(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
Salitoté: The fact that you paid it all back is amazing. I'm surprised you didn't file for personal bankruptcy. There never was a time during that 20 year period where you felt like running away from your troubles?
Tooru Muranishi: I certainly dwelt on it. It's only natural. However, running away would be no good. Then again, even going as far as declaring bankruptcy would be quite annoying to setup and I am kind of lazy at heart. There's also the fact that if I gave up like that, my value to society would become nil. So yes, I could of ran away from it all, but it basically came down to me not ruminating too much on a sour situation. In spite of sometimes hurting on the inside, I kept a hard and determined exterior during this time.
SA: Did your time on trial and in jail in the states lead you to rethink your career path as a Japanese AV director? I know you wrote a book on it. Was this because of all the time you spent on your own there?
TM: Fortunately it didn't. I never even found myself disliking people due to that experience. I like good people around me and I think most can relate. Bad company equates for bad losses.
SA: It's still pretty amazing just to comprehend how you got out of such a bind and such a terrible rut all on your own. Most people can't do that on their own.
TM: Well, I do have a safety net. I think everyone should try to have one. You sometimes need people to consult with in order to help you climb back out of whatever you've fallen into.
SA: So you had some help?
TM: Of course. I can't imagine I'd be here talking to you now without some support back then.
SA: Can you tell us how you climbed back out of debt and back into directing?
TM: Well, once upon a time it was relatively easy for a guy like me to receive big bucks to make a V-Cinema title. However, the same can't be said nowadays where anyone would have to go begging with tears in their eyes in order to receive funding. I was lucky and even though I was at the end of my rope after V-Cinema already started to die down, I found adequate funding to the tune of approximately $300,000USD. That person truly was my guardian angel. He tried pulled me out of the deep hole I was in. However, it wasn't enough and my company still went bankrupt. I was distraught and so was my staff. Tears were common as we tried to figure out a way to recoup his investment. It was shameful for me...so shameful I thought about running. I didn't want people to see me like this. He eventually came to meet me and I was panicking. He wasn't. In fact, he seemed in good spirits and simply joked about me screwing up his investment. “You're still alive”, he said. “You can still work yourself out of this.”
(Translator's note: Mr. Muranishi doesn't go into much detail about his guardian angel. He does sound very thankful for the help even though it wasn't enough to free him totally from his debt. Either way, he's still quite active in the industry today so be sure to look for titles that feature him behind the camera.)
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