feel like it was a huge step made up of many small ones.

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