How did you get into Visual Kei/J-rock?

At the least 22 years but possibly 23. I can’t remember the early years too well, but I definitely had Dir en grey images saved from early 2000. Early bands were Dir en grey, Pierrot, Penicillin, Janne da Arc, Malice Mizer, and a few others I’m sure.

Wish i could remember it better but that’s all I got sadly.


2006-2007, started with 黒夢 and MALICE MIZER.
15 years? Half of my life, oh.

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Over half of mine, Jesus Christ I feel old now. I’m sure someone here is like nearly 40 and were listening to Matina in 1997-98. >_>

2005, Hyde introduced me to it. Although I had been listening to Japanese Rock music not necessarily the Visual Kei type a little before then stuff like The Pillows which would be Japanese Indie Rock.

So for me first came Japanese Indie Rock where I was like “whatever this is I have got to have more of it”.

Later VK Japanese Rock would come along but interestingly enough for me the biggest impression of what Visual Kei Japanese Rock is was really with Buck-Tick and I did not come across them until 2008.


I found it in abt 2017 by searching YouTube. I was tired of what I was listening to (mostly various European metal and symphonic goth at the time), so I decided to see what was going on in Japan. First I found Hyde and L’Arc de Ciel, because of course I did, it’s Hyde, and that was amazing so I kept looking. I think the first Visual Kei MVs I found were Datura and The Raid. I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m watching, but it’s interesting AF’. From there, I just watched everything YouTube showed me until I learned enough to find things I like best. It was really exciting to find music that was so wildly different than what I’d listened to before and now it’s what I listen to most.


I basically got into it through a natural appreciation for anime OPs and EDs of the 90s and 2000s, and wanted to find out more about Japanese music in general. This was during the earlier days of the internet though, so there wasn’t a ton of info out there. I discovered the terms “J-pop” and “J-rock”. Bands like Dir en grey and Malice Mizer were lumped under the latter category, and that was sort of the gateway into visual kei for me.

Some of the earliest sites I remember browsing were Invasion Dream, a Diru fansite called Tattered Cloth, and Jrocknyc. I was also on Vampirefreaks around that time and made some friends there who were into vk.


Through anime pretty much like Death Note (Nightmare), The Wallflower (Kiyoharu) and Tokyo Majin (ACID), back in 2009 amd 2010. Although, of all these, I only really love the latter as a whole. The opening/ending songs featured in the other openings are great, though.

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I was a huge fan of the GetBackers manga/anime, and PIERROT did a theme song for them (Barairo no Sekai), which I loved. I went nuts over them, then got into 12012 shortly after reading an anime convention live report about them in some anime magazine. This was probably back in 2006.

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Death note in 2008 :joy:

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I had just entered middle school, in a village somewhere in southern Europe and I remember feeling completely uninterested in everything my peers was into. I had grown over my elementary school clothes and (even though I had nor the money or the access to such things) I was fantasizing about becoming a goth, after finding out about it from my dad, who used to live in the US.
However I was also into…very frilly stuff. As I was looking into victorian gothic, I stumbled across gothic lolita and subsequently, Mana. I was shocked. My little, pre-teen, village girl brain could not believe he was actually a guy. His Wikipedia was mentioning that he was a v-kei musician, so I typed that into the YouTube search bar and the first result was “Filth in the beauty”, which apparently was hot stuff back in 2008 when this story took place. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was a brand new world for me!
I left my research there for some reason but resumed it the next year. And then I found Gazette’s “Guren”. I just cannot describe the impression that video made on me. And that’s how everything started.
P.s. I never became a goth eventually.

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So Yoshiki called me up one day and was all like, “bruh, you gotta check out this fye-ass album I just heard”

I was like, “aaight, bet”.

That album was Sadie’s “GANGSTA”.

changed my life.


Self explanatory question. What about visual kei really appealed to you when you first heard it? For me it was both the sound, the visuals and the diversity within the scene. I basically migrated to vk from emo music and I know many others did. My first real introduction to VK was Clever Sleazoid by Diru and I apologize to say this but when I heard Dir En Grey for the first time ever my very young and immature self legit thought they were just some kind of really cool emo band in the wake of the Marrow of a Bone album.

When I started to get really deep into VK it was just this huge rabbit hole of fascinating music to me. Some bands sounded so majestic and fanciful, like Lareine, Izabel Varosa and Dear L’ Novel. Tanbi kei?? Some bands had strong gothic influences and did the whole electronic/darkwave thing like Schwarz Stein, Velvet Eden and GPKism. Some were heavy and aggressive, like the metalcore I used to listen to. On vkgy those sort of bands are referred to as loud kei. Some bands were also downright weird with vocalists who couldn’t sing or visibly struggled to perform their own songs on stage, which I either laughed at or found charming.

On that note I remember back in the day some of us would make memes out of bands with incredibly bad or wierd vocalists, but not at all in a genuinely cruel and dehumanizing way. In retrospect it’s surprisngly easy to seem genuinely mean when you’re just taking the piss out of someone or something. We were better than that. I personally gravitated towards the more indie bands overall. Discovering more and more bands throughout the years and going further down the rabbit hole to where I own hundreds of rare live limited releases has been an absolute treasure due to the sheer diversity of music I’ve heard because of it.

Darkness and the unique aesthetic of some bands, and some riffs and melodies you’ll only hear in vk for better or worse.


90s VK makes me feel like a stylish & spooky scarecrow. I would listen to more modern VK if more bands were still making music for scarecrows.


The combination of the singing style (vibrato + melodramatic shenanigans) and the playful uptempo instrumentation/arrangement (very dynamic pop-rock with elements of metal and punk kinda?). And the bands looked dope/weird as fuq ofc.

Sadly this overall vibe that first attracted me is almost extinct nowadays, with the onslaught of badly aped soulless metalcore and exxxtreme metal influences…


Same for me. I was always an edgy kid and liked spoooky shit. When I discovered VK, especially the dark and angsty stuff from the early 2ks I was hooked. Before that I mainly listened to Metal, but I wanted something that wasn’t just dark and gloomy in the lyrics department… classic VK with its Heavy Metal guitars, Hardcore singing and Punk song structure and Gothic Rock-ish tinge appealed to me.

I would soon after get into proper Goth (and Post-Punk, Darkwave and Deathrock), and a lot of old VK is a kind of strange inbetween thing between Metal, Punk/Hardcore and Goth/Post-Punk, with various bands often leaning a bit stronger to one of these. In a way that combination kinda existed in the West, see Gothic Metal á la Type O Negative, Paradise Lost or early Anathema… but that stuff came specifically from Death Doom and never managed to sever its connection to Doom Metal, so it never developed a truly unique sound and identity like VK did in the 90s.

VK, despite taking influences from mostly European musical trends of the 80s, was such a unique mixture it became its own thing. It’s not Japanese (Hair) Metal or Japanese Punk (let alone Goth); VK is VK. And the original 90s is so strongly tied to the region and Zeitgeist of Japan at that time there’s nothing that compares to it (sadly not even current VK does… the oldschool sound is completely lost sans a few copycat Kote bands and recently revived bands like Kein).

But yeah, no one does fast crazy punk-ish drumming with Gothy jangling guitars, elaborate “fake it 'till you make it” Metal-style guitar solos with vocals that alternate between bad Bowie impressions, Robert Smith’s or Rozz William’s wailings and Hardcore and Metal style screaming and growling like your classical Kote band does. Even the more pop-ish and Softvi acts had a sound that’s specific to that one scene.

I don’t want to diss contemporary VK though… there’s a few bands I like that sound nothing like the classical stuff but they just produce good, solid music.

Looks used to impress me deeply too, but nowadays the sound is just as important to me if not more so. But I like musicians and bands that also have an image. I never truly got this stupid notion that if you spend some time into your appearance (and how you present yourself on stage) than you aren’t a trve musician or a real artist… and I hate people who instantly dismiss an artist because of the way they look. On the other hand; if you don’t dress up that’s fine too. And VK bands dropping their looks isn’t the end of all as long as they don’t drastically change their sound (in order to become more marketable to the masses).

However; VK looks can be so cool and artistic that it’s really inspiring and sometimes I just like to stare at pictures of interesting and beautiful people (the same way I like looking at pretty pictures or nice visual art).


Someone online said Maximum the Hormone did a song for a tv show, but i ended up liking the other band even better

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Well… I first found out about VK through Kamen Rider Franchise with Gackt and Tourbillion (Ryuichi’s side project at the time)

Then I also found my first Actual VK band through Taro Kobayashi (also provided OST for Kamen Rider)

For J-Rock, Well… NARUTO

What was your first vkei song? Mine was Shiver by The Gazette