Winter to Fall: Kagrra,
Guest Submission by: Kim M.
While Kagrra had only achieved marginal large scale success during their decade-long career, within the visual kei scene they have left their mark. Following their last live concert at the C.C. Lemon Hall, various artists from within the genre updated blogs and twitter alike announcing their grief at the loss and best wishes for the future.
Many fans — and writers alike — would unsurprisingly choose to write about Kagrra,’s various noteworthy accomplishments in terms of record sales or songs. I do not deny these as being great accomplishments but I do know that for me, as well as many other fans, Kagrra,’s greatest success is so much more than just those things.
Their name is derived from a style of Shinto dance, the kanji of which (神楽), roughly translates to “music of the gods.” When asked why they chose such a name, vocalist Isshi answered that they’re from Japan and so they wanted people to know of their Asian origin while still attempting to reach a wider audience.
To enhance the concept of new and old blended together, when Kagrra formed in early 2000 their image was dominated with yukata and other traditional elements, balanced with modern instruments and visual flair. Their songs, melodies and guitar riffs were inspired by tradition “Asian” or Japanese sounds — such as in Kami uta or the introductory chords to Genei no katachi.
These five men were inspired by traditional sounds, as well as other factors from Japanese fashion, mythology for the lyrics, and the instruments they used. In their later years, guitarist Shin learned to play and incorporate koto into their songs, for example. Furthermore, they also infused more modern aspects as well, like modern styles of clothing or materials and current societal aspects (Subarashiki kana? Jinsei). It is difficult to adequately explain how, but throughout their career Kagrra had been successful in making the most seamless, effortless blend between modern and traditional Japan. Not only were they successful at it, they flourished.
It is not only for this fan, but many others who have loved Kagrra that their love is not simply for their amazing songs and overall band concept, but the way in which they have created their own niche. Kagrra created the genre Neo Japanesque, and they have remained within this style for years. No matter what happens from here on, there will never be another band to have a similar stage presence, nor overall style. In the world of Visual Kei, an era has ended.
This loss will make its mark. Perhaps not now, or for some time, but the scene has lost a great band of very talented musicians. Kagrra was amazing and will always be in the hearts their music had touched, even though there will be no more from these five together.
The cherry blossoms, now fully bloomed, have fallen.