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Question about visual-kei and J-Rock


5 Nov 2002
I am a big fan of J-pop, such as Chara, Sheena Ringo, B'Z, Love Psychedelica, and my all time favorite Cocco. One friend just intorduced me to some visual-kei bands (the classic X Japan), and I am quite impressed. Now, I want to write a paper on visual-kei and J-Rock. But I have no idea about the history of it, can someone answer my questions? And I don't know Janapnese language...forgive me if I ask some silly questions.

1. What does the term "visual-kei" mean?
2. Was visual-kei music and especially image inspired by Glamrock from the West? If so, influenced by which bands for example? Kiss? David Bowie?
3. Does visual-kei equal to J-Rock? From some of the previous discussions on J-Rock, I am confused if all Japanese rock bands have some visual or image-driven style, which is in a more flamboyant fashion. Or the term J-Rock is a more overarching label?

ok...I will stop here. Hope I am not giving you a headache. If anyone know more references or resources on J-Pop , J-Rock, and Visual-Kei, PLEASE share with me.😄
I've discussed much this in a few other threads already, but i'll try to sum it up.

I'm not entirely sure what the term "Visual Kei" means. The visual part is pretty obvious. I reccon that Kei means something like style. The term Visual Rock is also used often.
Unrelated sidenote: The Dutch word Kei translates to the English word Rock (meaning stone).

Although X-Japan was not the only band in the Japanese metalscene who resorted to a visual image, they were the first to become popular with it. Frontman Yoshiki was a big fan of bands like Kiss, T-Rex and Queen. He grew up in the seventies when glamrock (and punk) was really popular, so it obviously had it's influences on him. He also mentioned in an interview that the visual image was a way for him to express his individuality.

Visual Kei itself is indeed a part of the overarching JRock. Or rather it used to be. At it's peak popularity halfway the 1990's it spawned towards regular popbands as well and even now there is Enka-singer Kiyoshi Hikawa who's the first Visual Enka artist. It's not completely coincidental that his latest single is produced by Ryuichi Kawamura who used to be the singer of the very popular Visual Rockband Luna Sea.

This website has a lot of pictures and information about Visual Kei: vkacademy.com
You can try Gackt (or Gakuto). I think he came from the Menace Miser band (which disbanded when one of the member died). Not really a fan of this type of music.
Would anyone have an idea as to who pioneered the "visual kei" style in Japan? Was it X, or did another group beat them to it? X was definitely the first to popularize the visual style though, right?

Thanks for your help!
Probably Demon Man band ... or something like that.
He's a prowrestler looking fellow with makeup to rival KISS.

Although, I bet KISS was the influence.

While the Gothic look .... hmmm ... that's a bit harder. X might be the closest but even then the fans weren't really Goths either. So, I put the Goth look on the anime crowd.

Anything beyond 10 years ago is out of my range ... sorry
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