A few months after I started working on this site, I suddenly tried to apply “Ryu Murakami” to the role of “KYOKO”.  At that moment,  I felt like a puzzle piece had fallen into place.

I thought Kyoko was a heroine “created” by Ryu Murakami. So I didn’t even think about that.

Kyoko, who is 8 years old, is taught dancing by G.I. Jose Fernando Cortes who is a Cuban-American. Perhaps, the name “Jose Fernando Cortes” comes from “Jose Luis Cortes” who is a precious friend of Murakami.

Why did Ryu Murakami make the movie and write the novel “KYOKO”?
I believe that it’s for himself, not for anyone else.

Ryu Murakami was born in the base town of Sasebo, and since childhood, he has seen and felt the power relationship between the United States and Japan.

from the essay “American Dream”(1984)

This is important, so let me say it again. I am the first generation to secretly watch a woman from my own country have sex with an occupying army soldier in an ordinary house in my town. Probably I am the first generation in the recorded history of Japan.

They were “The U.S.” soldiers. Don’t forget this. Many have forgotten. People pretend they don’t know and feel ashamed. They think it’s over.

This is how the United States came into Japan. G.I. was cheerful and seemed to be having fun. Japanese women gave birth to many mixed-race children. They instilled in me a “mixed-race sensibility.” After the Korean War, our parents continued to work to achieve the “United States level” rather than the “prewar level.” The Japanese government also guided the level of the United States. 

That’s what they taught me at school. Japan as a whole promoted pop culture. America brought the wave of pop to Japan, pushing the tangible, tangible, and edible to the forefront.

He graduated from high school and moved to Tokyo. There he also chose a “U.S. base town” to live in. The “power relationship” with the U.S. continued. This is the background of his novel “Almost Transparent Blue.”

Through his encounter with Cuba, he discovered a new relationship with the United States. The encounter with the “new other, Cuba” changed Ryu Murakami’s “power relationship” with the United States.

In 1991, after he first went to Cuba, he wrote the book “Siboneyes: Faraway Cuba” inspired by Cuba and Miho Nikaido, who starred in “Topaz. In the beginning, “KYOKO was a woman who worked as a stripper in Tokyo and New York.

For those who like settings such as “Almost Transparent Blue”, “Ibiza,” and “Topaz,” that might be a better fit for her. However, Miho Nikaido stepped down. The next actress chosen was not Kyoko for Murakami. The third actress was Saki Takaoka. In the process, the story of the movie changes, Kyoko is not a stripper, but a pure and honest girl who saved money as a truck driver.

I thought that perhaps this “actress change” accident was an arrangement of fate, preparing the door for Ryu Murakami’s next phase.

Ever since the idea for the film was formed, Ryu has been to Cuba many times, and his phase has gradually begun to change, so perhaps there are getting some discrepancies with the original idea.

I have exchanged emails with Ryu Murakami several times. The energy in the emails he sent me was very gentle and sensitive. It was hard to believe the grotesque, erotic, and violent images in his novels. That sensitive and kind sense of energy stayed with me for a while, like a lingering scent after reading the email.

Kyoko, played by Saki Takaoka, may have been Ryu Murakami’s ideal image of a woman, a woman who possessed the gentleness within Ryu and the strength of a woman.

For Ryu Murakami, the path to meeting Cuba and completing KYOKO was a journey of liberation from the “chains” of the United States that had always been in his heart.

No matter how much we read, no matter how much we think  that we understand in our heads, only what we experience becomes flesh and blood.

For Kyoko, Jose Fernando Cortés was “hope”, and dancing was “hope”.

In his unsuitable military life, teaching 8-year-old Kyoko how to dance, holding her hand, and dancing with her was Jose’s “hope”.

Kyoko, who turned 21, went to New York to see Jose. However, Jose is in the final stage of AIDS and cannot remember Kyoko. The “Japanese girl” who takes him to her family in Miami is Jose’s “hope.”

I am sure for Ryu Murakami, Jose Luis Cortes was “hope”.

I strongly believe “Ryu Murakami” was “hope” for Jose Luis Cortés as well.

The essential element for “hope” is “trust.”

The last scene of the novel “KYOKO”

As I danced with the boy, with the steps that José had taught me, I remembered the words of the Native American woman who lived in a cabin in Virginia Beach.

The future is already in your hands.

Now, I understood what that meant.

I was always on my way somewhere.

It’s still like that now, and it was true before I came to New York.

I’m on my way, somewhere.

I used to get tired, and impatient, but now, I am OK.

I realized that there is a future only when I am on the way.

I understood that the future consists of being on the path towards something.

I like Cuba very much, but perhaps I am sure that it is not my final goal.

The moment I tell myself: that I have reached the goal, the future disappears.

When I am on the path of life’s journey, and I am enjoying it, I can have my future in my hands.

Even dying is not the goal (it’s like an accident) and fundamentally nothing has changed since my childhood, since I was a child when I walked along a barbed wire fence.

But, now, the barbed wire fence that I carried inside me at all times has disappeared.

So, in other words, I no longer have that feeling of being permanently away from what is most important to me.

I could find José in New York and the feeling had disappeared during the journey that carried him towards Miami.

It’s not just José, I met many people during this long journey, talking to them, and laughing with them, and then the feeling disappeared.

I can’t speak Spanish and my English isn’t very good, so I am not sure we understood each other.

We met, we crossed paths, that’s all. I was pursuing my goal and my path just crossed theirs.

I may be always on my way somewhere in my life.

It’s unsettling and unstable while I’m on my way somewhere, but I think it’ll probably work out.

Because the dance that José taught me is there, in my body, he lives in me.

I thought, “KYOKO overlapped with my life,” but this is the story of Ryu Murakami. However, if you can see the “top priority”, choose it, and move forward, anyone can be “KYOKO”.

Tosco passes by and shares time and experiences with Murakami’s life while he is “on the way” in his life. the process and experiences are engraved in his heart and become a part of Ryu Murakami.

Tosco lives inside of Murakami and Murakami lives into Tosco’s music.