It’s taken me just shy of six years’ worth of spare time to complete this by myself. Not that I spent every moment of my spare time doing this, but still. I never would have guessed the circumstances under which I would finally finish though! So if you’re quarantined and/or in lockdown, now’s as good a time as any to read a fan translation of a nearly 300-page book about early aughts Gackt. If you want to start from the beginning, here is the Table of Contents.
Thank you to all the readers and those who have left comments over the years. If you found this blog, you are one of the elite few. (^o^) Though I started this as something for myself and knew I would finish it regardless of whether anyone read it or not, knowing there were people reading it motivated me to keep going even when I didn’t quite feel like it. So thanks again, and enjoy!
Afterword: The Moon and Hours Behind the MOON PROJECT
Let’s try to rewind it all back.
Looking back, from the time I met him, Gackt would often speak with expressions evoking the moon, which sometimes bewildered me. This happened frequently even in the course of simple, daily conversations.
“I can’t shine on my own, because I’m an inhabitant of the dark side of the moon.”1
He would often let slip this type of thing, smiling, in the breaks during an interview or within a regular conversation. Actually, he usually wears sunglasses, and it’s widely known among fans that he often talks about how bright it is.
Every time I’d hear something like that, I’d think, “What strange things he says,” and this mysterious feeling I had toward him would grow. But now, having experienced the MOON PROJECT and having written this book, it’s like I can see that the fateful thing at the core of those conversations had a ring of truth to it, so much so that I would think, “Maybe he really is from the moon?”
Now that the MOON PROJECT is done, things like how he used to say “I wanna become the sun” and how he was singing from the perspective of a vampire who had to stay out of the light, don’t seem like fiction at all. Surely many people have seen his expression which truly brings to mind a vampire starved for blood, and it’s not something that comes out solely on stage. There were many instances where you ended up getting that vibe from him.
There would be no end to a discussion on the magical power of the moon to affect nature and humans. But the “lunar effect” had such strong sway over Gackt that one couldn’t help but think he must be an envoy from that world.
“No way! What kind of occult nonsense are you talking about?”
And that’s how he’d handle that.
Perhaps it was the kind of mythological, allegorical elements in Gackt’s work up till now that made a deep impression on me.
That stories like myths, fables, and fairy tales are passed down and retold from generation to generation, all over the world, is proof that humanity is capable of suspending disbelief.2 For example, no one reads Greek mythology and says “That’s impossible!” They can accept it as a world within itself because humans have the ability deep inside to suspend disbelief. The basis for these stories’ universal appeal lies there; they’re born as a kind of intellectual play.
Gackt is an inhabitant of and envoy from that world within universal stories, and this time, he has come down to pass on to us the tale of MOON. Surely he makes such imagery come to mind, too.
For example, MARS is the tale of one man declaring his resolve to take on the fate imposed on him by the gods, namely, to fight. I interpret Rebirth as being rooted in the wishes of men who ultimately died in battle to be born again. In either case, these are stories that make you feel a mythic magnificence; it can certainly be said that at the point when he made both of them, before MOON, there were already elements that hinted at Gackt’s relationship with the moon. Another thing those two albums had in common was the pain, sadness, and fleetingness of those who bear a different destiny from regular people.
Those who bear a different destiny from regular people… Vampires, for example, or someone who acquired mysterious powers after nearly drowning in the Okinawan sea in a childhood accident. What’s more, if you try to recall what he’s like up on any stage, you can probably see precisely what it is that he is carrying because of destiny.
As has been said in interviews, Gackt has to stand on stage and express, all by himself, the inner workings and backgrounds of each character in his stories. As we watch his soul-shaking performances, we can see for ourselves how he moves as if he has been possessed by the very characters themselves. It’s as if the person we’re seeing isn’t an ordinary person at all.
The first character, 憑, in this word 憑依 (hyōi) meaning “possession,” can also be used in 憑き which is read as “tsuki.” It has been frequently used in Japan since long, long ago in the phrase “tsukimono ga tsuita” meaning “possessed by a spirit/demon/etc” to describe someone who is acting crazy.
When Gackt loses control and moves about wildly onstage, he can aptly be described as possessed. It’s not a pun or anything, but one theory holds that the word for moon (月 read tsuki) comes from this tsuki of possession, 憑き. That being the case, why is he possessed by the moon, guided to it, drawn in by it, to the extent he seems to have come from it?3
Just as animals often behave incomprehensibly before and after the new moon, it’s easy to believe that the moon’s power also exerts an influence over humans, making their emotions uncontrollable, their blood rush, their spirit tremble; sometimes they even let themselves get carried away by a crazy impulse. The human mind, thus broken by the moon’s magical power, becomes unable to control any of the senses or understand the concept of time. In that state, people can go inside their minds, reversing the flow of time, taking a trip through their own existence.
With that in mind, I’ll look back on everything expressed in the MOON PROJECT.
Many of the songs on the album MOON were overflowing with a great sense of past loss and the desire to go back in time and make up for those losses. In “Tsuki no Uta,” which was released later, there is a remarkable representation of coming face to face with your past self. The worlds Gackt creates always have some kind of similar element about fighting against time, or one’s relationship with time. It’s fresh in my memory that Gackt had previously said “I don’t have much time left.” There were also several times when I’d hear him say some mysterious things, as recorded in this book’s Kagen no Tsuki chapter, in the last paragraph of the Utsunomiya stop, when he said, “I’ll only be able to eat x more meals…”
In other words, he is, as an envoy of the moon, or rather, of a different world, someone who hasn’t been given much time on this earth, and who must always exist as something different from regular people. That’s where his sense that time is precious and fleeting comes from.
However, having followed the MOON PROJECT, you can probably sense the change in his feelings from the time of MARS or Rebirth, right?
Within everything expressed in both the tale of MOON and the MOON PROJECT, without a doubt, the concepts of friendship and family are treated with special tenderness, and are brought up a great deal.
Up till now, in MARS or Rebirth, what supported Gackt’s artistic expression was “the destiny he must bear.” We could see ourselves reflected in him as he searched for the love and kindness that his destiny denied him, and had come to feel real that way. Then we got to the MOON PROJECT, and we could clearly sense the change; now he was being supported by friendship, family, and the spirit of chivalry.
What really zoomed in on this change of heart was the movie MOON CHILD. Through the MOON PROJECT, Gackt’s destiny came into harmony with this attitude toward life, giving birth to a new, sublime expression.
People had always been afraid of Gackt, seeing him as something different from a regular person. But by having precious friends and family, he became able to shine as brightly as the sun, even if only for a moment. Even if the act of going against destiny is also fleeting, and painful…
Looking only at the facts, he is supported by the wonderful family and friends that are Gackt Job, the dancers, and his staff. At the same time, I think his thoughts and feelings are pouring out from every page of this book. I’ve written this all while keeping in mind that he’s sometimes subjective, sometimes objective, passionate but also cool. If I were to use this space to write something more afterword-ish, it would be to say that I want people to take from these pages Gackt’s desire for people to feel his “thoughts toward precious people.” This is first and foremost what I want to say to everyone. And I want to emphasize that those “thoughts toward precious people” are going toward a great presence: you, the beloved readers who continue to support him.
It dawned on me recently that since starting to write this book, when I’m walking down the street at night, I often, yet unintentionally, end up staring at the moon. Changing from day to day and moment to moment, it truly does show a variety of expressions. For example, sometimes its color appears to be ominously red; sometimes it shines brightly; at other times still it seems to be fleeting, filled with weakness, pallid… Just like many of Gackt’s songs, the moon transforms with rich variety.
The moon is real-life art. A real-life myth. Pulling into the same field concrete art and abstract myth, moving people deeply with a great range of expressive mediums, MOON and the MOON PROJECT are an incomparable collection of sublime works that will surely keep on shining brighter than the moon and more bravely than the sun.
Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who put a great deal of effort into the publication of this book, starting with Editor-in-Chief Hirota, all of the editing staff, and the photographer Mr. Tsukagoshi.
I’m also deeply grateful to the staff at each venue of the live tours, who treated me well and helped me gather material as I covered the shows. Thanks to Mr. Asano, Mr. Katō, Mr. Togashi, Mr. Uchida, Mr. Takeuchi, Mr. Kamei, Mr. Okumura, Ms. Usui, everyone working on set design & construction, sound and light engineers, and roadies; all the hair & make-up artists starting with Ms. Kotake and Mr. Okukawa; the costuming department starting with Monkey; Shinnosuke Furumoto; all the security & bodyguards… My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Terakado and everyone at Nippon Crown.
Thanks to Mr. Fushiki from IF, everyone from Matsutake, MOON CHILD Film Partners, HYDE, Wan Lee Hom, and all the other actors. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Mr. Hasegawa, Ms. Ikegami, Ryōta, everyone at the talent agency, and the fan club staff.4
And of course, there’s Gackt Job, the dancers, and Kanata Hongō. I could never fully express my gratitude, nor how deeply I pray for your continued success. Please keep putting on many, many wonderful shows.
Last but not least, I send the greatest thank-you ever out to that leader of the Moon’s disciples, Gackt.
Your earnest, enthralling activities will continue, and I hope I can continue the work of documenting them from beginning to end, down to the last detail, for the fans. Thank you very much.
February 27, 2004, early morning
1. The English words “Darkside inhabitants” were later used within the mythos of Diabolos, and as the name for a collection of jewelry Gackt wore by four different Japanese designers. Each designer’s part of this collection was called “Darts of [insert designer’s name]”. When I lived in Japan, I was fortunate enough to have access to two jewelry shops in my area that sold one of these designers’ works, namely those from the GIGOR brand. ⤴
2. I may be taking some liberties with this. What I translated as “suspending disbelief” was 「世界観を許容している」which would translate literally to “allowing [that] world view.” I think that sounds weird. I’m pretty sure that ultimately though, this section is about the suspension of disbelief. ⤴
3. First, I couldn’t find any academic source for the claim that the word for moon “tsuki” comes from the “tsuki” meaning “possession.” That said, what online sources I could find both said there are various explanations and the exact origins of this word are unknown. One theory both sources (here and here) gave was that “tsuki” sounds like “tsugi” meaning “next”; the moon is next in brightness after the sun.
Second, I don’t know if I’ve misunderstood the words, because I don’t understand what Hirose means by saying, to paraphrase, “if it’s the case that ‘moon’ comes from ‘possession’ then why is Gackt possessed by the moon?” If it’s true that “moon” comes from “possession,” then doesn’t it make sense that the moon possesses people?⤴
4. As Japanese names can be pronounced in different ways, and as I don’t have the DVDs for neither Kagen no Tsuki nor Jōgen no Tsuki (which probably include credits written in alphabets), I may have the readings of some of these names wrong. I used the credits from the Requiem et Réminiscence DVD as reference as a lot of the personnel did stay the same. What I’ve romanized as Togashi was 富樫; 亀井 can be Kamei or Kameto; likewise 臼井 can be Usui or Usuto; and 伏木 can be Fushiki or Fuki or several other things. As for the prefixes, I could be wrong on some of those too. Hirose used the honorific suffix 氏 (pronounced “shi”) with most of the names; this honorific is usually used for men, so I translated it to “Mr.”. The more familiar (to English speakers) honorific suffix -san, in contrast, can be used for any gender. Hirose seems to have consistently used -san for the women, with the exception of the stylist Okukawa, whose first name is given as the male name Tetsuya in the RR DVD credits. ⤴