Solo artist GACKT has returned from an indefinite hiatus. Mezamashi 8 has conducted an exclusive interview with him for the first time since his return. What is the truth behind his eight-month-long recuperation?

Almost eight months after an indefinite period of recuperation… First exclusive interview since his return.

GACKT is a solo artist who boasts immense popularity not only in Japan but also abroad, and is active in a wide range of fields as an “expressive artist”, such as his brilliant performance of a unique role as the lead in the film “Tonde Saitama”, released in 2019. He is active in a wide range of fields as an “expressive person”.
However, he announced that he had “developed a serious, life-threatening illness”, suspended all performing activities and entered an indefinite period of recuperation.

GACKT Office announcement (September 2021):.
A neurological disorder from childhood led to a temporary life-threatening condition. I suffered from a severe speech impediment and my doctor has decided that I cannot continue with voice work at this stage.

About eight months later, in May 2022, GACKT announced that he would resume his activities within the year. How did he overcome his illness?
In his first exclusive interview since his return, announcer Daisei Kurata asked.

Hard filming of a movie: ‘It’s fun to be on set with a sense of tension’.

As soon as they entered the room, Anna Kurata and GACKT shook hands firmly. When Ana Kurata greeted him with “Nice to meet you… GACKT-sama”, he smiled and said, “I’m kind of scared of your reaction”.

Announcer Kurata:
On his return to filming the movie. It’s a sequel to the film, and you’re in between takes today, so you’re dressed in the cape of Asami Rei (played by GACKT in the sequel to the film Tonde Saitama). Are there any physical challenges in doing this?

Filming the film itself is hard, but it’s fun though. It’s very nerve-wracking, and I love tense scenes. It’s not often that I feel this much tension in my daily life, so I feel happy to be able to be part of such a scene.

Announcer Kurata:
What about your physical condition?

Well, everyone gets sick. Big or small. But the important thing is not to be depressed when that happens, but how you can clear it up and make yourself able to walk around with a smile on your face.

“I hate training.” “I don’t want to get back to where I was, I want to get better.”

A period during which he disappeared from the public eye and continued to deal with his illness. During his first event appearance after his return, GACKT said of his situation at the time, “My hair was falling out and my skin was like an elephant”. The effects of the illness also affected his well-trained body.

I started training too, and then I started back and increased it a little bit. I couldn’t do weight training for a long time. In the last three months or so, I’ve started weight training again. It’s tough, isn’t it?
Some people might think I like exercise or training, but I hate it. I really hate it. I don’t want to train, but if I don’t, my body doesn’t work the way I want it to, so I have to do it.

I don’t like the feeling of ‘putting it back in’. You have to be aware that you have to “raise” yourself up to get back to where you were. I think the correct way to put it is that you always aim for the top, and as a result, you go back to your original state.

“It’s not about ‘getting back to normal’, but ‘going higher’.”

GACKT says he overcame his illness by inspiring himself. These efforts have also been made in his battle against “dysphonia”, which led to the decision to suspend his activities…

Well, I didn’t have a voice for a long time. I started with vocal training, and I started to get my voice out, and after about six months I realised that it was getting better.
It was a steady training, so I was thinking a lot of things like, “Is this really going to be enough?”, but little by little you realise that you’re getting better. When you get better, you realise that you’re getting better. It’s interesting. I’m more than happy to know that even at my age I’m still growing.
I think I practised more during this period than at any other time in my life.

GACKT overcame his illness through steady efforts. However, there were also some unexpected true feelings.

Unexpected true feelings: ‘I’d rather stay in the kotatsu and eat tangerines.’

The work itself is hard, painful and tiring… I don’t enjoy it. I’m the type of person who just wants to sit in the kotatsu and eat tangerines.
But I always imagine it. I imagine myself on stage, or after I sing in front of my fans, and I wonder what they will look like when they listen to me. It’s like that imagination gives me a boost.
I think the reason I can work at a fun level is because I don’t push myself too hard. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it if I did it in a normal way.

‘We defy expectations and live up to them to a great extent’

Announcer Kurata:
I think there are many people who are not strong enough and give up without having experienced success.

You look weak.

Announcer Kurata:
Yes… very weak…

Would you like to run with me?

Announcer Kurata:
Maybe I need to be trained from scratch.

You’ll die.
You’ll die.

Announcer Kurata:
Not to the point of death…

After a period of inactivity, GACKT has made a fresh start, and his first nationwide tour since his return, LAST SONGS 2023 feat. K, will be held in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka in March 2023.

I will betray expectations and meet exceeding expectations in a big way. That’s the kind of GACKT I’m going to be. Please look forward to it.

(Mezamashi 8, broadcast 2 November)

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Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA