Extended Profile for Yujiro Komatsu

Age 0:
My relatives who lived next door gave violin lessons at their home studio, and I was brought up listening to the sound of stringed instruments.
(When I was in my teens, I fought back against this sound with my electric guitar!)
Age 12:
Completed elementary school at Nagaike Public Elementary School in Osaka.
Age 13:
Dropped out of Showa Public Middle School in Osaka.
Transferred to Kaizuka Public Boarding School in Osaka.
At this school, an intimidating older schoolmate taught me a little folk guitar, and my kind and charming dorm mother taught me the famous E minor "Romance."
My dorm mother Emiko Ofuji and Chiyoko Nagaoka impressed upon me the importance of the heart, rescuing me in this unstable period of my life.
Age 15:
With the help of my teacher Nagayasu and my childhood friend Nakajima, I returned to Showa Middle School and managed to complete my studies.
After finishing middle school, I began working almost nonstop, working at an ironwork, distributing tissues, installing street signs, working in the warehouse of a refrigeration plant, working at Mister Donut, and working as a jewelry maker's assistant.
At this time, I was into guitar players like the Austin, Texas guitarists Eric Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Age 21:
I was more focused on my work than on my studies; however, I managed to graduate from the Design Department of Osaka Industrial Arts Public High School.
Age 22:
Kenji Morimoto, a contemporary artist and one of my teachers, greatly influenced me, and I began working under his direction.
At this time, I had the good fortune to learn desktop publishing/design from Takahiro Wada, an experienced graphic designer and director of the Wataya Design Factory.
I worked as a student teacher for four and a half years at Osaka Industrial Arts Public High School. During that time, I was supported by the teachers in the Design Department, the people in the livelihood guidance office, and the students. This period sparked my interest in education.
This quote by Jinzaburo Takagi, a social scientist, beautifully expresses the deepest values held by educators:
"Above all, I want to draw out the finest qualities in people (especially young people) and work toward building a sustainable future on this planet--I want to make this a realistic hope that can be held."
from Shimin Kagaku Books: Ningen no Kao o Shita Kagaku (Nanatsu Mori Shokan)
Age 24:
To get my license for teaching English, I entered as a working student into the Humanities Department of Kyoto Seika University. It was here that I would meet John Einarsen, founder of the Kyoto Journal. John was a mentor and a central figure as I shaped my outlook on life.
Age 26:
Through the encouragement of my advisor Setsuko Tsuji and with the generous support of my senior colleagues to whom I am forever indebted, I was able to go to the States to study alternative media and NPOs. I studied at Antioch College in Ohio and at Positive Futures Network, an NPO in Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Washington that produces alternative media. Also at this time I began to put energy into "O Fantastico!," a band I formed with friends.
Age 27:
After graduating from Kyoto Seika University, I put my efforts into producing alternative media. In various NPOs and grassroots organizations, I contributed my skills in design and editing. I was strongly drawn to the activism of those like the environmental journalist Aileen Miyoko Smith and their investigation into the true meaning of social equality. I began to work with the environmental NGO Green Action. At this time, I led a class on media literacy at Kyoto Zokei University, working together with top authorities like Midori Suzuki and Rebecca Jennison.
Age 29:
I worked hard as an editorial design freelancer and overloaded myself. My close friend MAR introduced me to Franklin Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Keiko Takahashi's Total Life Human Principles, and thus I became interested in personal development.
Age 31:
Toshihiko Matsuda of Kyoto Macrobiotic introduced me to the activities of George Ohsawa and Michio Kushi, and I was hooked. I also visited the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts.
Age 32:
As a working adult, the question I continually asked myself was: "If time and resources were unlimited, what would I want to try? Are there things that I truly feel I should be doing but have stopped for some reason or other? If I were to do one thing in my life that would have the most positive impact, what would that one thing be?" I realized that what I had always really wanted to do was pursue the guitar. Life passes so quickly, and I knew that when I died I would regret doing only what I felt was simply good and ignoring what I felt was my best. Regardless of how late I started, I decided to begin doing what I felt was the best thing I could do with my life. This was when I was graced by the encounter with Keigo Fujii, a teacher who seeks to transmit the essence of guitar music.
Age 33:
Certain circumstances made me aware of personal anger issues, and I began to study Vipassana meditation to dissolve this anger. I feel grateful to my friends who made me aware of this.
Age 34:
I formed a guitar duo with my close friend Adam Catt and began performing, trying to put into practice my teacher's concept of "giving expansion to the music." Coming up against many obstacles, my journey continues...

In my twenties, as I considered what path I would set out on, I felt somewhat hesitant about heading down the musical path straightaway. All the artists that I had felt drawn to--Bono from U2, Okamoto Taro, Pablo Picasso, Shimizu Seiichi, and many others had one thing in common: they were committed to society. I therefore decided to first gain experience in society, and by placing myself in profit and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and working as a public official, I sought to heighten my sensibility to society's needs. I am still in the process of learning, but as I have approached the later half of my life (I'm 34), I have decided to begin pursuing my original desire to make music. I want to integrate my music-making with my efforts to empower others, aiming at the spirit expressed in the statement above by Jinzaburo Takagi.

As I review the different stages of my life, I realize that I owe everything to those around me. I am grateful also to the many people I haven't listed here. The reason I am here today is because of these people.

I will make mistakes, yet I want to fulfill the role that I was meant to play in this world, and I need all the advice I can get. Feel free to guide and shape me!

Lastly, I am grateful to my family for creating me. To end, I would like to quote one of my favorite statements by a musician.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,
Yujiro (age 34)

The quote:
"The mountain I am trying to climb, if seen from another person's perspective, is no more than a hill--and that fact I acknowledge and accept."