Artist Spotlight: Kiyoharu

Kiyoharu is one of the most notable artists of the Japanese rock industry, still active today. Most well-known as the front man of legendary visual kei band Kuroyume (now on a very long hiatus after their extensive 20th anniversary tour), he also has an active career as a solo artist and with his rock band sads.

But enough about the stuff you can probably find on Google -- here’s why Kiyoharu matters.

Are you a fan of DIR EN GREY? The GazettE? SuG? lynch.? SID? Merry? Any visual kei artist in the scene today? Guess what: they’re all huge fans (and here are the photos to prove it!)

 

Kiyoharu and Hyde

Kiyoharu and Hyde

Kiyoharu, Sugizo (Luna Sea) and Morrie (Dead End, Creature Creature)

Kiyoharu, Sugizo (Luna Sea) and Morrie (Dead End, Creature Creature)

Kiyoharu and Takeru (SuG)

Kiyoharu and Takeru (SuG)

Kiyoharu and Mao (SID)

Kiyoharu and Mao (SID)

Kiyoharu and Miyavi

Kiyoharu and Miyavi

From copying his iconic vocal style to his tattoos and fashion sense, there is a huge amount of respect for the artist as one of the biggest influences to visual kei in its early stages. There’s no doubt that this is due largely in part to the fact that Kiyoharu would be on tour for a good majority of each year of activity, sometimes performing over 200 days in a one-year period. This is a feat not many artists have been able to compete with even in today’s industry.

Kiyoharu and Ruki (the GazettE)

Kiyoharu and Ruki (the GazettE)

lynch. members at their own in-store appearance, showing off their sads T-shirts

lynch. members at their own in-store appearance, showing off their sads T-shirts

Kiyoharu has also shared the stage with a number of popular western artists in Japan. In 2004, Kiyoharu opened for the late David Bowie on his Japan tour. Only last year, sads performed with artists popular in the west: SIXX:A.M., Buckcherry, and VAMPS at Vampark Festival at Nippon Budokan. 

 

If you make your way over to Japan, chances are you can catch Kiyoharu performing since he’s never away from the stage for long.

2015 alone saw dozens of special solo acoustic performances dubbed “Monthly Plugless MARDI GRAS,” where the singer performed a variety of acoustic versions of classics from his career. This summer, a tour is slated for sads, with more performances likely to be announced for winter. (Kuroyume will still be on their hiatus for a long, long time unfortunately.)

 

Following his personal interest in fashion, Kiyoharu also has his own fashion empire - MOONAGE DEVILMENT in Shibuya is where you can find his designer label. Just above the shop is yet another store -  MARDI GRAS SHOP, a shop to host his artist merchandise and vape liquid line. MARDI GRAS SHOP also hosts friends of Kiyoharu’s merchandise lines for limited periods of time as well. Last year's grand opening of the shop saw the GazettE’s BLACK MORAL line hosted there. 

Chaotic Harmony brings a taste of MARDI GRAS SHOP to the US, with official Kiyoharu-related merchandise now available. The items range from non-standard cut designer Tshirts, wristbands, home decor, to scented rings and more.

 

Ready to get your world rocked? Check out the following tracks recommended by CHI staff (who had a very hard time picking only a few tracks...):

Kuroyume:

Shonen

FAKE STAR

BEAMS

Like @ Angel

Miss MOONLIGHT

Guernica

I HATE YOUR POPSTAR LIFE

 

sads:

Sherry

Sandy

EVIL

Gothic Circus

WASTED

 

Kiyoharu (solo):

LAW’S

the sun

loved

Kurutta Kajitsu

Kimi no koto ga

MOMENT

Nazary

 

Join the Kiyoharu obsession:

Instagram: @ki_spring

Twitter: @ki_spring

 

Kiyoharu Official Site

sads Official Site

Kuroyume Official Site