Being a TV personality in Japan, Marty Friedman says, “It’s Enabled Me To Live The Exact Life That I Want To Do.”
Marty Friedman, a former MEGADETH guitarist who has been residing and creating music in Japan since 2003, was questioned about what first brought him to the country in a recent interview with Greg Prato of Consequence. “It was absolutely the music,” he retorted. The only way to create Japanese music is to be here and fully immerse me. I was quite fortunate when I arrived here and was invited to join the group of Aikawa Nanase, one of my favourite Japanese singers.
So, six or eight months after arriving here, I was already doing exactly what I intended to do. And that simply put me where I wanted to be in the J-pop music world. I began collaborating with all of my favourite musicians and producers while performing live, recording and producing songs. So, when I switched to working in Television, the world truly opened up.
Friedman also discussed his fame as a Japanese television celebrity. I didn’t initially want to do it at all, he said. As I already mentioned, when I first arrived here, I became a member of one of my favourite J-pop singers, and that’s when people started to notice you. That essentially opened up a lot of new doors for me, one of which doors was a tv production business that cast me in a brand-new programme. At first, I wasn’t particularly interested in performing it because I preferred to just concentrate on playing J-pop music.
When I refer to J-pop as “pop,” I mean it to be extremely hard metal. Heavy metal has a significant influence. People become frightened when they hear the word “pop,” but it contains a wild guitar. I was enthralled. They advised me to try the TV thing instead of focusing on what I wanted to do. You speak excellent Japanese and have a very intriguing point of view. Try it out, please. And what came out of the box first was a huge hit. “Heavymeta-san,” which later became “Rock Fujiyama,” was the programme’s name. Six seasons were involved. It’s unprecedented for a new show.
Then, as a result of other opportunities and my management’s efforts to fill things up, more people are familiar with me through Television than from music. And this is still true. He’s the man from Television, but this is what he does was kind of the headline for doing this Budokan show special appearance with MEGADETH on 27th February when a lot of it was reported on Yahoo! News and things like that.
Working in Television has allowed me to tour America for two months with my songs without encountering any issues. I’ve been able to live exactly the life I want. It has greatly increased my freedom. Of course, you cannot know when someone approaches you from where they may recognise me. Making music, though, is what I do for a living, and I adore it more than anything.
Friedman was questioned about whether he faced a culture clash when visiting his former homeland of America in November 2021. Marty remarked that Japanese culture fully engulfed him when they moved to Japan. I didn’t work with any English speakers. Around me, nobody spoke English. I only used English when conducting worldwide publicity, overseas tours, or international interviews. Hence, the Japanese were present nonstop. And after years and years of that, you begin to dream in Japanese.
We only speak Japanese because my wife is Japanese. So, since you’ve become part of a place’s culture when you reside there, cultural practices are becoming an additional part of you. Furthermore, Japan’s priorities differ from those of the United States. Instead, what matters in South America may not matter in Europe. The issues that are important daily are thus diverse. While “cultural shock” is a word that can be shocking, I don’t truly feel shocked.
Yet, I consider myself extremely fortunate since I can experience all that being an American has to offer whenever I visit. Nevertheless, I’ve been in Japan for about 20 years, and before that, I was immersed in so many Japanese circumstances that I now have a distinct cultural component that allows me to feel two of them.
He said, “You should never consider that you’re striving to belong. “I’m never, ever going to be Japanese, regardless of how flawless my Japanese is—and it’s not perfect. If you aim to fit into a different society, I believe you will be very disappointed. I feel that Japan has had a significant influence on me. Because, despite your best efforts, Japanese is a one-race culture. You look different, were born somewhere else, and have distinct characteristics. Thus, adding value to Japan is the goal rather than belonging.
You will be disappointed trying to fit in with something like that. It’s not a letdown, though. In reality, you are only truly your own. Moreover, belonging is overstated. Hence, I believe you’ll enjoy your time in Japan much more if you embrace your uniqueness while learning about Japan and using its wonderful features. And if people aren’t always welcoming to foreigners, don’t be disappointed. All nations experience this. With older generations in particular, you simply have to accept the situation. Ah, the world is changing, they say.
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