Get to Know Japan’s Unconventional Rocker, Gackt!

  • CELEBRITIES
  • CULTURE
  • A singer, musician, songwriter, record producer, actor, and the most interesting person that one can find: Camui M.S. Gackt, or Gackt as he is famously known, at one time, claimed that he was a vampire that was born in 1540. But who is the famous rocker really?

    Gackt’s Beginnings and Music Career

    Since the age of 3, Gackt started his musical education with the piano (later on he expanded to brass instruments due to influences from his father) and had been surrounded with classical music and enka while growing up. He became fascinated with rock music when he was a young adult, which led to him learning to play instruments used in contemporary rock. He began his music career as a drummer for a Japanese recording studio and an unknown band, and he later created the band Cain:Feel.

    Later, he became a member of the visual-kei band Malice Mizer due to the hiatus of the band caused by the lack of a vocalist. Since then, the band’s fame soared. However, in 1999, Gackt left the band to begin his solo career.

    Ever since he turned into a solo artist, Gackt has sold over 5 million records in Japan and holds the male soloist record for most top ten consecutive chart singles as of July 18, 2011. His debut single was “Mizérable”, it reached number 3 and charted for 9 consecutive weeks on the Oricon charts since its release on 30 June 1999. His first album, “Mizérable (extended play)”, which also contained the single with the same name, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). Then on August 11, he released his second single “Vanilla”, which was also certified gold by the RIAJ as well as peaking at number 4 and staying on the charts for 10 weeks. As of now, Gackt has released 8 studio albums, 8 compilation albums, 2 soundtrack albums and 45 singles.

    Film Career

    Gackt started dabbling in filmmaking in 2001 and 2002 with the TV documentaries “Fly to Madagascar” and “Hero’s Hero”. Later in 2003, he scripted and starred in his first drama and action film “Moon Child”, which also starred L’Arc en Ciel and VAMPS vocalist, Hyde; and Chinese singer Wang Leehom. The theme song of the movie “Orenji no Taiyō” (“オレンジの太陽”, “The Orange Sun”), was also written and sung by Gackt and Hyde. The movie was released on 19 April in Japan and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on 13 May and at the Philadelphia Film Festival on 12 April 2004.

    In 2007, Gackt played the part of Uesugi Kenshin, a Sengoku period daimyo in the NHK Taiga drama, “Fūrin Kazan” (風林火山). His number 1 single, “Returner ~Yami no Shūen~” (“RETURNER~闇の終焉~”, “Returner~Demise of Darkness~”), was used as the title song for the TV series. He received the TV Navi award for best supporting actor in the drama category for his part. Then, in 2008, Gackt got the chance to play a part in his first international film: “Bunraku”, a martial-arts action film written and directed by Guy Moshe. Apparently, Moshe was so impressed by Gackt’s acting performance as well as his music single “Returner ~Yami no Shūen~” that he went to Japan to convince Gackt to join the project.

    Involvement in the Game Industry

    Not only is Gackt involved in the music and film industry, he is also very much involved in the gaming industry. Other than lending his singles to market the games, he voiced and modeled for his character in the games, doing motion capture, which was a move that was rarely done by major recording Japan artists. An example of this is the antagonist from the Final Fantasy game series, Genesis Rhapsodos of Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, who was modeled after Gackt. The 2 theme songs of the game: “Longing” and “Redemption” were written and performed by him.

    Charity Work

    So, he’s involved in music, movies and games, but those are not the only thing that make him interesting. He joined and performed in a Hohoemi project charity event called “Message! to Asia” in which the profits were to be used to help street children in Cambodia and the Philippines.

    In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami happened. Because of this incident, Gackt founded the “Show Your Heart” emergency charity for collecting disaster relief funds to buy supplies for the victims. As a representative, he stated, “We decided to organize the charity as it was something that even we could start (in order to help). We want everyone to lend us their strength. Although individuals may not be able to do much, if everyone works together, it becomes a lot of power. In this sort of time, we need to have the courage to lend a helping hand.”

    All in all, Gackt is crazy; he is funny; and he is cool. He is also involved in the music, film, and gaming industries and he thinks he’s a vampire! If that does not make him the most interesting guy in Japan, what does?

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