Japan: Punk author Kou Machida on his offbeat samurai story


kuomachidaYou wouldn’t expect a punk musician to write decent novels, any more than you’d expect a boxer to be good at darning. The talents prized by the former vocation — restlessness, insouciance, hard-wired disregard for authority — don’t lend themselves to the rigors of the author’s life: all those long, solitary work hours, editorial deadlines and incessant rewrites.

But maybe there are a few things one could learn from the other. “When you’re writing a book, there are ways in which you’re supposed to write it, or theories you’re supposed to adhere to,” says Kou Machida, 52-year-old punk survivor and iconoclastic author. “(Punk is about) ignoring those from the very start, and doing things based on your own individuality and sensibilities.”

It’s an approach that has served him well during his career. The Osaka native was still in his teens when he and his band Inu cut one of the defining albums of Japan’s punk era, 1981′s “Meshi Kuna!” (“Don’t Eat Food!”) — and then promptly broke up.

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