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Old 10-01-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Visual Kei 101 (A.K.A. Intro to Visual Kei)

Hey. Jiraku here... With a topic that I feel is very important to Japanese music.

When I go to Conventions and talk to people, a lot of people ask me what Visual Kei is? What bands are Visual Kei, and stuff like that... Now I'm not saying that you (The said reader) doesn't know what Visual Kei is, but I know there are a good amount of people that don't so please don't troll me on that matter. Anyways I wanted to start having threads that deal with Visual Kei on "The Fan" Forums. Depending on how many people tell me that that is a good idea I'll do more Visual Kei Threads in the future...

Now, to the real topic of this thread... So maybe you don't know what Visual Kei is. Well, this thread is for you! Now, if you do know what it is, maybe you'll learn something new about it by reading this thread...

So now the basics...

Visual kei (literally meaning "visual style") refers to a movement among Japanese musicians, that is characterized by the use of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant 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 other sources state that Visual Kei's unique clothing, 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. In other words... Visual Kei has to do a lot with the visual apperance, but also the music the band plays too.

Now for the genres of music it covers... Visual Kei artist usually are some sort of Glam rock, Punk rock, Gothic rock, Metal, or Alternative Rock band.

Now for a little bit of history...

Visual Kei emerged in the late 1980s pioneered by bands such as X Japan, D'erlanger, Buck-Tick, and Color.The term Visual Kei was created with one of X Japan's slogans "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, and 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, and Luna Sea; however, a drastic change in their appearance accompanied their success.During the same period other 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. Soon after, in 2000, Luna Sea decided to disband.In 2007 the genre was 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".

Last but not leas an "Intro to Visual Kei" music list. If you're interested in finding out more information about newer major Visual Kei bands, or even listening to some music, these bands are a good place to start. Search them on Google...

An Cafe (or Antic Cafe)
Dir en Grey
The GazettE
Luna Sea
Malice Mizer
Versailles (or Versailles Philharmonic Quartet)
and X Japan.

Thank you for reading this post, and hopefully you learned a lot. Remember if you're interested in learning more about Visual Kei, or found this post interesting, let me know and I'll do more like this!
Sol Badguy: Better than Ragna... Always

Last edited by Jiraku; 10-01-2010 at 04:57 PM.
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