In Memoriam — Sakurai Atsushi

Ongaku to Hito
December 2023

Text=Kanemitsu Hirofumi
Photo=Nakano Hirohisa

See you later, Acchan

I knew this day would someday come.

Because nothing lasts forever.

Yet, having witnessed the effort and the miracle of how you stayed in a band with the same members for 35 years, there were times when I started to believe that maybe something like this could last forever.

But suddenly, that day arrived.

Now, I can dream no longer. The sadness is too great.

You were kind. You always considered how others felt before yourself. Especially when it came to your fans. The person who was Sakurai Atsushi left deep impressions in each and everyone’s hearts; never turning his gaze away from what supports life, he always faced it head on, and never betrayed these feelings. This sincerity is something that no one could ever imitate. And I believe there were many fans who had also been saved by him.

At the same time, the innocent demeanour he showed on occasion was loved by all. Instead of playing the role of BUCK-TICK’s vocalist, that was probably the closest to him being his normal self. In the past, when I used to drink with just the band until daybreak, I often got to see the gentle smile that he would only ever show the people he could trust.

But he could never wipe away the hurt that he carried with him since childhood. He had a heart as fragile as glass. He was plagued by anxiety over death and endings. He piled all of this into a world that represented him, where we saw his struggles. But it is precisely because he understood such emotions that his song could touch the hearts of those fraught with scars. And somewhere in there existed an intense hope.

A person who lived a moment as if it were eternity. Whose story curtains suddenly descended upon. On stage, under the watch of his fellow bandmates. Such an ending was not something anyone could’ve imagined nor wanted. But if we were to say farewell one day, we were saved by the fact that the four people who spent 35 years with us are here…… That’s all I think.


He said that he liked parting with the words, “See you later.”

We don’t know whether we’ll meet again. We might not be able to see each other, and promising such a future is sad. But we can live on because there’s that possibility.

The words we should say to this person he was isn’t “goodbye”. Neither is it “thank you”, or “you’ve done well”.


See you later, Acchan.





Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Yoshiyuki