Suspect also convinced his own mother he was the Dir En Grey frontman for 10 years.

In the annals of Japanese music Dir En Grey is often identified as just another visual kei band, but really they’re something of a musical anomaly with a rather amorphic style. Despite being such an avant-garde band they’re also amazingly successful with legions of fans in Japan and around the world.

This is thanks in no small part to their vocalist Kyo, who has a remarkable range both in terms of pitch and sounds. Here’s a pretty good example.

Granted, it’s an acquired taste, but even if you’re not planning to play their greatest hits at your next box social, you have to respect Kyo’s vocal chops. However, as much as I like the guy, if my daughter came home one day with him on her arm, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled about it. Moreover, I’d sure as hell not hand him 54 million yen (US$516,000).

I might be alone there, however, because that’s just what a 61-year-old father in Oji, Nara Prefecture did over the course of nearly three years after Kyo and his daughter started living together. To make matters worse, this “Kyo” wasn’t even a Kyo, but actually Yoshikazu Kasahara, a 39-year-old unemployed man of questionable vocal ability.

Kasahara convinced the woman who was to become his common-law wife and her parents that he was the Dir En Grey frontman using a neck tattoo that was similar the one the real Kyo has. Then, from October of 2017 he began convincing his father-in-law to give him money using made-up stories such as being ripped off of all his money by his band’s manager.

▼ In defense of the family, Kyo’s neck tattoo is the one part of his appearance that doesn’t constantly change

While such a scandal probably would have made the news, the father took the fake Kyo at his word and neck tattoo, and began giving him money. After a while, the dad’s savings were tapped and he cancelled his life insurance policy to keep handing money over to the seemingly hapless rocker.

It’s unclear what finally blew Kasahara’s cover, but in the same span of time Kyo and the rest of the real Dir En Grey wrapped up a national tour, went on two world tours, released a single, a full length album, a greatest hits album, a live Blu-ray, two books, contributed to numerous compilations, made twelve national TV performances, and many more interviews in print and video. One of those things might have tipped someone off.

▼ Their latest single just came out last August. Also be warned that, like most Dir En Grey videos, this contains imagery that may be disturbing to some

This was Kasahara’s third arrest (the other two being related to an assault charge and defrauding a former girlfriend’s father). While in custody he reportedly came clean, telling police: “I am not a rock star, so there is no manager. Until now, I’ve been lying to get money any way I could and I cannot repay it. But, I’m really surprised at the amount.”

If all this hasn’t been weird enough, the investigation also revealed that Kasahara began posing as Kyo to his own mother, from whom he lives apart, for the past 10 years. He used some of his ill-gotten money to buy her Dir En Grey concert tickets so she could watch “her son” perform.

“I was embarrassed to tell her I was unemployed and pretended to be a member,” he told the authorities along with how he began tattooing himself on his neck and arms like Kyo to play into the ruse and how he’s “been a big fan of theirs since high school.”

It’s a pretty unbelievable crime in almost every regard, so that confession of “surprise” at how much he’d cheated his latest victim out of was probably the most honest thing Kasahara’s said in a long time. Readers of the news also reveled in the incredulousness of it all.

“This is a joke right? Even the guy’s confession is kind of zany.”
“Kyo-kun would never do such a thing.”
“The clever sleazoid sustained the untruth.”
“That poor woman was telling everyone she was dating Kyo the whole time?”
“He should apologize to Kyo!!!”
“This is so funny I still don’t believe it’s real.”
“Didn’t anyone ask to hear his death metal voice that entire time?”
“Why didn’t they just Google him?”

Impersonating such a high-profile person in the information age is definitely a ballsy move, but thankfully judges are usually indifferent to ballsiness. Also, considering this is Kasahara’s third strike, he may end up with a lot of time to practice his singing behind bars.

And while the justice system does its thing, we should also acknowledge a truly historic aspect of this whole case. This may very well be the first time in human history that a person’s neck tattoo alone directly resulted in them getting money.

Source: FNN Prime Online, Asahi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/Dir En Grey
Insert image: Wikipedia/Silvio Tanaka
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