The Millennium Maul


Unmasked: Behind the Mask – One Hundred Haiku

It seems appropriate that in these corona viral times the “Behind the Mask” saga should continue its voyage through the ages. A song lyric first recorded by Ryuichi Sakamoto for the group Yellow Magic Orchestra and since covered by such illustrious musicians as Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton, the “mask” has had a further dimension recently added to its rostrum.

For decades Chris has been asked innumerable times “Ok, so what’s behind the mask?” and thus, being sequestered in his house in Kyoto for the last year, in the traditional environs of the ancient capital, he thought it was the perfect opportunity and conditions to answer that repetitive query. Therefore — a hundred haiku — each poem exemplifying an image of a culture that defines the initial song and observes the people and the social settings that have influenced his lyrical output.

Working with the photographer Ryo Ohwada a hundred photos have been selected to expand the poetic imagery, and the poems have been translated into traditional haiku format by the translator Ryoichi Ito. Together with a “project team” of publisher/producer Tomoya Kumagai and writer Eiichi Yoshimura, the set is being developed into an interactive collection of “karura” cards, based on the 10th century anthology of “one hundred poems by one hundred poets” (hyakuninishuu) traditionally played on New Year’s Day.

*image: (100) Behind the Mask: a constellation of fireflies guiding me on.
その仮面の裏で: 蛍の一群が私を導いている

More selections from One Hundred Haiku are in The Word Smithy!



The Cult of the Courtesans: The Rogue Diaries

A thirty-six poem saga, numerically based on the anthology of the Thirty-Six Immortal Women Poets collected during the Kamakura Period of Japan (1185-1333).


Unmasked: Behind the Mask – One Hundred Haiku

A hundred haiku — each poem exemplifying an image of a culture that defines the initial song and observes the people and the social settings that have influenced his lyrical output.


Red Hot Gravity

At the inauguration of the Ace Hotel, Kyoto, the lyricist wrote the “poetic scenario” to accompany the composition by French conductor Yannick Paget.

Under the Dragon

Under the Dragon

A rare event at Kyoto’s Koshoji Temple – poetry, gagaku, environmental soundscape and the recitation of Buddhist sutra.


The Seventh Sense

A multimedia remix of the Tanabata legend set in contemporary Tokyo with a stellar cast of artists and musicians.


Life on Mars

Recently Chris has forged a close partnership with the inimitable “cosmic pink” avant-garde musician Coppe.


Mishima, Mutations and the Search for the Ark of the Lost Tribe

A busy and energizing year on the performance circuit.

Poems and Mobile Phones

Poems and Mobile Phones

A bilingual reading from “The City that Silk Built” at Beams Gallery Shinjuku, and a momentary photo op.

Flame of Peace

The Flame of Peace

A poem to accompany the “Peace Flame of Hiroshima” at a series of events throughout Japan.

Ris is the Sonic Squirrel

Nutty Stuff from the Sonic Squirrel

Collaborating with the young guitarist Ris (The Sonic Squirrel) Chris has written lyrics for a series of new ventures.

Celebrating Stravinsky

Celebrating Stravinsky

Chris’s poetic scenario informs seasonal symphonies in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Stravinky’s RITE OF SPRING.

Michael Jackson

Behind “Behind the Mask”

The hazy line between myth, memory and Michael Jackson’s recording of Chris’ lyric “Behind the Mask”.

Chris Mosdell's third hand

The Third Hand

An exhibition of the contemporary “47 Ronins,” opened at the Spiral Garden Gallery, and all of Chris’s hands were on display.

Chris Mosdell in Shibuya

Aorta Avenue

Chris’s poem Aorta Avenue, based on the great Tokyo 246 highway, wins the Colorado Festival of Literature Grand Prize for Poetry.

Chris Mosdell Tim Capsule

Locked Up Lyrics

On display at the 20th Anniversary of Harakuku’s Laforet Museum – a time capsule containing a collection the lyricist’s notebooks and pens.

The Kantocles

A Hundred Shibuyan Sages

A set of cards, based on the Japanese New Year’s game: “Karuta” with images, shot in Shibuya, by photographer Yuriko Takagi.


Splatterhead and the Oblivion Brotherhead

The Oblivion Brotherhood performed SPLATTERHEAD on tour across the US.


The Chrysanthemum and the Rose

Chris was commissioned to write the scenario/script for the masked dance drama AMATERASU (THE SUN GODESS).

Gundam and the Gang

Gundam and the Gang

A “rhythm blizzard” of theme song lyrics written for Japanese anime, together with the legendary composer Yoko Kanno.

Equasian Chris Mosdell

The Hat is Back

EQUASIAN, Chris’s classic “VISIC” (visual music) opus is re-released in all its soft-cased, limited edition glory through Sony Music.

Ito San by Rigaudis

Strange Beauty

Collaborating with French photographer/film director Marc Rigaudis, Chris composed the musical score for Etrange Cuisine.

Sarah Brightman Harem

Sarah Sings

Sarah Brightman recorded the song When Firebirds Sing—an operatic opus set in the arena of ancient Japan, with lyrics by Chris.

TECHNOLYZE (Walking Through the Empty Age)

Anime Archives

The lyricist continues his partnership with the composer Yoko Kanno with a song for the finale of the anime WOLF’S RAIN.

The Incendiary Orchestra

The Incendiary Orchestra

The Incendiary Orchestra showcases Chris’s latest book: “City of Song,” with a fiery performance at Tokyo’s SuperDeluxe.

The Journey of Our Lives

A Song To Heal

On April 25, 2005, a commuter train at Amagasaki, near Osaka derailed. Chris wrote healing lyrics to a song sent to the families.

Spicy Wolf

Spicy Wolf

Chris writes the theme song for the mega-hit thirteen part anime TV series Spice and Wolf (Okame to Koshinryo).

Chris Mosdell's hanko


Chris’s seal: “mo-zu” translated literally reads: “one hundred tongues” — ideograms representing the bird “the shrike” found in his lyrics.

Sitar Sage Chris Mosdell

The Indian Odyssey

Chris was invited by the Institute of Tagore Studies and Research at Santiniketan, West Bengal, for a stay as “visiting fellow”.

Chieko Kinbara

Long Distant Lyrics

Suddenly resurrected lyrics were picked up by virtuoso violinist Chieko Kinbara for album Velvet Night, sung by Ingrid Schroeder.


Pills to Pop

Six “medicinal” songs for VITAMIN Q – a group with roots in Japan and strong ties to England.

Senor Coconut

An Atomic Combination

While promoting his Yellow Fever album (an ingenious Latin interpretation of YMO songs) “Senor Coconut” met our lyricist in Tokyo.


Great Goofiness

In a parallel universe, Chris wrote and illustrated “Silly Billy Trilogy: A Collection of Utter Mozzsense” under his pen name Mozz.

Chris Mosdell

In the Land of the Hundred-tongued Lyricist

A documentary focusing of the Chris’s evolution as a lyricist has debuted.