VISUAL HISTORY | a basic guide to Visual Kei


Visual Kei is a style, but it’s more like freedom.

– Yoshiki Hayashi (X JAPAN)

Visual Kei (ヴィジュアル系) for the uninitiated or those unfamiliar with the Japanese music scene it’s little more than dudes in dresses playing some manner of rock. For fans, however, it’s more. It’s elaborate aesthetics intertwined with electrically charged performances and musical genre mashing, culminating in something that is both uniquely Japanese and yet, in the same moment not. For many fans and musicians Visual Kei is more than just the music or the larger than life personalities and bands make up the heart and soul of the movement. It’s a philosophy, a form of self-expression that transcends the barriers of culture of language, and inspire countless people around the world.

VISUAL HISTORY, is a basic guide to Visual Kei for those unfamiliar with the phenomenon and die-hard fans alike. As implied by the name VISUAL HISTORY will cover the history of the movement, from it’s origins in the late 1980s until today, touching on a variety of topics, including the issue of genre, musical influences, important figures/musicians in the movement and more. In addition to the history of the movement, VISUAL HISTORY, will also look at specific bands, musicians and even songs significant to Visual Kei.

VISUAL HISTORY: a basic guide to Visual Kei

Introduction to Visual Kei:

  • Defining a movement:“What is Visual Kei?”
  • Types of Visual Kei: “What’s your Visual flavour?”

Origins of Visual Kei

  • Birth of a Subculture Pt.1: “The Experimental Eighties: X Japan – Fathers of Visual Kei”
  • Birth of a Subculture Pt. 2: “The Experimental Eighties: Buck Tick – Men in Black”
  • Birth of a Subculture Pt. 3: “The Experimental Eighties: Luna Sea – The First Generation”
  • Birth of a Subculture Pt. 4: “The Experimental Eighties: Glay – Pop, Rock and VK”


DISCLAIMER: VISUAL HISTORY is a fan produced guide to Visual Kei, primarily focusing on the movement’s history, impact, and influences. As such it is the intention of this guide to provide readers with a well researched look at the Visual Kei movement and the surrounding sub-culture. However, due to the inevitable limitations of this being a fan project, VISUAL HISTORY is in no way claims to be an authority on Visual Kei. Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer, unless otherwise stated. Where possible links to sources are provided.


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