What GACKT Listens To

On April 27th, GACKT appeared on a radio show called “Love for Japan ~Kizashi~”. On this show, the host, NASU Eriko, invites various celebrities to share the music that they like. At present, you can find a recording of GACKT’s appearance on YouTube. As the uploader warns, it may be taken down soon, so listen to it while the listening’s good.

I always find it interesting to hear musicians talk about other musicians’ songs, and since some of what GACKT said on this appearance was totally new for me, I figured I’d go ahead and translate it. Now, GACKT did have a cold, and he was speaking ad lib, so there are parts where he changes his train of thought mid-sentence, and parts that I couldn’t catch at all, but I could catch enough of it to justify sharing, methinks. Where I wasn’t sure about something I wrote it in brackets [ ], and if I couldn’t catch something at all, I wrote [???]. I only translated what GACKT said.

The citation numbers are linked to the footnotes at the bottom of the page, and you can click on the arrow (↩) at the end of each footnote to jump back to that point in the text.

Good evening, this is Gackt. Today I want to present songs on the theme of “Opening a Path to the Future.” The songs I chose today…well, I don’t listen to Japanese music much but, specially for this occasion, I thought up some songs I do particularly like, and want to share them with you. Please look forward to my selections.

(Explanation of where the program is broadcast, and its aims to send positive energy out all over the country with good music.)

Good evening again, Gackt here. This program is broadcast on NHK Radio, as well as through internet radio, and through various community temporary disaster area radio stations.

Umm…I think there must be many listeners who feel like much time has passed since the disaster. To me it feels like it was just yesterday. Recently, on March 11th, I [went around to see] the various affected areas. Even now, the scars from that disaster remain. There are still many places that need to be fixed up, places that need to be revitalized, and things that we mustn’t forget no matter what. So for this show, I tried to pick not just songs that I liked, but songs that included the kinds of thoughts and feelings necessary to face the future and move forward. The first song I’ll play is, well, it serves as a “self-introduction” too; it’s my newest song. Uhh, sorry about my scratchy voice. I’ve got a cold. Mm. Anyway, please listen to my song, “P.S. I LOVE U.”

(“P.S. I LOVE U” plays.)

And that was “P.S. I LOVE U,” by me, GACKT. On the first listen it probably seems like a terribly sad song, but its concept is that it’s a letter for one’s beloved, to help them open a path to the future, to have them face the future and more forward. Actually, it took eight months to complete this song. I ended up taking eight months. Oh man, really, it was grueling. I was abroad the whole time, right? While I was abroad, traveling between places, all those times I ended up tied up with this song, every day I was just thinking about it. Then we filmed the music video for it, filmed it, edited it, then when I listened to it I was like…hmmmm…nope, do over. Rewrite the song, reshoot the video, do everything again from the beginning. Those are my memories about this song. I still remember how all of the staff members involved, their jaws just dropped. Of course they were shocked! But this piece is very important to me, so I couldn’t possibly put out something I didn’t believe in, right? There was no way around it. And so that’s why after that, it took two more months to redo everything and complete the song, but ultimately I thought, “I’m glad I did it.”

Anyway, let’s move on to the next song. Shall I have you listen to it first? This is ONE OK ROCK with “Wherever You Are.”

(“Wherever You Are” plays.)

And that was “Wherever You Are,” by ONE OK ROCK.

Is there anyone thinking, “Why is GACKT listening to ONE OK ROCK?” Actually, when I was in the band YFC…well, basically, when the 3/11 earthquake happened, YFC’s concept was “what we can do;” the feelings we should convey, we said let’s put out what we’re thinking right now. That’s how this 7-person band started. There was Shinya, the drummer from Luna Sea, and various other members who came together, and we’d put on pretty intense shows. Our youngest member, Takumi, a guitarist, said to me, “Big Brother, do you know the vocalist of ONE OK ROCK?” I said, “No.” That’s how the conversation started.

“Well, his name is Taka. Can I introduce him to you?”

“Sure, yeah. But why?”

“Oh, it’s just that…he’s good.”

Something like that. “Ah, is that right?” I said.

But, the timing was never right, and ultimately I was never introduced to him, but I remembered what Takumi said, and I thought, “What are ONE OK ROCK’s songs like anyway?” So I tried listening to a few of them. Mm, being perfectly honest, there weren’t many songs that I liked, but this one, this “Wherever You Are,” I really liked this one. I said to Takumi, “His voice is really good on this track, isn’t it?” It left a strong impression on me, this song. Yeah.

Anyway, today I’m choosing songs based on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” Please stay tuned.

(Program jingle plays.)

This is GACKT, selecting music based on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” The next song I’ll play is by a group I love, Dreams Come True. Of course, all of you know this song, right? Well, I think there’s no one my age who doesn’t know it. First let’s listen to it. This is Dreams Come True, with “Mirai Yosouzu II.”

(“Mirai Yosouzu II ” —「未来予想図II」meaning “Rendering of the Future Part Two”— plays.)

That was “Mirai Yosouzu II” by Dreams Come True.

Listening to music like this, you get a feel for those days, don’t you? It feels old, doesn’t it? Like you get thrust back in time. Mm. When you hear the first sound in the song, it does make you wonder, “Ah, did they mess up?” But Miwa-san’s voice is really good, isn’t it? Her singing’s really good.

At that time, I was singing…it was around the time I was in this band…1 when I first heard of Dori Kamu, my girlfriend at the time—I was giving her a ride—she said, “There’s this really good group I want you to listen to.”

“Oh, really? I only listen to Western music, but…”

“No, no, listen to this.”

My first impression of the song was, ah, they’re good. “What band is this?” When she said, “Dori Kamu,” I answered, “Chewing on what? ‘Kamu‘ what?”2

“Dori Kamu.”

“Dori? What’s ‘dori’?”

“What, you don’t know?” she said to me. “It’s ‘Dreams Come True.'”

“Eh? How is that ‘Dori Kamu’?”

“It’s just an abbreviation.”

[???] that didn’t [???] at all. And then when I heard “Mirai Yosouzu II,” I asked innocently, “Two? Is there a three?” I was [???], huh? It’s still good though, isn’t it? This song. Its message is good. The sound is outdated, but I feel like I’d like to hear the song again if it were re-recorded. Mm. My ex-girlfriend really loved this song. Well…moving on…

The next of my favorite songs that I’ll introduce was used as the theme song for a movie. Give it a listen. This is ORANGE RANGE, with “Hana.”

(“Hana” —「花」meaning “flower”— plays.)

And that was ORANGE RANGE with “Hana.” Ahhhh, when you listen to it after [???], [you reevaluate it, don’t you?] But it’s [???].

This band is, like me, originally from Okinawa. They debuted after me. ORANGE RANGE released this song just when I had also released a new song, and when I first heard “Hana,” I thought, “Man, these guys are really [???].” It ticked me off, and I wondered, “Why did this song sell so well?” I thought, “These guys have to try a bit harder,” and [???]. That was my candid impression of the song. I had mixed feelings about the whole thing.3

Then a friend of mine said to me—he calls me waka, “young master,”—he said, “Waka, did you see it?”

“See what?”

“The movie, the movie!”

“What movie?”

“You haven’t seen it?!”

“What are you talking about? What movie?”

He said, “Be With You!”4 and I said,  “Eh, what’s up with that title?!”

Really, that was the conversation we had. [??????]. Anyway, some time passed and I still hadn’t seen this movie, Be With You. Now, I have a big monitor in my car, and I’m in the habit of watching movies in there when I’m on the go, that’s how I watch most movies. Then one day, unexpectedly, Be With You was there among the movies that [had been downloaded]. I was like, oh, this is the one my friend was talking about, so I watched it.

It stars NAKAMURA Shidō-kun, and TAKEUCHI Yūko-chan. When they got married in real life, I thought, “Wow, those two got married?” But that was all I heard about it. Then when I saw this movie, at the very end, what I thought was, [“Is this why you got married?!” That was my reaction.] And the last scene, when the husband is in the garden, full of the sunflowers that his wife loved, and the camera pans up, and we see all those sunflowers blooming, that’s when ORANGE RANGE’s song comes in like, ♪hanabira no~. [“Is that what sells?!?!”] I remember that that’s what I said. I was moved.5 The movie and the song were so overwhelmingly good, that even though when I heard the song by itself I thought nothing of it, hearing this song “Hana” after the movie it seemed so terribly good, and though it had been just a 30-minute trip, I was crying so much I couldn’t get out of my car for 2 hours! Then finally when I got out of the car, I said to everyone on my staff, “You guys…right now…we’re gonna watch Be With You right this instant.” I think everyone must have thought, “What, he doesn’t feel like working?” But actually, of all the Japanese movies in recent years, this one, Be With You, is my number one favorite movie. It hasn’t changed in all this time, though I wish an even greater movie could come along soon.

So, here I am, GACKT, picking out songs based on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” More coming up next.

(Program jingle plays.)

GACKT here, playing songs for you about “Opening a Path to the Future.” First, let’s listen to this song, which was a charity single in the Act Against AIDS campaign. This is KUWATA Keisuke & Mr.Children with “Kiseki no Hoshi.”6

(“Kiseki no Hoshi” plays.)

And that was “Kiseki no Hoshi” by KUWATA Keisuke & Mr.Children. This song was used in the 1995 Act Against AIDS campaign.

If I were to be asked, “Do you have any special memories about this song?” I’d have to answer, “Honestly, for this song, not at all.” If instead the question were, “Why did you pick this song as representative of the theme ‘Opening a Path to the Future’?” then I’d have to answer like this: At the time, KUWATA Keisuke-san as well as Mr.Children were putting out really great songs. So I was surprised when I heard that SAKURAI Kazutoshi-kun of Mr.Children would be singing a song with KUWATA Keisuke. Then when the song came out, and I heard Sakurai-kun’s voice, I was like, “Hm, he sounds like Kuwata-san. Wait…is this Kuwata-san? Sakurai-kun? Which is it?” Then when Kuwata-san’s part comes up, I thought, “Wow! Kuwata-san’s really something else!” My first impression of the song was that it was too [???] so I couldn’t tell what they were singing. But both the Japanese and the English, either language was good. As you’d expect from them. I think there aren’t many vocalists like that.

And then there’s…it must’ve been when I was in grade school…I went to a relative’s house in Okinawa, to my aunt’s place. She said to me, “Ahh, Gacchan, you look like that person…that person!”

“Who?”

“A singer! A really really good singer!”

“There’s someone that good? Who? Who is it?”

When she told me, “KUWATA Keisuke,” I wasn’t sure how I should feel about that. Should I have been glad? Sad? And I couldn’t ask what it was about me that was similar to him. Well, now I can say that back then, I should have been glad to be compared to KUWATA Keisuke.

I’ve met him in person a few times, but he doesn’t make conversation much, because he’s shy around strangers.

Well, anyway, I remember that it was quite the surprise that those two wonderful vocalists miraculously came together.

Moving on…this next song is, I think, completely in line with the theme of “Opening a Path to the Future.” Let’s listen to it. This is Yuzu with “Eikō no Kakehashi.”

(“Eikō no Kakehashi“—「栄光の架橋」 meaning “Bridge to Glory”— plays.)

We just heard Yuzu with “Eikō no Kakehashi.” To be honest, I didn’t know this song. I found out about it because of the Olympics. In footage of Olympic athletes getting ready for a match, you always see them with earphones in, listening to music. So I asked friends of mine who were Olympians, “What do you listen to then?” Quite a number of them said they were listening to Yuzu’s “Eikō no Kakehashi.” I was blown away. “Is it that good of a song?” That’s what prompted me to give Yuzu’s “Eikō no Kakehashi” a listen.

Things are tough for Olympic athletes. What’s so difficult about being an Olympian is that, even though they’re taking on the burden of fighting for this country, for Japan, they get told they’re no good if they don’t get a gold medal, or they get told that if they don’t medal, they’re wasting taxpayer money. If an athlete’s [???] is a little bit bad, people say, “What’s up with this person?! [???]!” And then, even when Olympians do win gold medals, it’s not the case that they’re guaranteed a way to make a living. Really, the Japanese Olympic system makes me angry. A gold medal is something that, in that instant, in that sport, only one person in the entire world can get. It’s my frank opinion that there’s far too great a lack of respect for these athletes who stand at the top of the world. Opening a path to the future isn’t just about what you’re given, I think it’s also about realizing that you have to give back just as much as you received. That’s why I’d like to send out a big shout of encouragement, and all my respect, to the Olympic athletes out there who hear this song and fight on even harder; and to those who, despite losing, fight on through the next year, the year after that, and the next, so that four years later, [???], without having given up, they can give it another shot.

Umm, I, GACKT, am picking songs today based on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” In the last part of the program, I’d like to play a song by some energetic young ladies. That’s coming up next. Please stay tuned.

(Program jingle plays.)

This is GACKT broadcasting music on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” Uh, my voice is really scratchy. But even if your voice is all scratchy like this, on the radio, you have no choice but to speak. I’m reminded of the pain of having to speak even when I had a fever, when I had a cold, or when I’d practically lost my voice, back when I was a regular on-air personality.7 But radio’s nice, isn’t it? This feeling you get talking by yourself. When I think, maybe there’s even just one person listening who would be pleased with this show, then I’m glad to be broadcasting it. Well, I say what I think straight out, so I think there’s also people who are taking offense to what I’m saying. Really. And that’s just fine.

Anyway, I think I’d like to get on with the show.

Recently I finished working on a project I absolutely want all of you to see. It’ll be out on May 3rd. Akumu-chan: The Mu-ovie. “What’s with that title,” you say? The “Mu-ovie” part is yume with o-v-i-e attached to it.8 It’s a good title, isn’t it? I play the role of SHIKI Takashi in this movie. Also, I play Yumeōji, the “dream prince.” It’s a bit of a strange role. The theme of the story as it unfolds is also “Opening a Path to the Future.” Wow, what a coincidence! It’s quite surprising, eh?

Anyway, I think that fans of the drama as well as people seeing these characters for the first time can enjoy this movie. It truly turned out well. There were probably many viewers who complained about the CG graphics in the drama, but with this movie, when the actors in it saw it, we all said, “Wow, if only we’d done it this way from the beginning!” But the producers and directors had this look on their faces like “There’s no way we could’ve done this for a drama!”

Well, I think Akumu-chan The Mu-ovie is a movie that people of all ages can get into, children and their parents. When I started work on the drama, I thought, “Isn’t this a little hard for children to understand?” But I was impressed by how children can pick up on so many things instinctively even if they don’t understand those things expressed with words. When the main story finished, children and their parents talked about the drama, and contrary to what you’d expect, it turned out that the children had understood pretty much all of it.9 I thought that was a very interesting part of this drama. The bonds between parents and children—bonds that, in Japan, have grown weak—I think it would be great if this movie creates an opportunity to strengthen those bonds. You really don’t see many parents and children going to the movies together these days. Back in the day, it was common for them to go to the movies together.

Back when I first moved out to Tokyo, I went to a movie theater. All through the night, I couldn’t fall asleep, so I went driving around in my car. This young man Gackt kept driving all through the morning, and then headed to a movie theater in Shibuya. I parked my car there, and barely glanced at the titles, just thinking “I’ll go to whatever’s playing right now,” and went in. The movie started and I sat down. I had barely been sitting for a minute when I was startled by a loud thud against the back of my chair. I thought “What was that?!” and spun around to look behind me, and the children who were sitting there said, “We can’t see.” That’s it. I was thinking “Huh?! The hell?!” but I couldn’t get angry in the theater, so I figured I’d just put up with it. But then they kicked the chair two, three more times, saying ,”We said, we can’t see.” I looked over at their mother, who was sitting next to them, but she wouldn’t look my way at all. So that whole time, until the movie finished, I sat slumped all the way down in my seat. When it ended, before leaving, I said to the mother, “If your kids do that again next time, I’m gonna teach them a lesson!” Then I went home. Mm.

Well, ever since then I hardly ever go to the movie theater, because the incident left me with pedophobia. So, all you youngsters who go see this movie, absolutely do not kick the seat in front of you, you hear? Otherwise more adults will become afraid of children. We don’t need a second victim like that young Gackt. I want people to love the movie [without such incidents]. Movie theaters are going out of business one after another these days. Because they have to cut back. Really, everyone please go to the movies! Let’s build the future together.

And so, let’s listen to this movie’s theme song. This is Momoiro Clover Z—what an incredible name, huh?—with “Naite mo Iin Da Yo.”10 Give it a listen.

(“Naite mo Iin Da Yo” plays.)

That was Momoiro Clover Z with “Naite mo Iin Da Yo.” What a fantastic piece of music, huh? I’ll refrain from making any comments. So, the last song I’ll play is “Tomorrow Never Knows” by Mr.Children.

(“Tomorrow Never Knows” plays.)

That was Mr.Children with “Tomorrow Never Knows.” It’s a good song, isn’t it? Truly. When I hear this song, I flash back to those days. And yet, this song doesn’t feel old, so that’s good too. “Good songs” are good no matter when you listen to them, right? It’s mysterious. This song’s concept is good too. “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Meaning, “no one knows what tomorrow will bring,” “no one can know the future.” That’s exactly right. No one knows the future. It’s impossible for anyone to know it. But, each person creates their own future. The things you do now, what you do from this point on, those things create your future. Those of you who think of putting off till tomorrow what you could do today, realize that tomorrow will become a better day if you take action now, this instant. If you can smile today, you will be able to smile even more wonderfully tomorrow. I may not look it, but even I can give a hearty laugh. With a smile. Because I tried my best and practiced. I used to be told, “you’re scary-looking!” So I practiced a lot, I practiced laughing in front of a mirror. The scariest thing about that was the reflection of my own face in that instant.11 Even so, such experiences came to happen less, and I became able to smile much better than before. Isn’t that great? It’s so different from when I was in a band12—my smile, that is—that I hardly recognize it. It’s all big and sparkly.

And so, I, GACKT, chose music today based on the theme “Opening a Path to the Future.” How was it? It had been a while since I did a radio show…mmmm. Radio’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s nice. Anyway, your host tonight was me, GACKT. Thank you.


~Footnotes~

1. Not sure about the chronology here. The song GACKT introduced here, “Mirai Yosouzu II,” appeared on Dreams Come True’s 2nd album, released in 1989. The song called “Mirai Yosouzu” was originally on Dreams Come True’s 4th album MILLION KISSES, released in 1991. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, both songs were written by the lead vocalist, YOSHIDA Miwa, when she was in high school; however, she wrote “Mirai Yosouzu” first, so even though it was released after “Mirai Yosouzu II,” it is the first “Mirai Yosouzu.”  (That said…the Japanese Wikipedia, on May 4th when I checked it, does not list the release dates for the albums consistently across all DCT-related pages. ^_^;;;) Since GACKT would’ve only been 16 years old (and therefore probably not driving and…not yet in a band?) when “Mirai Yosouzu II” came out, I wonder if the song the ex played for him was 1991’s “Mirai Yosouzu.”

2. GACKT says 「何かむ?」(nani wo kamu?) which shows that he mistook “kamu” to be a Japanese verb. Since I’m working off audio I can’t know whether GACKT was thinking of the kamu meaning “to chew” or “to blow (one’s nose)” so I just picked “to chew”.

3. “Hana” was released in October of 2004 and topped the Oricon charts; meanwhile, GACKT’s “Kimi ni Aitakute,” released about a week after “Hana,” peaked at #2, and fell off the charts long before “Hana” did.

4. The original Japanese title of this movie is 「いま、会いにゆきます」(Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu, meaning literally “I will go to meet you now”).

5. I’m a bit confused by this section, because GACKT sounds angry when he says 「それ結婚するわ?!」and 「それ売れるわ?!」but then he says he was moved. I don’t know if that’s a part of the “mixed feelings” he’d mentioned earlier, or if I’m just misinterpreting his tone of voice. Also, since I’m assuming he’s kinda angry, I’m not sure if he’s saying 感動 (being moved) or 反動 (one’s reaction) after the comment about Nakamura & Takeuchi’s having gotten married…especially since they did get divorced shortly after.

6. The song title is written 「奇跡の地球」(Kiseki no Chikyū) but pronounced “Kiseki no Hoshi.” Chikyū means “Earth” and hoshi usually means “star,” but it is often used artistically to mean “planet.” Well, in English, too, the planets used to be called “wandering stars.” Anyway, the title means “Miracle Planet.”

7. I assume he’s referring to his time on the radio show All Night Nippon, for which he was a regular on-air personality beginning in 2002. This comes up in The Air Moon, the translation of which I’m slowly posting to my portfolio blog, Warped Frost.

8. Chinese characters (kanji) used in Japanese usually have at least 2 pronunciations, or “readings.” The kanji for “dream” is 夢 , which is pronounced as yume by itself, and as mu in compounds, such as akumu: 悪夢 “bad dream, nightmare.” So, “the 夢ovie” gets pronounced as “the movie.”

9. GACKT doesn’t say when, where, or why these parent-child discussions happened. Maybe it was a focus group the TV network did.

10. Momoiro Clover means “Pink Clover.” The letter “Z” was added when the group’s line-up changed. I don’t know if this is the case for the average person (Japanese or otherwise), but I always think of the mecha anime Mazinger Z when I hear “Momoiro Clover Z.” Ahaha…anyway, the song title, 「泣いてもいいんだよ」 (naite mo iin da yo) means “it’s okay to cry.”

11. I don’t know if GACKT means his usual face was scary, or his face practicing smiling was scary. I imagine it’s the latter, because I can’t smile on command so I tried practicing (e.g. in preparation for picture day) and all I managed to do was twist my face into a rather disconcerting arrangement. orz

12. I assume he means his MALICE MIZER days, as by YFC he had already been smiling quite broadly.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “What GACKT Listens To

  1. I haven’t read this all yet coz I’m still working (though I’m home >< ). But I'm thanking you in advanced for another job well done. Thank you very, very much! Bless you!

Share your thoughts here! ^_^/☆

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s