The Visual Kei Movement

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 0 Comments:

Maybe Japan is no that strange after all  

OK, so I would naturally assume that you know at least what Visal Kei is to be able to find this site.  However, I still feel obliged to explain the very diverse art of this genre to those who might not know and just happened to stop by this side of the net.
 Visual kei (ヴィジュアル系 vijuaru kei, lit. "visual system") refers to a movement among Japanese musicians,that is characterized by the use of 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 other sources state that Visual Kei's unique clothing, make-up, fashion, and participation in the related sub-culture is equally as important as the sound of the music itself in the use of the term.
Yeah, a very detailed explanation courtesy of our friendly neighborhood WikiPedia because they rock.
Visual Kei is further divided into three subcultures namely, Nagoya Kei, Oshare Kei, and Kote Kei. 
 Nagoya Kei takes it's roots from the modern music scene of Nagoya, Japan.  It's more gloomy that the normal kei and tends to be focused more on the complexity of their music rather than to their costumes and make-up.  It's musical influences are western, preferably Brithish punk rock.  Notable Nagoya Kei bands are Deadman, The Studs, Gullet, Deathgaze, etc.
 Oshare Kei on the other hand is the complete opposite of gloomy.  These bands always portray a bouncy, happy and bright image and their songs often hold positive messages so, you can't expect an Oshare Kei band to include swearing on their songs.  Their style is similar to decora but a little toned down and everything is always colorful.  They rarely wear heavy layers of makeup unlike other Visual Kei genres.  Notable Oshare Kei bands include Antic Cafe (a.k.a. An Cafe), Irokui, Lolita23q, Ichigo69, etc.

Check this video :) 

Lastly, Kote Kei is what is known as the "traditional" genre of Visual Kei.  The bands usually wear elaborate and detailed costumes as well as 'defy the laws of nature and gravity' hairstyles.  According to one Japanese fan-page, Kote Kei incorporates three ideas: seeking the bizarre, decadence, and aesthetics.  Common themes include roses, crosses, corruption and blood.  According to another fan-page, Kote Kei is further subdivided into two genres namely, Black Kei (Kuro Kei) and White Kei (Shiro Kei).  According to the fan-page, black kei has dark feelings to the rhythm and speedy melodies, white kei aims to be more melodious and transparent.  Popular Kote Kei bands are Malice Mizer, Dir en Grey, Versailles Philharmonic Quintet, Due le Quartz, etc. 

Thanks for reading :)


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