Born and raised in Shimane Prefecture, SHINJI Hidaka is active in the Kansai region and is the lead of the music unit X+. He is also a goodwill ambassador for Shimane Prefecture, and a tourism ambassador for Izumo City and Onan City.
He's written about 20 songs to date, including Shimane Prefecture's PR song 'Shimano no Uta', Izumo's theme song as well as a song for Onan. He performs at various promotional events throughout the country. Hidaka also does a live performance each month, and supports Shimane's junior musicians all while performing in kindergartens, elementary, junior high and high schools, sharing his experience of battling cancer at 20 and the importance of life.
He also composes the theme songs for marathons, etc., and runs as a guest runner. Now he will use that experience as a torchbearer.
What do you like about Shimane? Why do you continue to base yourself in Shimane?
Of course I like Shimane because of the people and the natural beauty – it always changes. The reason why I continue working here is because there are many children who are not able to do music even if they wanted to since there are not that many places where you can go listen to or perform music in Shimane. I want to bring the joy of music, and the power of music to the children here.
In your work as a goodwill ambassador and tourism ambassador, what do you want to tell people?
I try to tell to people about areas and products of interest within the prefecture through songs, so that they have the desire to go to Shimane and experience the warmth of the people for themselves. I have been appointed PR ambassador by many places other than Shimane, such as Konan City in Aichi Prefecture and Toyohashi City in Gunma Prefecture along with Kyoto's Human Rights Awareness Promotion Team, so I link those places together, much like the Olympic/Paralympic flame; that's what I mostly do at the moment.
What kind of things do you talk about when you talk about what you felt while you were struggling with cancer?
When I was in the university I played basketball, and in order to attend the national championships I had to undergo a physical examination, a quite by chance a tumor was found, even though I had no symptoms. I had dreamed of becoming a professional, but that was the end of that. But I survived and was alive, so I chose to do music, and through music I met many people. I want to tell people about how wonderful it is to be alive.
Can you tell us what you thought was important and what supported you while you were overcoming cancer?
While I was in hospital having surgery and treatment, I was quite worried everyday about having such a serious sickness, but my family and friends came to see me almost every day, and my uneasiness slowly disappeared. I realised that I could live because I was linked to many people who helped me and supported me, not just because of my own strength.
Please tell us what you want to convey to people by being a torchbearer and what excites you.
I want to convey the fact that people are linked together through the Olympic/Paralympic flame. It is very encouraging and brings a smile to the faces of many people. I plan on doing my best to achieve that through the Olympic/Paralympic flame.