I'm so happy you're updating more! You are one of my favorite blogs! I wanted to ask if it's true hide made the word- visual kei? That would make X Japan the first visual kei band?
Wow.. thank you! I’m almost always busy because of work.. so sorry about lack of updates.
This is an easy and difficult question lol.. I researched this a little. I’m not an expert on visual kei, although I can answer this through an X Japan view, not really as a whole of visual kei. The first part is easier to answer. Although in my usual detailed long answer style:
Is it true hide created the word “visual kei”?
Sort of. X Japan had a kind of catchphrase “
PSYCHEDELIC VIOLENCE CRIME OF VISUAL SHOCK” when their album Blue Blood was released. I’m not sure if the whole catchphrase was created by hide, but he has been credited with the “VISUAL SHOCK” bit. It was said in a few interviews before. The term “visual kei” was influenced by hide’s words. In October 1990, the magazine SHOXX was created.
Seiichi Hoshiko helped launch it and became the chief editor, but some of you might know him as “Visual Kei Oyaji”. Hoshiko met X in 1990 when he was writing a report at the company he was working at before. He became fascinated by hide and formed a friendship with him. This is a translation of an interview where he credits hide as an influence:
Interviewer: Mr. Hoshiko, it is said you are the “creator of the word ‘visual kei’”.
Hoshiko: Yes, it seems people say that about me. But at first “Visual Shock” was a word X Japan’s HIDE created and even shouted the phrase on stage. So, I picked the word “SHOXX” for my magazine and added the subtitle “Visual and Hard Shock Magazine”. In those days that style was called “okeshou-kei/
お化粧系” (make up style). I hated that, and in an article, I and a staff writer said “it is not make up style, it is visual shock style”. So hide said to me, “you took my catchphrase right? So give me some money (royalties).” (laugh)
Is X Japan the first visual kei band?
Well they were accused of relying on their visual appearance even when they first started out. They were a “dead end band that relied on their visual appearance and cheap stage theatrics” lol. When you think of the many styles that visual kei has, it’s difficult to decide when the style was first created. X was definitely using the term “visual” to describe their style since no one could categorize them. In their beginning style they copied Western glam rock/metal bands and Japan’s 44 Magnum. Most people in those days called them a heavy metal/glam rock/thrash rock band. I think that the fans began calling them “visual kei” because of SHOXX magazine.
So basically it seems the bands featured in SHOXX magazine came to be known as visual kei bands. Before that it seems they were considered to be okeshou-kei. It’s honestly hard to say. When you look at what visual kei looks like today lots of people credit Color, X Japan, Luna Sea, Aura, Kamaitachi… In that industry, all the bands who are considered the forefathers of visual kei knew each other and influenced each other. I think X Japan usually gets the credit as first visual kei band because they had influenced the term.