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A view with Nu / #1

Good or Bad?

Japanese music started off as a mixture of popular and distinct styles, from Classical, Folk and Traditional, originating from as early as the thirteenth century. The oldest forms of Traditional and Folk music in Japan are Buddhist Chanting, Orchestral Court music and Biwa hōshi (otherwise known as stories created by Lute performances.) Into the 1960’s the Japanese youth became very influenced by the modern rock genre, as a well-known modern rock band, The Beatles, who become internationally active in 1964. By the time the 80’s band ‘Japan’ appeared, Japan’s music industry was determined to show the western world their talents of making rock/punk culture internationally cultivating. Now in 2012, Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, behind the United States.

Jrock however, is a fairly new, popular choice by people from their teens to their twenties and here’s why!

This is Mana Sama, known and loved internationally from the band Moi Dix Mois. Now you may be thinking ‘My goodness he looks Pete Burns without the eye-patch’, which is what many people I showed this idol to said the first time. You may also be thinking he has taken the feminine gothic look that Dead or Alive one had and has simply put that in his own group. REMEMBER, these are biased opinions thatfellow friends, family, etc, have expressed.

Here’s a fan’s strongly worded reply to the subject on biased opinions towards Jrock. 

Rien Xi, 17, Birmingham
Common interests ~ Elegant Gothic Lolita & Aristocrat and Ouji fashion, Music (particularly Jrock and Classical), vampire, horror novels and tea!

“The people, who are quick to judge and insult Mana, obviously have no idea of the kind of person he is. Mana is an inspiration to thousands of people; he is a musician, an artist, the creator of a fashion and an intriguing human being with so much to offer to the world. Everything he does is inspiring, he has made a name for himself and has fans and followers all over the globe, so you may not like him, but you can’t deny the fact that he is talented. Those who talk badly of him because of the way he looks, without knowing anything about him, are obviously close-minded, simple and immature individuals. “Oh, he looks like Pete Burns.” Sure, maybe he does look like Pete Burns in your opinion… but what does that matter? Mana is beautiful and I feel sorry for those who can’t recognise that fact. He is an extraordinary person and he is clearly un-phased by hateful comments and opinions.  Even so, it’s quite pathetic to talk badly of somebody who looks different or is into something that you are not. It’s sad that people are still so close-minded and ignorant in this day and age.”

So many J-fans, as I call them, have participated in a wide variety of social events, such as; Gigs, Expos, Festivals and many gatherings discussing music, anime shows, fashion and most popularly the imaginative sexual stories between band members, aka ‘Fanservice’. A short while ago I was into this subculture and it took me on an extreme emotional adventure. When I had turned fourteen my gothic-cyber scene was abounded and I had found a new ‘alternative’ to become intrigued with and that was the commonly known Japanese street fashion Decora. I found out about the new exciting scene from my pen pal in China, whom herself was in high school and the same age as me. Of course due to our ridiculously random sense of humour, we clicked straight away and after 3 weeks were listening and fan-girling about the popular Jrock band ‘The Gazette’. From there I had changed my look on fashion, my future and which Japanese musician I had on my bedroom wall and had already booked a ticket to see my first live Jrock band – ‘Dio –distraught overlord-. On-top of being overly excited and screaming every 10 minutes before the gig in London, I was nervous beyond belief because of meeting a few people I knew but hadn’t met until that night. Thankfully, it all went well and to this day I still know those people who are now some of my closest friends including my boyfriend who I’ve been with for three years.  When I joined the queue outside the venue in Camden, I had heard rumours that people had camped outside for four days in the freezing cold in order to get right to the front of the stage, which until this day, I really didn’t see the point in. The whole night was fantastic, everyone really enjoyed themselves, so much so in fact, that some particularly obsessed fans were known to grope parts of the bands “private places” (yes, fans can get this horny in the pit)! It was all blood, sweat and tears when the gig was over as we were chanting for the band to come back on stage. But eventually they left, and I have to say, that was the most mad music experience of my life. Most Jrock gigs can get so wild that people get injured, mostly like metal gigs but with a lot more high-pitched screaming. But never fear, the security guards are always there to help (yeah, right). Unfortunately there are a lot of aspects about Jrock and Jfans that I don’t agree with. People often become so absorbed in the culture and its specific fashion that they take on a high school dynamic. People can get bitchy and arrogant, constantly passing judgment on any new people that don’t quite fit in with the strict unsaid rules, which from where I am is unheard of in metal gigs. And I ask you this, how do you think the band would feel if they found out about how their fans were promoting the gig experience?

Thankfully most people from the gig aren’t like that. Like i said, lots of them I’m still friends with and a lot of people agree with the problems that occur at gigs and gatherings, for instance my friend Keita who has been a lover of Jrock for over ten years –

Keita-Eiri Uesugi, 22, Boston/Lincoln

Common interests: Kamijo, reading, writing and drawing.     

“For the past few years, I can quite safely say that Jrock has certainly been a big inspiration. I think, in some respects, it’s helped me to find out who I am and to not be afraid of stepping out of the box and being different; I can be myself and don’t have to feel I have to follow the crowd. Not only that, but it has helped to fuel my style of writing and the way that I draw as well and being a creative person, inspiration in the form of music is a pretty important thing. Good aspects of Jrock would have to be the appreciation that the whole songs get, from vocals, through the bass line and everything else in-between. I have found in the past, compared to western bands where the vocalist is the front man, the rest of the musicians seem to be ignored and bundled in the background… but with Jrock, it’s different. Also, there are so many styles within the Jmusic scene, that there literally is something to please everyone, whether it’s pop rock, symphonic metal and so on. Sadly, with all things, there is a downside. The level of competitiveness between fans cannot be denied and this often puts people off. Also, because the music is essentially sung in Japanese, this can course a lot of close minded people or none-listeners to turn their ears to what they do understand. “
On a lighter note though, Jrock music is a fantastic genre and has been widely recommended by such companies as Neo magazine, Kerrang and Moshi Moshi and of course, me. It has inspired me throughout the years to change my life and my career which is to work with the artist Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli.

 Today’s Jrock band is Dir En Grey and their famous song- Child prey

Thank you for reading, I’m Nu McAdam.

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