Thanks to the experience and a new oshi, 25 years of mother-daughter conflict began to evaporate in seconds.

Visual kei is a style of Japanese music popularized by musicians in the ’80s and ’90s, characterized by over-the-top stage costumes, wigs, and makeup. It’s essentially the Japanese response to glam rock and is often associated with musical genres such as punk rock and heavy metal. The visual kei boom of the mid-to-late ’90s also happened to hit our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa and her younger sister hard during their formative years, and consequently they developed a life-long passion for the style.

There was just one teensy little obstacle in the way of fully living their dreams in this particular musical world–disapproving parents. Their mother in particular opposed all kinds of visual kei activities such as going to concerts, buying CDs, and wearing clothes and makeup inspired by their favorite groups, all right up until Ikuna and her sister left the house as young adults. As a result, Ikuna harbored an unbridled resentment for not being able to engage in the ways she wanted to during her youth.

Now, over 20 years later, Ikuna was surprised at the amount of resentment she still felt. However, she recently decided to try a completely off-the-wall tactic and invite her 71-year-old mother to a visual kei concert for the first time when the stars seemed to align. The band they went to see was 0.1g no Gosan (literally, “miscalculation by one gram”), which is often shortened to just Gosan. This group has experienced an unusual level of popularity in recent years despite falling outside of mainstream musical styles. To give you a taste of Gosan’s typical sound, here are their two latest music videos, which both dropped on February 16.

▼ “Suiren no Hanakotoba”

▼ “Artemis no Yutsu ~ Juko to Maria”

Gosan was holding a large-scale 8th anniversary concert at the Toyosu Pit music venue in Tokyo on March 27. It was shortly before then that Ikuna’s mother, who lives in Tottori Prefecture in the southwestern part of Japan, announced that she wanted to visit Ikuna in Tokyo. Since the venue for this concert was bigger than usual, fans could grab tickets until much later than typical without them being sold out. Ikuna therefore mustered some courage and asked her mom if she would like to go to the concert with her, to which she received a surprisingly quick “Yes.” And so began the tale of a mother and daughter finally coming to terms with each other after clashing over musical preferences in the past.

Ikuna’s mom traveled from Tottori to Tokyo the day before the concert. Ikuna didn’t want her mom to change her mind, so she hid the fact that they’d be going to see Gosan (who’re known as being pretty hardcore visual kei) until the last minute, finally sharing a few videos on YouTube at night. Her mom sat silently on the floor while clutching her knees, eyes intently glued to the screen.

One whole hour of anticipation passed. Suddenly, her mom pointed at the screen and spoke for the first time: “I like this kid in the green.”

“The kid in the green” that she was referring to is Gosan’s bassist, Daisuke Masaki, whose fan color is green. Ikuna couldn’t believe it–her mom had already found herself an oshi, or favorite member, to support. Hopefully that would allow her to enjoy the concert even more.

When Ikuna asked her why she had gravitated towards Daisuke, her mother replied, “I like him because he seems to have a modest personality conveyed through his brightness. His face also stands out to me among the other members. I think he might be only half-Japanese” (note: there’s no information out there suggesting that he’s half-Japanese).

With her new oshi in mind, Ikuna’s mother then stayed up late practicing all kinds of choreography to better enjoy the show. Visual kei songs traditionally have a set pattern of movements for the audience to perform while enjoying live concerts, and among visual kei groups, Gosan’s movements are particularly intense and precise.

Of course, Ikuna didn’t expect her mom to master anything in the span of only one night. She was doing a pretty good job though of following along at regular beats. It was entirely surreal for Ikuna to watch her doing this voluntary training after being so opposed to visual kei for most of her life. However, she didn’t want to ask about the sudden change of heart and kill the mood, so she just sat back and cheered her mom on for the time being.

Finally, after a quick night’s rest, the day of the concert arrived. Ikuna headed to the venue by herself earlier in the day so that she could wait in line to buy merch. They’d be standing and moving a lot during the actual performance, so it was better for the 71-year-old to conserve her energy for now at home.

Merchandise sales began at 12:30 p.m. Even though Ikuna headed there a whole hour early, she was greeted by a long and winding line once she got to the venue. She estimated there were about 500 fans already waiting ahead of her. It was an incredible shock, but she was also happy to see so many fellow visual kei supporters.

Once it was finally her turn, she purchased a band T-shirt and Daisuke’s green oshi goods for her mom and headed home.

Her mother was promptly transformed from an ordinary-looking 71-year-old…

…into an edgy, summery-looking cool granny character.

They arrived at the venue together this time at 4:30 p.m. While her mom seemed a little intimidated by the groups of fans waiting around (some of them decked out in visual kei-style fashion), she showed signs of excitement too. She especially seemed to relax after seeing other women around her own age.

The doors opened at 5:30 p.m. All of the seats had already been sold out for this show, so they would have to stand for the duration of the concert in the standing section. Would her mom be OK on her feet for two hours minimum with a cacophony of sounds and lights…?

The performance finally kicked off. It looked like her mom was actually somewhat following along with the rehearsed choreography.

Somewhat shockingly, she even joined in for a headbanging sequence while seated on the floor. Now that’s not a sight you see from a 71-year-old every day.

She seemed to light up when Daisuke moved closer to their area.

All in all, the concert lasted a staggering three and a half hours and was absolutely incredible. The first words out of her mom’s mouth as they exited the venue were “That vocalist [You Midorikawa] was amazing.”

In fact, she praised You so much that Ikuna got the sense that maybe her oshi had changed, but shortly afterwards her mom clarified that Daisuke was still her favorite.

Ikuna decided to ask her mom more about her experience once they had a chance to sit down and grab a bite to eat.

So what did you think of Gosan’s members?

Mom: “That vocalist was really amazing–not only his singing, but also his speaking ability. Even though some of the lyrics were harsh, I could feel his unhidden modesty. As long as the band’s got him, they’ll be secure.

I guess I can only chalk up why I gravitated to Daisuke as personal preference. While all of the other members were asserting themselves at the front of the stage, Daisuke stayed slightly behind and did his own thing with his bass. I guess I’m just the type who wants to support someone like that.”

Ikuna was surprised at how well thought-out her mother’s comments were. She also finally got up the courage to ask why her mom so quickly agreed to go with her to the concert in the first place.

Mom: “It was the first time you ever invited me, so I thought it could be a momentous life experience. I never imagined it would be such hardcore visual kei, but I thought that I had to jump at the chance.”

What if this were 25 years ago?

Mom: “I never would have gone 25 years ago. I wasn’t open to accepting things other than what I personally liked at the time. I started thinking that I should try new things and not miss good opportunities after I turned 60.”

Speaking of which, are there any musical groups that you like?

Mom: “I like Southern All Stars, Kiyoshiro Imawano, and Queen.”

Really?! Her mom actually liked rock bands?! This was shocking news that Ikuna had only learned just now. Because of that, she was burning to know why her mom had so vehemently opposed her daughters’ love for visual kei when they were growing up.

Mom: “Honestly, if you both had been into something like Smap when you were younger, I think I would have let you go to all kinds of concerts and other things. But I had a preconceived notion that visual kei bands were made up of strange, suspicious people who were doing dangerous things.

But after today’s concert, I’ve learned that they’re respectable rock bands who just wear flashy makeup and put on flashy performances. Thinking about it like that, maybe Kiyoshiro or Queen could also be classified as a kind of visual kei. I want to apologize for my narrow view back then in that regard.”

At the sound of her mother apologizing for the first time ever, the around-40-year-old Ikuna could feel the snowdrifts in her heart that had accumulated as a junior high school student suddenly begin to melt. Her mom continued.

Mom: “Now, at this point, I wonder why I was so fixated on interfering with your hobby. I wonder if I just wanted you to like the same things I did without paying attention to how the world was changing. But what Kiyoshiro and Queen were for me, that was what visual kei bands were for the two of you. I’m glad that I went to the concert today and learned that how I acted back then was inexcusable.”

Ikuna felt that both she and her mom had ultimately mellowed out a bit as they got older. Since they seemed to be having a heart-to-heart now, there was something else she felt she needed to bring up–how she swore that she would never forgive her parents for not letting her go to visual kei rock band Luna Sea‘s farewell concert, The Final Act, in the Tokyo Dome before they disbanded in late 2000 (note: Luna Sea actually officially reunited in 2010 and continue to produce music, even announcing their largest-ever scale national tour this year to celebrate their 35th anniversary).

Please share your thoughts on how the trauma inflicted on your daughter of not being allowed to see Luna Sea’s final performance may have possibly led to her being obsessed with Luna Sea for the rest of her life and even warped her personality.

Mom: “Huh, really? Hmm…”

…Is that all?

Mom: “I may not understand that feeling because I’ve never regretted a single thing in life. Therefore, I don’t know if I can think it was bad. Rather, I think it’s good that you’re such an avid lover of visual kei.

In any case, I really enjoyed everything at today’s concert. It’s a precious thing to have moments of fun like this at my age. Other people around my age might realize that life gets easier if they would also adopt an attitude of trying anything and everything.

Gosan will continue to reach more and more people. And I know I’ve said this many times already, but are you sure that Daisuke isn’t half-Japanese?”

With those words, Ikuna’s mom waved goodbye and headed back to Tottori.

This was the first time Ikuna learned that her mom was the type of woman who would declare that she doesn’t have any regrets in life. She also realized that her mother is her own person and she is her own person, and despite being parent and child, there are lots of things that they won’t understand about each other unless they talk it out.

A mother who hated visual kei and a daughter who hated her mother–until just a day ago, it had seemed impossible that two such people would eventually go to a visual kei concert together. Ikuna wishes to express her sincere thanks to Gosan and hopes that they’ll visit Tottori someday. She’d definitely like to go to another one of their concerts with her mom.

By the way, if any readers out there are worried about the state of Ikuna’s mom’s neck after headbanging, please rest assured that it didn’t hurt her at all afterwards. Conversely, it seemed that the slight stretching involved in those movements actually helped with her chronic sciatica. It seems that visual kei concerts have the power to heal in more ways than one.

Related: 0.1g no Gosan official site
All images © SoraNews24
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