INSP Vendor Playlist: Teruo Irishima (The Big Issue Japan, Osaka, Japan)

Masayoshi Takanaka – ‘Nagisa Moderato’ / ‘Blue Lagoon’

Although he usually has a magazine in his hands, today Teruo Irishima, a Big Issue Japan vendor whose pitch is near the Sky Building in Umeda, Osaka, has an emerald green electric guitar. In a well-practiced manner, he takes the guitar, borrowed from a staff member, out of its case. “In the old days I spent so much time playing the guitar. Even now, when I have a guitar, my fingers move unconsciously telling me that I am keen to play it”.

The Big Issue Japan vendor Teruo Irishima

Teruo, 55, always listens to music when he is walking between the office and his pitch, mostly renowned Japanese guitarists like Char, The Alfee and X Japan. His favourite, though, is Masayoshi Takanaka, who is also a composer. “His songs ‘Nagisa Moderato’ and ‘Blue Lagoon’ encourage me to work hard, today and always. His guitar calms me down and makes me feel comfortable. Totally unlike other guitarists, he has originality. I think he has a unique sound that only he can play.”

The Big Issue Japan vendor Teruo Irishima

Teruo was 14 years old when he started to play the guitar. “Our class decided to sing a folk song in the school chorus festival and one classmate asked everyone: ‘Does anyone have a guitar?’ My father was the only one that did, so I got to play his guitar at the festival. Since then, I started going to the house of my older friend who plays an electric guitar, and then I started to practice it. It was in those days when I started to listen to Masayoshi Takanaka. I was also part of a band”.

Walking with the guitar bag over his shoulder, it seems to fit naturally on Teruo’s back.

Listen: Spotify / YouTube

Check out the full playlist here.

Editing by Tony Inglis