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Radical Suzuki

by Judit Kawaguchi

Radical Suzuki’s playfully risque illustrations have appeared in books, magazines and advertisements. He’s a geek and proud of it.

My name is Radical because I’m not. I just wanna be! Especially in the sense that I want to create art that expresses my philosophy, which is pretty radical.

Art massages the brain and breaks down all the garbage we have up there. I have way too much there so I need to do art 24/7.

All otaku* turn inward and see nothing but their inner worlds. Basically people who do not want to communicate become otaku, but if they have a creative outlet, they are able to produce great art.

I’m a real hunk in my imagination, but in real life I am a total loser.

Japanese culture is childish and I hope it stays that way forever. Most of us Japanese are otaku on some level and the main characteristic of otaku is our refusal to grow up. Who wants to get serious?

I feel powerful in my dreams and in my art. I draw my own desire and passion, all the things I cannot express in words and all the things I cannot get in real life. In my art I am the coolest guy and I can get any girl. I want the viewer to feel the same power. This reminds me, please buy my paintings: I’m poor!

I still can’t believe I got married this month. Why? Because marriage is for normal folks, but I am a total otaku. Good thing she is, too.

My wife and I are both terrible at human relationships and real love affairs so we just got married right away.

The traditionally arranged marriages of our parents’ generation and the marriages of today’s otaku are the same. They didn’t know anything about the other before the wedding and we don’t know much either. But at least we share a hobby or two.

Getting married changed my view of my parents. Before, I’d never thanked them for anything, but now suddenly I want to say thanks to them for raising me. But of course I can’t do that because I am too shy.

Enka** is the soul of Japan and karaoke is the best way to express it. I especially love the song Erimo Misaki (Erimo Pier) by Mori Shinichi because he sings about a close-knit community in a small port town in snowy Hokkaido. This is the type of life I would love to have, but I never will. Good thing I like this song because this is my father-in-law’s favorite song, too, and she decided to marry me after she heard me sing it in a karaoke box.

Women are all a mystery to me. I have no idea what kind of creatures they are so my wife is my primary research subject. I hope she is a good representative. Like, she has mood swings and I am still wondering whether that is normal for all women or not. Is it?

My wife and I are all over each other at home because outside we never touch. I am sure all Japanese are like that.

Life is art, art is sex, so life is sex. Sex is not just making love; being alive equals sex.

Notes: *Otaku are basically geeks, typically hardcore fans of manga, anime, video games and so on.

**Enka is a type of traditional Japanese music that often deals with nostalgic feelings and loss.

Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a TV reporter on NHK’s “Weekend Japanology” http://www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/japanology_e.html