1994–98: First musical efforts and Malice Mizer
In the early 1990s, he stopped playing drums, studio band activities went blank for a while, and found himself working multiple jobs at once, among them as a sound technician at the studio. When was in his early twenties, in a music livehouse event he met a guitarist You Kurosaki, his future solo career support guitarist, and they formed the band Cains:Feel (with biblical reference to the story of Cain and Abel). Because of the mediocre acquaintances at the moment Gackt became the frontman, and the band went to record a demo tape.
In the upcoming year he was introduced to the visual kei band Malice Mizer which was on hiatus due to lack of a vocalist. Gackt moved to Tokyo, and joined them in October 1995. He was the singer-lyricist, pianist, and contributed only two, but band’s cult songs, “Regret” and “Le Ciel”. With him, the band’s fame soared, and at their peak, after four years and two studio albums, in January 1999 was announced that he left the band. According to his autobiography, the members differences, obsession, sudden income of money, and his isolation from the band, have led to his departure.
1999–2001: Solo debut, Mizérable, Mars, and Rebirth
Gackt launched his solo career on January 1, 1999. After having completed his recordings, his first gig as a solo artist was the 99 Gackt Resurrection tour held in 12 locations across Japan. It was followed on May 12 with his debut release,extended play Mizérable. The album peaked at number 2, spending 12 weeks on the Oricon charts. It was certified gold, for shipment of over two hundred thousand copies, by the RIAJ. It spanned the same titled single “Mizérable”, which peaked at number 3, spending 9 weeks on the charts. In July he performed at Shock Wave Illusion in Osaka and Tokyo. On August 11, was released his second single “Vanilla”. It peaked at number 4, spent 10 weeks on the charts, and enjoyed considerable success. It was certified gold by RIAJ.
In 2000, on February 9 and 16 were released third and fourth single, “Mirror” and “Oasis”. They peaked at number 9 and 7, and both spent 6 weeks on the charts. On March 8 was released his fifth single Seki-Ray, which peaked at number 7, charting for 6 weeks. In the year’s beginning GACKT was joined by a support guitarist and associate producer Chachamaru, and for Caparison Guitars has designed two guitars named “Marcury” and “Venus”, which he occasionally uses in his live performances. On April 26, was released his first full-length studio album, Mars. It peaked at number 3, and spent only 5 weeks on the charts, but was certified gold by RIAJ. The following day went on a nationwide tour Mars Sora Kara no Homonsha -Kaisō-, which included 16 concerts, and on July 1 performed the final concert at Yokohama Arena. On August 30, was released the sixth single “Saikai (Story)”, which peaked at number 7, spending 6 weeks on the charts. On November 16, was released the seventh single “Secret Garden”, which reached number 10, and charted for 5 weeks. On December 16, was released the first in the series of Platinum Boxes.
In 2001, on March 14 was released his eighth single, “Kimi no Tame ni Dekiru Koto“. It peaked at number 6, and charted for 18 weeks, which was Gackt’s record until 2009. On April 25, was released the second studio album, Rebirth. It is Gackt’s first concept album, conceived around the fictional narrative during the time of World War II, named “Requiem et Reminiscence”. The album includes previously released singles “Seki-Ray” and “Secret Garden”. It peaked at number 3, spent 21 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On May 3, went on the Requiem et Reminiscence tour, which included 18 concert in fourteen venues. The final concert was held on June 23, at the Yokohama Arena. On September 5, was released his ninth single, “Another World“. It was GACKT’s first single to reach number two spot on the charts, spent 17 weeks on them, and managed to sell over two hundred and fifty thousand copies, being his best selling single. It was certified gold by RIAJ. After discovering the events of September 11th, 2001 in New York, GACKT wrote a song for a world peace. It was released that December as a single “Jūnigatsu no Love Song“. It peaked at number 5, and charted for 9 weeks. From 2001 to 2004, the single was recorded in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese, all released before Christmas.
2002–03: Moon, the film Moon Child, and Crescent
In the second half of 2001, during the release of “Another World”, Gackt started his second concept, project “Moon”. In 2002, on April 24, was released his eleventh single “Wasurenai Kara”. It peaked at number 4, spending 5 weeks on the charts. On June 6 went on the nationwide live house tour, on which represented his new concept, and included 9 concerts in eight venues. The final concert was held on July 10, at Zepp Sendai. On June 16, was released the third studio concept album Moon. It is GACKT’s best selling album, it reached number two on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On September 22, at the Beijing Worker’s Gymnasium, in China, was held large musical event “China-Japan: Holding Hands, Moving Together” as part of “Japan-China Diplomatic Relations Normalization 30th Anniversary Commemoration”, and GACKT was among handful who represented his homeland. On October 14 continued the concept with the nationwide tour Kagen no Tsuki (下弦の月, The Waning Moon), which included 22 concerts fifteen venues. The final concert was held on December 24, at the Yokohama Arena.
In 2003, GACKT worked on his film Moon Child. He wrote the script, and did own action scenes on location in Taiwan. In collaboration with co-star Hyde, he also sang the film’s theme song “Orange no Taiyō” (オレンジの太陽 Orenji no Taiyō, “The Orange Sun”). Film was released on April 19 in Japan, and screened on May 13 at the Cannes Film Festival and on April 12, 2004 at Philadelphia Film Festival. On March 19 was released his thirteenth single “Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume”, which is the second of five to reach number two on the charts, spending 10 weeks on them. It was certified gold by RIAJ. On May 5 was launched the nationwide tour Jōgen no Tsuki (上弦の月, The Waxing Moon), continuing the concept of the previous one, and included 13 concerts in eight venues. On June 11, was released the fourteenth single “Tsuki no Uta”, which peaked at number 3, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On July 6, was held the final concert of the tour at the Yokohama Arena. On September 27, he performed as a special guest at the TV Asahi 45 anniversary commemorative “Kingdom Rock Show”. On October 2, Gackt performed the John Lennon’s song “Love” at the “Dream Power: John Lennon Super Live” concert organized by Yoko Ono in Saitama Super Arena. On September 26 was released GACKT’s autobiography Confession (自白 Jihaku). Besides the film and musical recordings for the project, in October was published a novel Moon Child Requiem (Moon Child 鎮魂歌). On November 12, was released his sixteenth single “Last Song”, which peaked at number 5, spent 13 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On December 3, was released the fourth studio concept album Crescent. It peaked at number 5, spent 11 weeks on the charts, and was certified platinum by RIAJ. On New Year’s Eve, he performed for the first time at the annual music show, 54th Kōhaku Uta Gassen.
2004–05: The Sixth Day and The Seventh Night, Love Letter, Diabolos
In 2004, on February 25 was released his first compilation album The Sixth Day: Single Collection, which was a collection of the singer’s previous singles title songs, of some being re-recorded. It peaked at number 3, spent 23 weeks on the charts, which is his record, and was certified platinum by RIAJ. On April 29, went on the nationwide tour The Sixth Day & Seventh Night, which included 15 concerts in eight venues. On May 26, was released another compilation album The Seventh Night: Unplugged, containing the acoustic arrangements of previously released songs. It peaked at number 5, spent 8 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On July 4, was held the final concert of the tour at the Yokohama Arena. On October 27, was released the eighteenth single “Kimi ni Aitakute”, It peaked at number 2, spent 17 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On December 4, he appeared and performed at the M.net/Km Music Video Festival, where received the award for “Best Asian Rock Artist”.
In 2005, with the release of his previous single and the twentieth single “Arittake no Ai de” on January 26, which peaked at number 7, the unplugged theme was continued in the release of his fifth studio album Love Letter on Valentine’s Day. It peaked at number 5, spent 13 weeks on the charts, certified gold by RIAJ, and was re-recorded in Korean and released on June 16 for the Korean market. With the release of his twenty-first single “Black Stone” on April 27, GACKT switched to a more alternative rock style. The single peaked at number 3, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On May 25 followed the twenty-second single “Metamorphoze”, which was used in a Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam movie. It his fourth single to reach number two, spent 13 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On August 10, was released the twenty-third single “Todokanai Ai to Shitteita no ni Osaekirezu ni Aishitsuzuketa…”. It peaked at number 3, and was certified gold by RIAJ. On September 21, was released his sixth studio album Diabolos. Conceptually, it was a prequel entrant to the previous “Moon” albums. It reached number 4 on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ, his last album to achieve this. GACKT went on a, at the time, his longest nationwide tour Diabolos ~Aien no Shi~, with 36 concerts across Japan, which ended with a final New Year’s Eve spectacle at the Tokyo Dome, in front of more than forty-two thousand people.
2006–07: First solo tours in Asia, Fūrin Kazan and S.K.I.N.
In 2006, he continued his tour with a concert on January 14, in Korea, at Fencing Stadium in Korean Olympic Park, which was his first Asian solo concert. In the same month was released the twenty-fourth single “Redemption”, which included theme songs of Square Enix game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. On February 28, he appeared to promise he gave at the graduation of the Maiko High School in Hyōgo Prefecture. Besides the words of encouragement, he performed live an unreleased song especially written for the graduation. It was released the following year on February 7, as “No ni Saku Hana no Yō ni”. Since then he appeared in several graduation ceremonies.
In August, at an Otakon conference, it was publicly announced that he would form a band, S.K.I.N, with famous metal band X Japan co-founder Yoshiki. Although there were high expectations for the group, since their debut performance on June 29, 2007 at the Anime Expo in Long Beach, California, no further activities were announced. On December 24, he went on a small nationwide fanclub tour “D.r.u.g. Party”, which was also continued with four concerts in Korea and Taiwan.
In 2007, in January he played the warlord Uesugi Kenshin in the NHK Taiga drama Fūrin Kazan. On June 20, was released his twenty-seventh single “Returner (Yami no Shūen)”, and was the first in his career (both solo and in a band) to reach the number one spot on the Oricon charts. On August 23, Gackt was invited to perform his Fūrin Kazan television role at Jōetsu city’s traditional 82nd Kenshin Festival, with approximate 203,000 visitors. In October he held a press conference at the Apple Store in Ginza, Tokyo, where besides advertised the first iPhone, announced to have his entire back catalog, with new previous tour live song recordings, put up on the iTunes Store, as well that his “The Greatest Filmography” would be released on October 9 in the United States and Canada, while his album Diabolos on October 26in eighteen European countries. On November 17 and 27, he performed at M.net/Km Music Video Festival in Korea as the special guest star, and appeared and performed at the “2007 Japan-China Cultural Exchange Grand Concert Final” in Beijing. In Beijing he sang “Jūnigatsu no Love Song” in Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin. On December 10, he appeared at the China Fashion Awards in Beijing, where was given the award “Japanese Artist of the Year”. On December 19, was released a compilation album 0079–0088, including songs used in the Gundam franchise. GACKT also performed on the 58th Kōhaku Uta Gassen.
The year 2007 also saw the creation of the “Save our Dears” charity to help the victims of the powerful Chūetsu offshore earthquake that struck the Niigata Prefecture.To raise funds for this charity, GACKT designed a keychain and bracelets, in addition, the charity also featured two Orico UPty MasterCard credit cards. Gackt’s fanclub Dears, raised ¥2,000,000 (US$26,041) which GACKT donated to the Jōetsu at the 83rd Kenshin Festival in 2008.
2008–09: Requiem et Reminiscence II tour and Re:Born
In 2008, on December 3 was released his twenty-eighth single “Jesus”, his first single release in over a year. It peaked at number 7, spending 10 weeks on the charts. On December 14, GACKT went on his longest nationwide tour Requiem et Reminiscence II -Saisei to Kaikō- (Requiem et Reminiscence II -再生と邂逅-, -Rebirth and Reunion-), which included over 60 concerts in more than forty-five cities. In 2009, on January 28 was released his twenty-ninth single “Ghost”, which peaked at number 6 on the charts. On May 18, GACKT was scheduled to perform a concert in South Korea at Seoul’s Olympic Hall, but due to the effects of the global recession the sponsors of the concert withdrew their support. In commemoration to his 10th anniversary as a solo artist, were released four singles, “Koakuma Heaven”, “Faraway”, “Lost Angels”, and “Flower”, a week after one another starting from June 17, and ending on July 1. They all managed to enter the top ten on the charts. On June 13, began the arena part of the tour, and on July 4 was held a fanclub concert to celebreate his birthday at the Yoyogi National Stadium. On July 11 and 12 were held the final concerts at the Saitama Super Arena.
As both GACKT and the Kamen Rider Series’ Heisei period run had its 10th anniversary, he became involved in the 2009 edition of the franchise Kamen Rider Decade to perform its theme songs. These are the first singles that were not written by him, and were released by Avex Trax and Avex Entertainment. In March was released his thirtieth single and the series’ opening theme “Journey Through the Decade”, which peaked at number 2, spent 25 weeks on the charts, and was certified gold by RIAJ. In August was released the second theme single for the Kamen Rider Decade film All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, “The Next Decade”. It peaked at number 4, and spent 9 weeks on the charts.He also appeared in the film as Decade‘s iteration of the character Jōji Yūki. The collaboration finished in January with the release of the final single “Stay the Ride Alive”, which charted the same as previous one.
In September, he performed as a representative of Japan at the Asia Song Festival in Korea. He also participated in the 2009 Animelo Summer Live concert. In October performed as the main artist at the “Wow Live! Thanks For Music” show held in Yoyogi National Gymnasium, in Japan. On December 2, was released his seventh studio album Re:Born, which continued the story he had originally created in 2001. It reached number nine on the charts, and compared to previous albums wasn’t commercially successful. On December 12, he held a fanclub cover concert conceptualized around fictional school, at the Saitama Super Arena.
2010–11: The Eleventh Day, and move to Avex Group
In 2010, on February 14, GACKT participated as a representative of Japan at the Asia Pops Festival held in Niigata, in homage for the victims of 2007 Chūetsu earthquake. On March 6 and 7, he performed the theme songs in the festival organized by Koei to promote their new Wii game Samurai Warriors 3 at the Saitama Super Arena. On April 17, he officially announced that he transferred from Nippon Crown to Avex Group’s recording conglomerate. On May 14, began the theatre stage play of Nemuri Kyoshiro Buraihikae at Nissei Theatre, in which GACKT starred as the main actor. The show ran for 120 performances in seven cities until February 27, 2011, with estimated 150,000 spectators.
Prior to the transfer announcement to Avex, separately from his solo career was organized a band “Yellow Fried Chickenz”, which name refers to human cowardice. Besides the nationwide tour in June and August, from July 16, he made his first appearance touring Europe, performing at clubs in London, Paris, Barcelona, Munich, and Bochum. On July 21, was released the compilation album The Eleventh Day: Single Collection, which was a collection of the singer’s singles from the second half of his tenure with the label. On August 23, he participated in the 85th Kenshin Festival for the third time, with event record attendance of more than 240,000 visitors. On December 14, he participated and performed in a Hohoemi project charity event called “Message! to Asia”, by DATV at Tokyo Dome, whose profit was planned to help street children in Cambodia and the Philippines. For an auction at the event, he auctioned his custom 1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am MS6, which got sold for ¥6,015,000 (US$72,033).
In 2011, because of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, GACKT founded the “Show Your Heart” charity for collecting money to buy supplies for the victims. In March, a truck convoy with 72,000 lb (33,000 kg) of food and clothes was delivered and he held a nationwide street corner fund-raising campaign, which collected ¥25,234,490 (or US$320,193). All money collected through bank transfers and street fundraising activities was transferred to the Japanese Red Cross, totalling ¥208,181,735 (US$2,641,564). In July and August, the band toured Europe for the second time, and later toured across Japan. The Japanese part of tour revenue was donated to the Japanese Red Cross. A year later on July 4, at the concert in Nippon Budokan the band was disbanded. On August 22, he participated at the 86th Kenshin Festival for the fourth time.
2012–13: Moon Saga and the Best of the Best tour
In 2012, GACKT announced a plan to continue the concept of “Moon” with a stage theatre performance on July 15, at Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo. The final two shows were on September 26 and October 2, in Tokyo. On March 18 and 19, Gackt appeared at the Gala party for FilmAid Asia,and 6th Asian Film Awards, where he also performed, as part of Hong Kong International Film Festival in Hong Kong. On March 29, Gackt performed the national anthemKimigayo at the Major League Baseball season opening game in Tokyo Dome. It was his fourth time performing the national anthem. On December 15, performed on the 45 anniversary concert of All Night Nippon, at the Yoyogi National Stadium. In the same month, on December 19was released his forty-third single, “White Lovers (Shiawase na Toki)”.
In 2013 was announced his first national tour in four years, Best of the Best Vol. I, which started on May 11, and ended with three consecutive shows on July 7 at the Yokohama Arena. On August 22, he participated at the 88th Kenshin Festival for the fifth time. On December 26, was held a special live concert where Gackt performed along the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.