FAQ - 2

Q: Nobuyuki Tsujii has odd mannerism, such as the constant swaying of his head.  Is he autistic?  Might he be an “idiot savant”?  Does he have Down's Syndrome?
UPDATE March 21 2018 => Please stop spreading misinformation about Nobuyuki Tsujii!

Nobuyuki Tsujii is completely blind, but he is NOT autistic, and he does not have Down's Syndrome. Nor is he an "idiot savant." I have met Mr. Tsujii in person and can vouch for that.
I have the utmost respect for people with these conditions, but it is unfair both to them and to Mr. Tsujii to spread such rumors.

In the wake of his Cliburn win, there were speculations by some that Nobuyuki Tsujii, in addition to his blindness, has mental issues. Some suggested autism, and at least one published article (warning: reading of this may raise your blood pressure) stated that Nobuyuki is “mentally handicapped”.

Among the comments posted to the aforementioned mean-spirited article, there is this one, titled "Nonsense" by Tim Harris, a professor at the university then attended by Nobuyuki : "I am one of Tsujji's teachers at Ueno Gakuen in Japan, and I was appalled by your irresponsible description of him. He is a highly intelligent young man. I think you need to make a public retraction and apology."

Consider this: Nobuyuki was born sightless; he has never been able to observe what we consider “normal behaviors”. He is also extraordinarily gifted and single-minded in his love of the piano music, and is perhaps unaware of most everyday issues that you and I have to deal with. This, I think, is the reason why there is a purity and innocence about him that so endears his fans.

For a physiological explanation of why some blind people rock/shake/sway their heads or bodies, please click here: Why does Mr. Tsujii rock his head and body?
Nobuyuki Tsujii, in performance on the premier stage in Carnegie Hall, New York, November 2011.  (Photo source: Avex Classics)
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D04lndYdPRQ

On  February 14, I heard from a twitter that he was under the impression that Nobu has Down Syndrome because it was mentioned on 13 TV, a network based in Spain.
According to Spanish wikipedia:
13 TV es una cadena de televisión de TDT en España. La empresa editora afirma que su programación se basa en la difusión de los valores y credo de la Iglesia Católica, y se centra en contenidos para todos los miembros de la familia,1 si bien, ha llegado a ser catalogada como ultraconservadora.  [Translated from Spanish: 13 TV is a television DTT in Spain. The publisher says its program is based on the dissemination of the values and beliefs of the Catholic Church, and focuses on content for all family members, although one has come to be labeled as ultraconservative.] 
I have alerted the management of Mr. Tsujii.

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