Struggling musician Seiji attends the major debut of Gilty x Gilty, where they sing a song with lyrics written by…Seiji.

Loyal SoraNews24 readers already know our Japanese-language writer Seiji Nakazawa, who’s covered topics such as the best anime of the past 10 years, the visually terrifying experience of eating an octopus egg, and why the local train from Tokyo to Chichibu is for suckers. But what you may not know is that in addition to writing articles like those, Seiji also writes J-pop lyrics.

Seiji started his lyric-writing gig in 2020, not long after the start of the pandemic. That timing created an odd situation, though, as even two years into the lyricist life, he’d never gotten to see and hear musicians singing the words he’d written live on stage, since so many concerts and tours have been cancelled or postponed.

That changed last week, though. With coronavirus countermeasures being gradually eased in Japan, idol unit Gilty x Gilty, or “Girugiru,” as they’re known to fans, held a concert in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood on June 28, and Seiji was able to attend the show.

▼ Seiji, on his way to the concert

As Seiji rolled up to the venue, he was feeling a complex mix of emotions. He’s loved music since his teens, when it offered an artistic escape from the oppressive atmosphere at school where he was being targeted by bullies. After graduating from university, Seiji worked part-time jobs with the dream of saving up enough money to move to Tokyo, join a band, and become a big-time musician…but he only accomplished the first two of those three goals. None of the bands he’s joined have had much success, and so when he found out that Gilty x Gilty was having their major debut concert at the Spotify O-East concert hall, he couldn’t help but note that he had never played at such a large facility.

So even though Seiji only wrote the lyrics for one of Gilty x Gilty’s songs, “Stigma,” he was feeling the pressure of his artistic expression being part of something with such a grand scale. At the same time, he was impressed by the strong turnout of Gilty x Gilty fans, who were showing their support for the group by already lining up outside the door.

Once the doors opened, the place quickly filled up, with a large portion of the crowd made up of girls in their teens dressed in gothic fashions, and many of the male attendees looking, in Seiji’s words, like “doll otaku.” The music started, and fans at the front standing area began jumping and shouting in time with the music, while at the back, space parted for enthusiastic wota-gei “otaku dance” glow stick routines.

But while fans were expressing it in different ways, everyone had gotten swept up in excitement for the music. And then it was time for Gilty x Gilty to sing Seiji’s song, “Stigma,” complete with the lyrics he’d written being projected onto the stage background.

Seiji suddenly found himself in a reflective mood. “I was never able to make it up on a stage like this,” he thought. “There are probably all sorts of reasons why, but one thing that’s been a constant in my life, since I was a little kid, is that I don’t have the power to draw people to me. I wanted to change that part of me, and that’s why I first wanted to become a musician, but in the end, I couldn’t do it. It hurts.”

“But…Girugiru’s performance was so strong, so great that it purified all those emotions, and watching them, I felt like I was about to have tears streaming down my face.”

“It felt so good.”

Watching the light filling up the concert hall, Seiji came to a conclusion. “There was a part of me that I couldn’t change, so matter how hard I tried, but now that part of me has become this light. That’s not so bad. I’ve got to engrave this scene in my soul. Got to engrave this moment. Engrave it. Engrave it.”

“Engrave,” by the way, is also a key phrase in the lyrics of “Stigma,” which include the line, “Engrave the proof that I’m alive into myself, as a prayer to fill up the emptiness.”

Unfortunately, there’s not currently a music video for “Stigma,” but Seiji recommends Gilty x Gilty’s “Himitsu no Hako” (“Secret Box”) for those looking for a good example of their sound, which he describes as grittier than typical sugary sweet idol music.

Gilty x Gilty will also be performing live at the upcoming Rad Jam (July 17 at Aichi Sky Exp) and Sekigahara Idol Wars (July 22-24 at Momokubari Undo Park) musical events, where Seiji hopes others will feel that same purifying effect he experienced watching them on stage.

Related: Gilty x Gilty official website, Gilty x Gilty Twitter, Rad Jam, Sekigahara Idol Wars
Photos © SoraNews24
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