~Lukai’s Step’s In~

Visual Kei (ヴィジュアル系, Bijuaru kei) refers to a movement among Japanese musicians,that is characterized by the use of eccentric, sometimes flamboyant looks.

This usually involves striking make-up, unusual hair styles and elaborate costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics.

Some sources state that Visual Kei refers to a music genre, or to a sub-genre of J-rock (a term referring to Japanese rock in general), with its own particular sound, related to glam-rock, punk and metal.

However most insider sources state that Visual Kei’s unique clothing and make-up fashions, and participation in the related sub-culture, is equally as important as the sound of the music itself in the use of the term as while similarities can be drawn between some bands; most are from widely different genres including but not limited to Pop, heavy metal, power metal, classical, rap and electronic.

…It’s Said that X-Japan were the First to Pioneer the Visual Kei Revolution..but they were also the one’s who almost ended it…

Visual Kei emerged in the late 1980s, pioneered by the band X Japan, along with others such as D’erlanger and Color, who are regarded as influencing the fashion and music associated with Visual Kei bands. X Japan’s drummer Yoshiki Hayashi used the term to describe the band’s slogan “Psychedelic Violence Crime of Visual Shock”.

Color vocalist “Dynamite Tommy” formed his record company Free-Will in 1986, which has been a major contributor in spreading modern Visual Kei outside Japan.

In 1992, X Japan launched an attempt to enter the European and American markets, but it would take another 8 years until popularity and awareness of Visual Kei bands would extend worldwide.

In the mid 1990s, Visual Kei received an increase in popularity throughout Japan, when album sales from Visual Kei bands started to reach record numbers. The most notable bands to achieve success during this period included, X Japan, Glay, Luna Sea, and L’Arc-en-Ciel, however a drastic change in their appearance accompanied their success.

During the same period, bands such as
Kuroyume, Malice Mizer, and Penicillin, gained mainstream awareness, although they were not as commercially successful.

By 1999, mainstream popularity in Visual Kei was declining, X Japan had disbanded, and the death of lead guitarist Hideto Matsumoto in 1998 had denied fans a possible reunion. It was not long before Luna Sea decided to disband in the year 2000, and L’Arc-en-Ciel went on a hiatus the same year.

”” Hideto Matsumoto died on May 2, 1998. After a night out drinking, he was found hanged with a towel tied to a doorknob in his Tokyo apartment. Three fans died in copycat suicides, of the 50,000 people who attended his funeral in Tsukiji Hongan-ji, nearly 60 were hospitalized and about 200 received medical treatment in first aid tents “”

”” After releasing nothing for 1.8 year, Luna Sea came back with a new single “gravity”, which topped the Oricon Chart. Some of their songs were used in the movie including “My Lover”, which was used in the movie Another Heaven. The song “Sweetest Coma Again” was also used in the movie “James Bond 007: The World Is Not Enough”. Following the release of singles “Tonight”, Luna Sea released the sixth studio album ‘Lunacy’ in July. The album mixed the elements of progressive rock, hard rock, and metal. They held two concerts titled “Luna Sea Concert Tour 2000 The Brand New Chaos”. During the latter concert, the band made the announcement they were “dropping the curtains” at the end of the year to pursue solo careers. The last single “Love Song” and album “Period” were then released. Luna Sea held their two-day farewell concerts at Tokyo Dome on December 26-27. “”

”” Larc~En~Ciel: In February 1997, drummer Sakura was arrested for illegal drug possession.He officially quit the band on October 4, 1997. This proved to be the lowest point in the band’s history. When news of Sakura’s arrest became public, there was an immediate official response and CDs were removed from the shelves.”The Fourth Avenue Cafe” for Rurouni Kenshin was immediately replaced with former theme “Heart of the Sword” after only six episodes of running time. Their next single “The Fourth Avenue Cafe” was postponed.It was eventually released in 2006.

In 2007 the genre has been revitalized, as Luna Sea performed a one-off performance, and X Japan reunited for a new single and a world tour. With these developments, Visual Kei bands enjoyed a boost in public awareness, described by the media as “Neo-Visual Kei”.

In March 2007 Toshi announced on his website that he and Yoshiki had recently resumed working together, stating that a “new project” would commence soon.An X Japan reunion was officially confirmed on 4 June 2007, with Yoshiki announcing a tour, as well as a new single (a re-recording of the song “Without You”, originally from Yoshiki’s 2005 solo album Eternal Melody II) to be underway and that he was in talks with Heath and Pata regarding their participation.

…that “New Project” was to be the New Revolution Comeback and a Birth of a New Generation of Music..

In March 2007 Toshi announced on his website that he and Yoshiki had recently resumed working together, stating that a “new project” would commence soon.An X Japan reunion was officially confirmed on 4 June 2007, with Yoshiki announcing a tour, as well as a new single (a re-recording of the song “Without You”, originally from Yoshiki’s 2005 solo album Eternal Melody II) to be underway and that he was in talks with Heath and Pata regarding their participation.

On 20 January 2008 two Tokyo Dome concert dates were announced, 28 March and 30 March respectively.A third show, scheduled for 29 March, was later added to accommodate demand.The 28 March concert aired live on the pay television channel WOWOW, with a DVD release set to follow,guitarists performing with X Japan during these three concerts were Wes Borland of Black Light Burns, Richard Fortus of Guns N’ Roses and Sugizo,in addition to the use of old live footage of Hide.

Fortus and fellow Guns N’ Roses member Robin Finck had previously coveredEndless Rain” as a guitar duet during the Japanese shows of their band’s 2007 tour. Borland later commented on his blog that he felt “honored to have been part of the experience”. Due to technical difficulties the first concert was delayed for over two hours and later came to an abrupt end when drummer Yoshiki collapsed eight songs into the performance. The subsequent shows were without such difficulties and during a press conference, plans for a concert in Paris, France on 5 July 2008 were announced, with an intended audience of 20,000 people.X Japan also performed at the Hide Memorial Summit, a two-day tribute concert that was held on 3 May and 4 May at the Ajinomoto Stadium and featured about twenty artists, including Dir en grey, Luna Sea and T.M. Revolution.It closed with a performance of the song “X” by members of X Japan, Luna Sea, Mucc, D’espairsRay and solo artist Takanori Nishikawa.

In addition to the Paris date, plans for concerts at the Madison Square Garden, New York City on 13 September, and at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei on 2 August were also confirmed.On 8 June it was reported that all previously scheduled shows have been postponed until further notice, due to Yoshiki suffering a relapse of a previous disc herniation and a worsening tendinitis.The Paris and Taipei concerts have since been rescheduled and they’re set to take place at the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris, France on 22 November, 200and at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taipei, Taiwan on 14 February, 2009.

…Visual Kei has been growing on ever since, shown here an example. By The Gazette

On November 15, 2008, the GazettE hosted their first Secret Live in Shinjuku Station. Originally, around 250 people were to be anticipated, but instead, over 7000 came to the live, the most in history. Due to the amount of people on the streets, the police were forced to shut it down after two songs.On March 25, 2009, they will release a new single called “Distress and Coma”.

… Gazette Made their mark that night..which was also a Testimonial to the Whole of Japan and to the rest of the whole world that Visual Kei is still alive and Rocking On..

My Testimonial is not just about Fame and Popularity, it’s a Journey of Self-Discovery..a Life-long one, Visual Kei is my Life. It’s the Genre in the World that alows to express myself Understandably, Noticibly and Most Importanly..Freely..

…many people out there fail to realise what the whole purpose of being a Visual Kei Fan/Artiste is..and the Misconceptions would Eventually Lead them Astray..Undimising the Fact that Visual Kei is a Form of Language..a Kind of Language that cannot be put down with just words..it’s a Language with the power that Changes People’s Feeling’s and knocks their Emotions away..

It’s time we make a Stand. Are you In or Out?

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