Because I met Koma at Hijikata Tatsumi’s studio. Hijikata is the last name, Tatsumi again is the first name. And he’s a very important artist in — and he basically was the central figure along with our second teacher, Ohno Kazuo. I think internationally he’s really famous as Kazuo Ohno. But it was in Hijikata’s studio I went, I believe in 1970. No, 1971, I think I went in 1971, and I saw Koma there. I didn’t think anything about it. Just like in Hijikata’s studio where we would make partners, random partners in terms of working, making dances or you know, learning the choreography, and I didn’t really get along with other people. And it’s not particularly I got along with Koma, not at all, it’s just like he had a most similar political interest. I was once a student of political science in law department, so I was pretty hardcore in that way, and he too was a political science major in another school’s law department.
But what bonded us is not so much about liking each other, it’s like we both dropped out, and we both were politically active. The difference is again the age, our three and a half year age difference meant he was very much a real sense of activist in college, whereas I was an activist as a high school student, which of course, you can understand, was someone who was being arrested and really active in university student movement.1 He looked at me as like young chicken, who really did not know what I was talking about.
I on the other hand thought I was a very serious activist at that age, in early age really. And that’s a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in Tokyo, and my high school was in the middle of this student movement. So, now I look back, and I kind of think “Oh my God, I was like 17 or 18 as I was doing all that, the political movement. But we were doing it. So, when I met Koma, he was quite a bit senior. I mean, he had an aura. I mean once people are arrested, I mean that’s the kind of amazingly important — not expression, because you don’t get arrested to express, but you know, at least it kind of showed the seriousness of his involvement. Also, he kept his silence during his detention, which was remarkable.2 Many people tried to do that. It’s not easy to do that.
So, for those things, he was impressive to me as the way that his being critical to the society, it had its own integrity through his real sense of activism, not just the words only.3