Underground’s Artists : Miyavi

If you are into Japanese rock music then you most likely have heard of this guy.  Miyavi is what you would call a “crazy ass professional”.  The reason?  He makes it look like everything he does is silly and crazy but it’s cool and quite entertaining…which is what musicians are supposed to do!  But first a little background.

Miyavi was a bright young thing when he was recruited as the guitarist for Due le Quartz. When I say young…I mean like 17!  He always commented when asked how he learned the guitar that he practiced incessantly.  In the shower, in the streets, sitting around in bed…wherever the guitar fit I suppose.  After the quick disbanding of Due le Quartz, Miyavi decided to branch out on his own!  A very wise decision in my opinion!

For starters he was known as Miyabi and then changed the “b” to a “v”…this made a big impact in Japan…again I’m guessing.  But I supposed it had the same impact as the Beatles changing that “e” to an “a” for him.  He also managed to add modeling in since he is obviously easy on the eyes…even to foreign women who normally like that rock star image!

Another thing that makes Miyavi stand out over his J-rock comrades is his extensive tattoo accumulation!  At first, he had very few tattoos but that changed rather rapidly.  He is famous for them.  Here is a listing of just some of them…if I can’t find all of them!

Right Hand:  ΜΨΩ=MYV (an abbreviation of his name) /  Left Hand: 382

Shoulder: A boastful first person pronoun “ore” in kanji.  I think this came about with the movie Oresama with which he played himself.

Upper Left Arm: Spiral saying “Close your heart to every love but mine; hold no one in your arms but me.”

Left Arm: Exert from Heart Sutra “Emptiness is nothing more than body.” in Kanji.  And another that means to be oneself.  And another that reads in kanji “All my life I’m just a man.” (His left arm gets a lot of action!) He has the number 4 which in Japanese sounds like the word for death. On his left wrist he has “chill” in kanji.

Right Shoulder: “ware” which is first person pronoun.  On his inner right arm is “More haste, less speed.”  Again on his right shoulder was a Buddhist phrase but was changed by Miyavi so it can be translated as “I am the one and only. In heaven and on earth.”  His right arm has a phrase from the heart sutra which reads “Body is nothing more than emptiness.”  Also he has “9” which can be translated into kanji as “suffering”.  Still going down his right arm we have a tribute to his first band “Due le quartz”.

Chest: The one around his neck read “un-do” while the one further down in kanji translates to determination, conviction.

Stomach: An arch tattoo which reads “Don’t hesitate and Go” from his song Pop is Dead.

Back: His largest and most important tattoo.  This is the Buddhist Heart Sutra which Miyavi has said he repeated often in his earlier career.

Once you get past the initial shock of his many, many tattoos, Miyavi is an exceptional guitarist.  He has showmanship which is almost rare for rock artists.  Now on to the albums!

Due le Quartz Albums

During his early years in Due le Quartz the style was visual kei.  This is very particular since this style has a band of devoted followers much like Star Wars fans and just like those Han Solo idol worshipers, they can be unforgiving.  Miyavi was everything a frilly little Gothic Lolita clad schoolgirl wanted.  He was talented, he looked good in miniskirts (he has fabulous legs) and he’s pretty.  He even was a spokesperson for a modeling company on top of designing his own guitars with PS Company.

  • Mikansei no Jekyll and Hyde (1999) Debut Due le Quartz
  • Jisatsu Ganbou (2000)
  • Rodeo (2002)
  • Best Album (2002 and re-released in 2005)

Solo Albums

And then the solo years hit!  Since his style changed from visual kei to more punkish, much of his fan base abandoned him to wallow in his own awesomeness,  yet with all those lost fans he gained many more new ones!   At this time, videos of his prancing in a sunny grain field dancing with a broken umbrella and a stolen grocery cart were common.  But, happily, his bad ass antics increased as he became more and more comfortable in the medium.

  • Gagaku (2002)
  • Galyuu (2003)
  • Miyavizm (2005)
  • MYV Pops (2006)
  • Miyaviuta ~Dokusou~ (2006) This is the album that sealed the deal!  America saw him then.  This album is very bluegrass and and classic rock!  Thia album ladies and gentlemen kicks ass and I highly recommend it to first time Miyavi listeners!
  • This iz the Japanese Kabuki Rock (2008)
  • What’s My Name? (2011)

In between all these studio albums and maxi singles he also managed to stir up controversy…per se!  I don’t consider it so, but many of his fans felt it was a betrayal of sorts.  He got married and had kids.  I know, the end of the world right?  Well, that’s what a lot of his fans thought and reacted in a very childlike manner that he even apologized to them for his arrogant behavior!  ::Sigh:: The only reason I feel obligated to mention this in the first place is because it was such a big deal several years ago.

One of the few things that I’m actually really happy didn’t pan out for him was S.K.I.N.  This Japanese super band would have combined Miyavi with X-Japan drummer Yoshiki, Luna Sea’s Sugizo and my favorite person in all the world Gackt into a band which would have melted the Earth’s crust with it’s wonder and strength.  As far as I know, only one show was ever performed and it was sold out in like 5 minutes!  And if Gackt or Yoshiki ever ask you to do something…that’s like Elvis asking you to sing a duet with him!  However, the sheer awesomeness of this band would have been devastating to so many genres that no one would know where to look so it’s okay if it didn’t quite get off the ground.

I recently saw his concert in Orlando and I really was amazed at the great time I had!  Even though I had to wade through all the young school girls with half their heads shaved (this is a style btw that only Japanese men should attempt) I had a incredibly fun time!  This also inspired me to get a proper concert camera for later!


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