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Hans Platzgumer / Ca Mi Tokujiro

Shonen A


Shonen A
Thriller, Soundtrack, Electropop
A case from Japan

The story is quickly told.
"Shonen A", Japanese for "Boy A", is the anonymous name for a fourteen year old who is convicted of the cruel murder of a younger schoolboy. The case "Shonen A" took place in 1997 in the Japanese port of Kobe. A shocked public bemoaned the decline of high-tech youth and, among other things, blamed brutal videos, superhero computer games and comics for this violent act. The written records and statements of the perpetrator were influenced to a large extent by the subject matter of the games which are popular with Japanese youth. The sound is on the track of this crime. "Shonen A" takes newspaper reports on the case plus published threatening letters and diary entries by the perpetrator and turns them into 19 music tracks: pop songs to dance to, with techno, house or freestyle electronics, meditative chants, instrumentals, vocal samples and thriller-type soundtracks with 70s movie and psychedelia inserts. A German voice (Peter Veit) leads us through the plot of the murder, presents the pompous, gruesome records of the perpetrator and the newspaper reports in a constantly matter-of-fact tone. Hans Platzgumer's soundscapes in the background maintain and increase the tension, secretly scrape away at the nerve-endings. For the singing part of Ca Mi Tokujiro, Platzgumer finds different free forms of electronic music which ignore the common genres and rely totally on strong rhythms. Tokujiro sings in Japanese. Lyrics which interrogate the perpetrator, which depict his confusion between the virtual and the real worlds. Speech and voice convey autonomous, exotic, emotion-laden atmospheres. Easily recognisable lines of song in pop refrains, with easy-to-reproduce melodies, alternate with meditative chants of the Buddhist prayer "Hannya Shingyo" in the traditional style - the best known sutra of Buddhists. "Shonen A" does not contain any explicit criticism of society or the media. And yet the electropop soundtrack poses uncomfortable questions about the causes of the worrying youth criminality in Japan and the recurrent phenomenon of the youthful murderer who claims he killed "to see what it was like". The fragile scenario of an Asian high-tech dolce vita between traditional education rituals, a scenario that has declared a generation to be the collective target consumer group of an efficient industrial nation - that is what "Shonen A" turns quite incidentally into its musical focus.

Barbara Schäfer

Hans Platzgumer, born in Innsbruck, living in Munich. Platzgumer is a musician and producer, he played with H.P. Zinker and Goldene Zitronen and conducts various music projects such as Shinto, Queen of Japan and Cube & Sphere. He composes for radio plays and films.

Ca Mi Tokujiro, grew up in Tokyo, studied art at the Academy in Munich. Plays with the Tokyo Pikadons and, together with Platzgumer, he founded the Japanese pop band Shinto. The Shinto CD "liberal bullshit" was released in 1999.

13 Jahre eingesperrt
Most people assume, quite incorrectly, that the beast will also be bestial in appearance. As a rule the beast looks more normal than your own siblings or parents, and that's how he behaves as well. He pretends to be more virtuous than virtue itself could ever be. Just as a rosebud of wax or a peach of plastic often appears more genuine and more perfect than reality.

Asahi Newspaper 27.05.1997
Towards evening the police received a report that the severed head of a child had been found in the municipal school in the Suma district of Kobe. The head was identified as that of the eleven year old Jun, son of the doctor Hase, resident of the same district. The boy had been missing since the afternoon of 24 May and the police had been searching for him. There had been two attacks on schoolgirls in the same district in quick succession in March. Of them had died subsequently of her injuries. The police are not discounting the possibility that the three attacks are linked. According to police reports, the head was found on a gatepost in front of the school. The boy's mouth had been slit open and in it there was a threatening letter addressed to the police, obviously placed there by the perpetrator himself.

Yomiuri Newspaper
In the murdered boy's mouth there was a letter with the characters for wine, devil, rose, holy and fighter: SAKAKIBARA SEITO.

Hora Matasa
And again,
suffering, concealing, pampered - playful murder
and here,
lonely, irresponsible, trembling - mad egoism

And again,
unloved, misunderstood, no-one pardons - cannot escape
and here,
may not laugh, may not rage, may not go mad -
there is no help

Asahi Newspaper 30.05.1997
"Now let's start the game!" This sentence in the threatening letter found at the scene of the crime suggests that the perpetrator was strongly influenced by comic-type computer games. The perpetrator trivialises his brutal act and makes it seem banal.
Criminal psychologists suspect that he is an extremely dangerous psychopath living in a virtual world. The strongly sadistic and self-satisfied characteristics evident here lead one to conclude that he is a male school dropout.

It is mad
very mad
everything's mad
are we the vegetables or are you
are you the destroyers or are we

it's running over
everything's running over
it's always running over
am I superfluous or are you
are you beheaded or am I

a daily dose of impotence
a fatal dose of heroic pose
a shameful dose of humanity
let us pass by
it only hurts

Yomiuri Newspaper 29.06.1997
The news of the arrest of a 14 year old boy for the murder caused a wave of consternation among the general public. The investigations led to the boy, who witnesses said tortured cats and boasted that he would take revenge on the school. The 14 year old schoolboy stated that the choice of Jun Hase was more or less an arbitrary one. In the slightly mentally disabled victim he had found someone weaker than himself. The perpetrator had approached the boy with the words: "I want to show you some tortoises, coming?"

Music: Hans Platzgumer
Texts and Songs: Ca Mi Tokujiro
German Voice: Peter Veit
Production Assistant: Christiane Klenz
Mix and mastering: Hans Platzgumer
Layout: Daniel Kluge
Producer: Barbara Schäfer
Produced at Bayerischer Rundfunk and Son Montuno Studio

intermedium rec. 010
ISBN 978-3-939444-11-4
Very few CDs left
20.- €


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