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The comparison of Marc Bolan and Hideto Matsumoto in requirement to the essay topic

A  post tailing the end of my notes for an essay i’m not sure i have enough mental energy to write! ONWARD JROCK SOLI- I mean Researchers.  (Yes, researchers… that’s a real professional term there Jill, lol – tell em’ all you’re just researching!)  My knowledge personally of T-REX and Marc Bolan is only that through realization that hide did NOT make the song 20th century boy, and that it was over 20 years old and I had no clue about my music, and that i should bite my tounge until the day i realize what exactly i’m talking about.

Well Mr Feld; here’s to you for influencing Hideto Matsumoto – even if some people think i’m totally blatantly wrong and insane.  That’s what research is! (Or at least thats what my excuse is). Between the fashion of the vinyl green snake looking outfits – and the same suit like outifts that Marc Bolan graced in an earlier referenced video, and the similarities in some of hide’s earlier work; there’s some sort of influence surley?

In thinking about that; i’m starting to change my mind – indeed, what actually is influence, because hide never really showed “influence” from anything per se.  That cyberpunk spider had his own style, pink punk red crawling on the backs of every spider with guitar (>_> “INSIDE THE PERVERT MOUND” type quote there!). Ok fandom aside; i’m seirously reconsidering that whole comparison issue.

It’s an open ended anomaly – how do you classify influence, and keywords and compartments on things that are defying the common knowledge of western music?  While there is direct classification of influence from KISS; in interviews etc – how can you go about classifying the truth when the guy isn’t here to ask?

And in today’s world would you go up to Ozzy Osbourne and ask him if he was influenced by the beatles?


Before i expound largley onto the fandom section of the subject; i want to show the public versions of hide’s funeral and report.  It’s imperitave that i show this, as one of my sources on Hideto Matsumoto was indeed an article in AsiaWeek about his passing.  (And no, i am not referencing five hide plushies just to prove my own fandom :P)


X-Japan members performing “FOREVER LOVE” at hide’s funeral.

Yoshiki Hayashi speaking on Live Television.

WITHOUT YOU (Played at a recent HIDE MEMORIAL concert in Japan.)

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Of rock music from japan in recent years.

Ok – I’m going to keep it fairly short on this one would an “IBID” or “See recent posts” do for this?

If not let me summarize it –  Opinions vary, and when you are doing musical research and you are unsure of classifications or even how to put something in a box; things can become very hard.  Mind you, that my academic and personal opinion stands on the fact that if you need to put music in a box to categorize it, then don’t.  David Bowie isn’t classified as glam rock anymore;  I don’t beleive there is ever such a thing as a category for music.  Rock is just another term, another box to place these things in.

Can you classify something like this:

Gackt is considered Pop, yet his music is crossing genres and multi cultural boundaries by each and every album he creates.  From songs like Vanilla which are a cookie cutter Pop aspect, to Lust for Blood; a vampire esque song filled with emotion. (Mind you, we have yet to prove if Gackt is or isn’t a vampire.  It was only recently he officially released his real age.)

In pages 127-143 in Refashioning Pop Music in Asia, Carolyn S Stevens delves into the motive in a Japanese Rock Video; the aesthetic of pushing boundaries.  Alfee being the respective band, and a load of Christian Rock Imagery being the subject of debate. This is something Gackt’s previous band Malice Mizer was largely into doing, but in a more Classical Gothic, Lacuna Coil meets Nightwish sort of way.

(However, that was larger in appearance in the Klaha Era of Beast of Blood, Gensou Rakuen and other titles; Gackt was around during the late Memoire (post-Tetsu) and Voyage, Mervilles L’espace Era.)

For reference here is the “Love Never Dies” PV mentioned in the Section of the book previously stated above.

This only further proves it is MUCH harder to classify music when you’re unsure of what the music is in the first place (I’ve never personally heard of Alfee until now.).  So in reference to earlier statements about how X-japan was wrongly classified as DEATH METAL, i will again complain they are still not speed metal, nor really metal at all.

Maybe a mix of Japanese Visual Kei will show the western world, you can’t really box Visual Kei into anything but “VISUAL KEI” – Even after they’ve gone mainstream.

David Bowie, T-Rex/Marc Bolan, KISS: Where do they fit in the mix?

Glam Rock didn’t die in 1975; however this is only an opinion of one academic student in Asia 201.  I truly honestly beleive that these resources were passed on to a new ERA of “GLAM” close to a decade later. Glam died in the US and UK; Kiss tried to do disco – but  by 1986 X-japan was using upside down methods to making their hair stand up with Aqua Net and hairdryers.

Visual Kei was definatley not something completley fathered by X-Japan, but by several bands at the time.  Many branching the different ideas and styles that were to become such a complex genre with several sub-genres inbetween.

While many beleive on several internet based forums/websites and other formats, that X-japan’s “Psychadelic Violence Crime of Visual Shock” was the beginning of it all, many still argue that Kote Kote Kei came first.  (That’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg)

Buck Tick is more your Bowie-esque dark side of the moon cross Pink Floyd with a handsome Atsushi Sakurai (later mixed with industrial project Schwein), with X-Japan being your testosterone laden Bon Jovie on Asahi and Sapporo brew.   Other lesser known bands at the same exact point in time existed, but due to lack of knowledge and reference on them they will be omitted.

In terms of professionally categorizing how Glam Rock influenced, or even 70s rock PERIOD; we have to go back and take a peek at the listed influential bands and even unlisted ones.  While the Biased history of Glam rock states “No you still won’t like Elton John”; i’m going to assume still that i’ve never been able to find his Japanese equivalent either.

Some don’t realize the influence that is put forth between these decades, and how it’ll reach towards other formats or other genres in other areas.  This is where my argument about where we market music, and why do we market others, well we market other genres and other formats to comparatively show our own musical identities. Identities which are defined in a personal way towards how we live our lives (yet not always) and how we feel about things (yet not always).

Take this picture of the commericalism side of the industry

Ebay Inventory from Anime Mate

Banpresto X-japan UFO Catchers

Wild, unearthing products that most parents in a conservative nature would not let their children attach to even if they won it in a claw machine at the arcade. Remember the video I posted earlier in the blog about Celebration?  That conservative parent would’ve burned these, probably along with the people that are burning Qurans in the USA… as offensive as either gesture is, passion and security do not run hand in hand.   Music has a profound effect on how we deal with daily lives, so the fact that the difference remains in such musics from overseas – look at Bollywood Music or even music from Afghanistan.  Every country has a different beat; while at the same time every country still has a load of those cookie cutter bubblegum glittery unoriginal bits.

This is where I mention “Morning Musume.” (As my lecturer in Japa132 constantly jokes; that this is what my essay is all about, how much i supposedly adore Morning Musume.  A joke that started largely because a younger classmate of mine enjoys their music.) largely talented young individuals but are slated into a popular “Idol” or cookie cutter format.

I’m going to apologize that i should’ve done the essay first and then this second – but i find it so much more amazing to get through every point this way than the usual way.  Especially since, this is a subject i am quite interested and passionate about.  I would like to note that maybe someday i could write more on this.  There was so much information and i needed to reference it all because it’s all relevant! (This is where i am estatically grinning and admitting as tedious as essays are, i’ve actually done my homework for once!)

But the Morning Musume bit wasn’t meant as an offensive additive, I personally just do not like their music – but they are considered as a possible “kawaii” type genre.

An example:

Back to the influence of 70s glam, i’ll add some more referential videos to prove my point in a moment – yet the thing i should remind people is that even in an essay research can be based on opinion as well as fact.  Because some of these artists are either of a foreign nature, or some even have passed away; you can’t always get the truth or fact on influence.   As Rock was actually something that was influenced and born out of Jazz, Folk and Blues.  As a lot of music has inspired itself from either Classical or Traditionalist nation based music – you can always perceive where the roots came from.

With the notation that music grew from something else; and adapted itself into something new – I can safely say that’s how much of Japanese Popular music begins to form.  Some of it is largely again; similar and unoriginal, with similar styles and beats that mix from all over the world.  Rock is just as mainstream as the next thing, and when you look at US based rock – a lot of people will always say “Rock is Dead”.

Miyavi disagreed with this theory in his track from the 2005 Miyavizm album aptly named “Rock N’ Roll is Not Dead”; an answer to previous single “Pop is Dead” from his 2002 single of the same name.  Flamboyant colors, and outlandish statements that connect to a real world idea of what things are; compared to most “Metal” which glamorizes a gothic nature (to some satanic.) and an unreal world for their audiences to lose themselves within.

So with Marc Bolan recreating Tyrannosaurus Rex into T-Rex, and David Bowie never straying from his experimental style is there a way to connect the dots per se?

Officially it’s reading between the lines, and connecting style and sound with the comparison in research.  A previous quotation from Hayley Ayto stated that she seemed to hear Metallica influentially inside the Blue Blood album of X-japan.  This again rings that research can only sometimes come from opinion, without the literal answer from the artist themselves.  As music being an international thing, one can only surmise that many similarities exist within many countries and many bands.

Jimi Hendrix was largely along side Jim Morrison considered the forefathers of Rock, with Marc Bolan and David Bowie riding the Glam wave.  Kiss was their own genre in my opinion, there’s nothing you can do to explain Gene Simmons in death defying platform heels and lipstick.  X-Japan offiically, and same with Hideto Matsumoto notifies the public and audiences that influences in their music were because of Kiss.

That’s your connection.

(I’m a bit over the mark on this question, i’ll be more considerate about  how i write the other ones out, i missed a few turns and went off subject on this one.)

The next few posts will be more media based- to show examples (Which is basically to break up the longer posts)

Does Style evolve with Music – Can we blame the look of the band on the way the music is going to sound?  In terms of the Visual Kei offshoot with very little english based referential evidence other than JAME USA and other english based news sources, Oshare Kei is one of the few styles of Japanese music that imitates style.  Yet it doesn’t imitate style as in other music style, it’s a fashionable stylish but not so much full of the same candy as Hanson or Jonas Brothers.

Bands like L.M.C. (Specifically the single from their Punky Heart release on Pony Canyon Records); SuG (PsC: Love Scream Party) and other relevant bands such as Ayabie, AnCafe.  Unlike popular “Pop” like Morning Musume; this is far from the same candy cutter style you’ll see for commercialism.

An example would be L.M.C. (Lovely Moccochang .com ) with the duo being a mashup with the Ex-member of Visual Kei Act Pierrot;  Aiji and the newer face of Maaya.  Information and details can be referenced from an interview with them on PurpleSky Magazine. (All references in the blog are all on the bibliography page; for ease of use – in the actual ESSAY they will be cited and referenced in a more professional matter.)

It’s like a mix of old and new, but with positive lyrics.

Why Promote Japanese music when we have our own?

Why promote Australian or US music if we have our own?  I think i classified in the previous argument that in order to diversify interest in daily life, you have to have different and new things to explore.  I guess the research here was minimal; but just in case i threw in an older article from Popular Music Society as reference.  (I’ll expand more on it in the essay when i’ve gotten a chance to look at it, it requires actually logging into university servers to get the article; i’m currently finishing this last topic while eating dinner and it’s snowing.)

There’s not much more to say on this topic so i will have a wee break and continue with the rest later.

Classifying music seems like such a tedious job, however when academically reviewing it the knowledge behind the notes and melodies become much more clear.  (Thus the argument of incorrect classification)

I seem to note in the Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese music that they classify X-japan (X) as Death metal.  In the academic sense I am baffled as to how they have come across this realization, and from a personal perspective i’m mortified and laughing at the same time.  If the time frame matches, is this how we classify our music? Are we not to first listen to the notes, the melodic harmonies and the trembling fear of our parents when we classify something?

In the academic sense my note of “Trembling fear of our Parents” is a mere humorous joke, we all know that growing up in society we’ve been taught that parents have a large hold on how our musical tastes grow in our early years.  Some parents more strict than others, as you have seen in the performance video of “Celebration” in the previous post, by X-japan – Parents are quick to uphold a sense of law and order for children at the same time as satisfying their curiosity.

Curiosity in this case, has not killed the cat.

In a study By David Paltin, PhD Child Psychologist, he looks into the reasons or notions behind Parenting. This sort of example shows how parental control can be exercised over the music we listen to. This is where you begin to see how certain parts of society can classify music in what can be considered “the wrong way”.

In an unacademic note….

Death Metal is very screamy, and music like that is very scary

To continue the academic tone on how to explain literally what Death or Black Metal is; you would have to take a look at possible examples of bands.  Beyond that you’d have to look at sub classifications; which would be a whole new research topic entirely.  Core values of what this music sounds like would be summarized in a few simple key words:

Lyrics of a largely Gothic or Dark, menacing type nature.

Voices of a grinding, screaming or almost grinding yelling nature.

I suppose if you use the classification of “Melodic Death Metal” when comparing to bands such as Nightwish or other Scandanavian metal or hardcore rock bands – then supposedly a band like Luna Sea or X-japan would be classified as such.  However, the rock ballads that are on more Asahi beer than your average Bon Jovi tune; are far from “Death” many of them are of emotional, or romantic themes.

How are we going to continue reviewing music in any nature, if people who are reading about it dont know EXACTLY what we are reading about when we go to listen to it?  A person largely into death metal surely would not be interested in an experimental alternative romance metal band would they?

Although not qualified to do surveys as such, as I am only personally a first year student in Asian Studies doing a wonderful 200 level paper; I did a mini survey via facebook.  Many of the people I asked were students of Otago University; and largely answers did vary.

To Quote Hayley Alice Ayto, student in Japanese 132 at Otago University:

Hayley Ayto September 16 at 11:03am

American bands are the most influential, due to their ability to be marketed to a worldwide fanbase, so naturally, a lot of Japanese bands will pick up on these influences and deliver them. However, it’s not to say that they’re unoriginal and imitative. In X Japan, for example, I can definitely hear elements of other prominent metal bands of the time, like Metallica and GnR. I feel GnR must’ve been influenced by X Japan unknowingly, due to the similarities between the opening piano intros and song structures of ‘Endless Rain’ (released in 89) and ‘November Rain’ (91/92) and many of their later ballads.
It’s easy to assume that Japanese music is just reproduced Western music for Japanese audiences, but a lot of musicians clearly have their own distinct styles and influences, so they’ve been able to produce music that compared to their Western counterparts comes across as distinct and having its own special something. I always felt if the language barrier wasn’t a problem, X Japan would’ve been up there with their Western contemporaries of the time.

I seem to remember asking other questions like “Is X-japan Death Metal” to people like Henry Tsu and Yu Grace Sugigaki, and receiving quite interesting responses.  While I had unfortunatley forgotten to document these sources from them when I asked them; the general response remained similar.

(A modified quote of Henry Tsu) X-japan being Classified as Death Metal seems very incorrect.  (Henry Tsu also has had experience in making music in Dunedin, and has previously been involved in the Dunedin metal scene.)

Yu Grace and I had a cheeky friend-friend conversation over chat, and it ended up being that we decided a lot of it could’ve been due to style and misrepresentation.  Largely a horrible way to classify your music if you ask me 🙂

In the end should it matter if music is classified correctly, if a lot of it is the same?

How can we continue to listen to music

If it’s only as good as the next gig out of town?

With the current research topic being that almost of an accusatory fact, that music is no longer original and it is becoming more cookie-cutter as the years pass by.  Glittering Pop from both sides of the ocean continue to flutter international and local airways, and even the “rock” people consider to be music is far becoming the same commercial output.

How can we continue to listen to this and have a way of human beings finding something different to experience? Is this not what music was meant to be, something different to experience?  Well, I for one cannot answer that as I would have had to been around when music was invented.

With the books i’ve looked through, read in and examined evidence of such topics – how can I not admit that most popular music and in this case Japan, is cookie cutter and unimaginative?

I can’t – but what I can admit through this research mixed with personal knowledge is that inbetween the cracks of modern popular music is a revival of originality.  Breaking the trends, and breaking the mould of society that once was the plan of Punk Rock band Sex Pistols.


Off the Blue Blood Album, Released in 1989

I’ve obviously left this a little late, but there has been a lot more to research on this topic than my annotated bibliography had implied. Here’s the first outlines i’ve created to begin the essay i’m turning in on Tuesday/Monday.

Argument Sections:

Introduction Argument:

  • How can we continue to listen to music if it’s only as good as the next gig out of town
  • Classifying music seems like such a tedious job, however when academically reviewing it the knowledge behind the notes and melodies become much more clear.  (Thus the argument of incorrect classification)
  • Why Promote Japanese music when we have our own?

The influence on 70s Glam rock, but how it wasn’t copied or imitated but adapted and rebuilt.

  • 70s Glam Rock: David Bowie, T-Rex/Marc Bolan, KISS

The current problem on incorrect categorization of rock music from japan in recent years.

  • X-Japan’s classification as a form of Death Metal
  • The lack of proper classification for overseas bands, which can make it harder to classify their originality

Fandom and it’s relation to differences in cultural aspects

  • Groupies vs Fangirls
  • Yoshiki vs Hiroshi Lawsuit
  • Perceptions of Rock Idol personalities

Examples of Japanese Rock and Bands within the “Visual Kei” Sphere in question to The Glam Influence

  • Dir En Grey
  • Miyavi
  • X-Japan
  • Luna Sea

The comparison of Marc Bolan and Hideto Matsumoto in requirement to the essay topic

  • Film the Psychommunity Performance
  • 20th Century Boy
  • Knowledge of Marc Bolan from sources

With the looming deadline of my Japanese Popular Music essay on September the 21st, i bring you the related PROJECT end of it “The Blog.” – Originally considered using a popular format of presentation, but the assumption is that a written presentation would suit better as it is one of my larger strengths.

This is a non confrontational, research and resource blog – I will be continuing to use this as a means of research as some day i wish to possibly publish my findings and get to the “real truth” on this.

And yes, from a fan’s perspective that is hard because i must be very objective, subjective and detailed.  Not only that but i have to find resources that match my opinions and see if my opinions and theories are correct.  That’s never easy in this sort of field, and most of the time the research is done by people who have knowledge and respect, but sometimes fall into the category of “missing the point”.

My official point is to prove that Japanese Rock and Japanese popular music is highly adaptive, original yet highly changing.  A lot of the music has traditional yet modern elements, and very well so sometimes it isn’t even adapted from outside sources.

That being said … i really should finish the essay before making more “posts” here 🙂