“Can’t sleep the day before. ‘Oh no. I think about all sorts of things, like if I make a mistake here, it would be incredibly bad timing. It’s so uncomfortable. Even after the recording was over, I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited.”

GACKT (49), who says so, was given an individual rating of 71 in the New Year variety programme “Celebrity Ratings Check!” In September 2021, he announced an indefinite leave of absence due to ill health and suspended filming of the sequel to the film Tonde Saitama. His doctor announced that he was suffering from generalised dermatitis, alopecia and reduced vocal cord function due to a lowered immune system caused by a nervous system disorder.

“When it was at its worst, I couldn’t speak at all. Not only could I not pronounce well, but I couldn’t speak well, and what I was thinking about didn’t translate well into words. I had concomitant dysphonia.

Then there was hair loss. When I was taking a shower, I looked at my fingers and saw a tremendous amount of hair between them. At first I didn’t realise it was my hair and thought it had fallen from the ceiling. I thought, “What the hell is this?” I thought. When I washed it off and put my fingers in my hair, a lot of hair fell out again in the same way. Even after I showered, when I shook my hair, the hair would fall to the floor in a big cloud. When I saw that, I honestly thought, ‘Oh, it’s over. It’s not so tough to be out in the public eye now, is it?’

Then the symptoms started to appear on my skin, which became cracked, red and chapped like an elephant. My body and mind were in shambles.

So, although I had prepared to die many times in the past, this was the first time I wrote a last will. I don’t have that kind of personality by nature. But there are people who followed me, including people from my company. I felt I had to leave something behind for them, so I wrote a letter. I wrote a letter for each person involved.

I also wrote about money. I wrote letters saying that everyone would have trouble making a living, so I wrote letters asking them to divide the money in this way. I found it somewhat amusing that I was doing that. I thought, “Well, I’m getting old. I was thinking about how to draw the curtain on my life back in Malaysia from Europe.

■ I don’t want to be on TV. I basically turn down offers.

Stem cell therapy using his own cells was successful, and filming of the sequel to Tondede Saitama resumed in mid-October 2022. He restarted his activities in earnest.

“I’m back towards full recovery now. I finally feel like I’m about 80% back. I have some photos from when it was bad. Looking back now, I’m amazed that I’ve come this far.

People are making a lot of noise about ‘Ratings’, but the only reason to continue the show is Hamada-san. If Hamada-san said he didn’t need me, I would just quit. He is my most important benefactor.

I don’t want to be on TV. Basically, I refuse offers. I don’t think it’s worth the pay. But I respect Mr Hamada because he has been my benefactor in the entertainment industry for 20 years. If Mr Hamada says to me, ‘Gaku-chan, I want to be in the show’, I have only one reply.

I only appear in ‘Ratings’ once a year. Hamada-san doesn’t ask me to appear every time, because he values GACKT’s very existence. He thinks that I’m a professional and that I shouldn’t sell myself short, and in that sense, I respect him. In private, I do meet Hamada-san for birthday parties and so on. I mean, I’m scared. I’m scared or nervous. It’s not easy to be scared of people at my age. I’m intimidated by them, including their humanity, and their leadership presence is amazing. I love and respect them, but I still think they’re scary or smart. I’m learning that you have to be this good to make a name for yourself in this industry.”

What does GACKT keep in mind when rating people?

Of course, I don’t guess by chance. It’s not a hunch. But there are some things I don’t understand, like bonsai trees (laughs). But due to the nature of the programme, I try to answer with a lot of confidence. There are two of us on the show, but there are times when I’m wrong on a question for another performer. There have been times when the other performer guessed the question and I thought, ‘Oh, thank goodness’.

The problems I’m good at are in film, directing, entertainment, music, dance, I have an advantage in those. In music, I’m sorry to say this, but there are problems at a level that I think actors wouldn’t understand! I don’t know how actors can understand music. But I don’t understand bonsai either (laughs).”

■The price of value is determined by the rich, not by the majority of values.

‘To begin with, I started going on ‘Ratings’ with the feeling that there was no point in getting it wrong. But as we started winning again and again, people started to expect things on their own. People started to make a fuss about it on their own. I think, ‘Give me a break’. About four years ago, I went to a hairdresser and found an alopecia areata the size of a 500-yen coin. I took a photo of it. I was shocked, but I laughed. I was going to cut my hair short, but I couldn’t anymore (laughs).

I guess he also felt responsible for the winning streak. After the bonsai problem, the bonsai association sent me a lot of material. So I studied while looking at that. You usually study what you like, don’t you? I don’t know if it’s right to say this, but I’m just a nerd. An addictive nerd.

This time, the problem of guessing a one million yen wine was very difficult. There was no wine brand. Usually there is a brand name, like Lafite Rothschild or Mouton, and what year it is. And then you compare the taste of a wine worth 5,000 yen whose brand name you don’t know, but this time there were no clues. In other words, no hints. Strange, isn’t it? It’s a sommelier’s test. This is the question that took me the longest to answer so far. I’ve loved wine since I was 24-25 years old, so I drink a lot with my entrepreneurial friends. I can easily tell if it’s a Burgundy or a Bordeaux by looking at the colour, so I know it’s a Bordeaux. Then I drink it and think about the price. Two years ago it was 700,000 because of the weak yen, and now it’s 1 million, which means it’s not a vintage.

Well, this time I only had two options, Merlot or Sauvignon. I was lucky because it was a wine I drink a lot. Well, but it’s difficult. Most people would probably think it was a Sauvignon. With Merlot, the only brand you can predict is Nicoichi, so it was like I got the brand right too. Afterwards, Mr Hamada told me, ‘You guessed too much. He said to me, ‘You guess too much, he’s trying so hard to get you to miss’ (laughs).

There are various ways to put the price of value, and of course it’s not delicious, but rarity, branding, equipment and how to make it, and capital investment are also valuable. The price is not determined by the values of the majority of the world, but the value is determined by some rich people. So it gets higher. People who don’t know it say, “Why is this so expensive!” it’s wrong.

I will stop “rating” if they remove it. Perhaps”

Source: jisin.jp

Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA