Hiroyuki Namba and I (E)The 39-th Annual Science Fiction Convention of Japan
Official Internet Web Pages
The 39th Japan Science Fiction Convention
5(Sat.)-6(Sun.) August 2000 AD
at Pacifico Yokohama, Yokohama JAPAN
Hiroyuki Namba and I|
by Takumi Shibano
(Author; Translator; Editor of Uchujin [Cosmic Dust])
For the first time in years, I had an opportunity to enjoy a live keyboard performance given by Hiroyuki Namba: he was scheduled to perform during ZERO-CON, this year's Japan Science Fiction Convention.|
Far more strongly than any vinyl or compact disc recording, Mr. Namba's living music that evening "struck a chord" in me, a joy felt through and through.
At the outset of the performance, I was surprised to encounter the familiar theme of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" woven into his first number, "Hello Thomas" -- a piece inspired, Mr. Namba explained, by the true story of Thomas Alva Edison's phonograph.|
The second number, "The Green Hills of Earth", was also familiar to me, being an arrangement of a Kiyoshi Imaoka original, not to mention a Robert A. Heinlein reference.
There then followed a tune which I recognized, but couldn't quite place.
As I was pondering where I'd heard it before, Takayuki Tatsumi -- who happened to be sitting beside me -- leaned over and whispered, "This is 'Ringworld', you know."
Indeed I had encountered this piece, on the album which Mr. Namba had given me to commemorate my translation of Larry Niven's novel of the same title.
I believe it was the end of 1966 when I first met Mr. Namba, then a precocious seventh grader newly selected for membership in the literary coterie Uchujin (whose name translates as "Cosmic Dust").|
Mr. Namba came to pay me a visit in my role as founder of Uchujin and editor of its magazine (also called Uchujin), a post I occupied for many years.
Mr. Namba went on the following year to win the Nousei Abe Literary Award for his cyborg story "Seidouiro no Shi" ("Death of a Bronze"), and thus won acclaim as a writer long before becoming a famous musical artist.
His writing career prospered.|
A collection of Mr. Namba's SF short stories, "Hikousen no Ue no Shinsesaiza-hiki" ("Synthesist on a Zeppelin") appeared in 1982, and was followed by several other books.
Even now, the series of reviews he wrote for Uchujin from 1972 to 1973, "Seishounen SF Fan Katsudou Shou-shi" ("A Short History of Juvenile SF Fan Activities") is regarded as indispensable to understanding Japanese SF fandom during that period.
If I am qualified to write liner notes for an album by Hiroyuki Namba, it is as a fellow lover of science fiction rather than as a music aficionado.|
What pleased me most about his performance that evening was that the image I'd had of him as a fair youth had not changed one bit after all these years.
I could feel it in the strains of his marvelous music.
|May Hiroyuki Namba's good fortune continue, and may his youthful spirit endure forever. (8/20/2000).|
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