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Aichi: Saxophone Samurai soothing souls

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Saxophone Samurai performs in the heart of Sakae, Nagoya’s busiest area.

NAGOYA — A saxophonist clad in a kimono and a traditional straw hat that covers his face has entranced passersby in Nagoya’s downtown area.

Dubbing himself the “Saxophone Samurai,” this mysterious figure can be seen mainly on weekends in front of train stations and on busy streets across Aichi Prefecture.

“I want to soothe the hearts of those passing by with music,” he said.

This “samurai” who lives and works in Nagoya, was captivated by the saxophone in his junior high school days and has taught himself to play since then. He took a break from music after starting a family but started performing on the road about five years ago.

He has more than 100 songs in his repertoire, including Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World.” Pedestrians will often stop to listen to his delicate tones.

He began wearing his traditional straw hat in July last year as a way to prevent droplets from spreading as he says it acts as a replacement for a face shield. Videos and photos of his performances have made the rounds on social media, and his enigmatic appearance and the moving sounds of his instruments have become quite a hot topic. He has over 50,000 Twitter followers. He plans to continue his performances during the year-end and New Year holidays if the pandemic situation allows.

“I hope to create music that can make those who are depressed or those dealing with negative feelings or anxiety stop to listen.”