Dec 23, 2011

"I Talked with Mr. Seiji Ozawa about Music": Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa

I couldn't write a new journal on weekday, because I had too many things to do. Today is the Emperor's birthday, which is a holiday, so I can began to write this journal now. But the topic has no relationship with the Emperor's birthday.

I've read Haruki Murakami's latest book "I Talked with Mr. Seiji Ozawa about Music" 「小澤征爾さんと、音楽について話をする」.

Seiji Ozawa is the most famous Japanese conductor, who had worked as a music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years and used to be a principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.

He suffered from esophageal cancer and took a break for treatment. But he had unexpected free time and Haruki Murakami was able to interview him for a large portion of it.

Seiji Ozawa and Haruki Murakami are the most respected living Japanese artists in the world now, so this book is quite interesting and worth reading for fans of classical music and literature.

I'd like to quote and translate some passage in this book.

In the preface Haruki Murakami wrote about things in common between them.

I began to think that Mr. Seiji Ozawa and I have something in common between us.

At first, both of us feel very pure pleasure about working. Although our specialities are different, music and literature, we are happiest while we devote to our work. The fact that we concentrate on them gives us the deepest satisfaction.

Secondary, we are as hungry as when we were young. The most important motivation of working and living is our spirits of inquiry that make us go forward. I can feel deeply his greediness in a good sense from his words.

Finally we are stubborn. We are patient, tough, and stubborn. We could do just what we want to do, even if anyone said anything. If it caused hardship or made someone hate us, we would accept responsibility without excuse.





I remembered the Stevie Jobs's words in his speech "Stay hungry, stay foolish." (See my journal "Reading the Air") They really "stay hungry and stay foolish." It might be the reason why they touch the people beyond Japanese boarder.

Seiji Ozawa talked about growing as follows.
Ozawa "I'm changing, even when I became so old. I'm changing through the experience, and it might be the feature of the occupation of conductor. We change at the field. A conductor can do nothing without the real sound of an orchestra. I read a score and make sound in my brain. And then the players of the orchestra and I make the real sound. This process creates many things, for example, the practical human relationship or the musical judge about focusing the part of the music. Sometimes we should check the music in the wide view, and other times we should deeply stick to the short phrase. I have to decide the point of focus. We change ourselves through these experiences."


Although Seiji Ozawa said that this was the feature of conductors, I think that everyone, who works with someone else, must experience the same thing of what Seiji Ozawa said.

I'm one of managers in my company. I always think about how the members of my team help each other and work together. Sometimes I think about it in the long term, and other times I concentrate on the fine detail. With this interaction inside my head, the team, myself included, comes into state of change.

We shouldn't be afraid of changing.


  1. Dear Yagian,
    Thank you very much for this very interesting post (it had escape my attention previously). I have to confess that I do not know this new book of Murakami not Seiji Ozawa, but I have got curious about the contents of the book from reading your post. I take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year! I am very happy to have found your blog that I read often. Gambatte!

  2. Thank you very much. I always enjoy your beautiful photos.

    I've got many warm comments, which made me keep my diary for a year.

    Have a happy new year!