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Translations of DAZZLE vol. 1 Mana Interview October 6, 2012

Original Article Scans
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First page Introduction translation:

Mana
The Noble Principals of Royalty

From MALICE MIZER to Moi dix Mois, for a straight 20 year career Mana-Sama has thoroughly stayed true to his unchanging appearance. He is the reigning leader of the visual kei and gothic region, but how did he form his own style? We bring forth a report and an ample amount of invaluable photos in relation to the episode of when he gave birth to Gothic Lolita in correspondence to music and visual key.



Translations:

I don't like judging things based only on appearance, because I think then you could be missing out on something.

-- Mana-san, when thinking about gothic, what would you say is the most fundamental [element]?

"For me, gothic images come to mind from Vampire films I watched as a child, so gloomy European atmospheres, and the aesthetics of beauty and decadence are the standard. Also, since I really like European Cathedrals and Gothic architecture, for me, with the exception of music, I would include architectural structures in what would be considered gothic."

-- Coming from architectural structures, don't you think the original meaning of "gothic" is closely knit to that.

"I agree. A long time ago Gothic was not a music genre. At that time it was never referred to as Gothic, but called Posi-punk (Positive Punk). Positive Punk derived from punk in early days when the Sex Pistols first started out, where people would dress in dark outfits, which is now what we call Gothic."

-- So are you saying the word Gothic is closely related to dark things?

"Dark = Gothic, basically. But, since there are various types of dark, I think the definition of Gothic also needs to include beauty. For example, I think the death theme in Death Metal is included in the dark category, but not gothic, because there are no aesthetics involved."

-- You could say if its not dark and beautiful its not Gothic.

"Yes. It has both darkness and beauty."

-- As a result Mana-san, for your own image, you also include both elements.

"Simply just beauty by itself is boring, so I think if you can make it mysterious, beauty becomes even more alluring, and for me, without playing into that type of view point it doesn't feel right"

-- Why are you so fascinated by vampire movies and dark things?

"Since I was in elementary school, I was a boy who enchanted by strange things and what is unknown in the world, and since everyone was into reading manga, I liked Hideshi Hino and Umezu Kazuo among others. Therefore, I think my yearning for the Gothic world has fundamentally always been a part of me. I think it must be a natural attraction I have."

-- All the way since you were born?

"I think so."

-- Mana-san's fans must be like that as well.

"I think there are even more people like that in this world. Actually, I think there are probably some people who haven't even noticed it about themselves yet. The normal thing is to listen to J-POP, but actually if they haven't touched on anything else in this world they don't know. For example if they came in contact with my music I think they might receive a bit of a shock and be able to empathize with it and then those people might come into this kind of world."

-- Whats the difference between people who can empathize and those who cannot?

"Those who have already made up their minds about such things. In the Gothic world vampires are used as a symbol, but I think its a world where things similar to that kind of species are naturally placed together."

-- If someone were to come into contact with gothic type things for the first time, what would you recommend to them?

"I think it would be great if they could start out with my music. I receive letters from people saying things like "I've only listened to J-POP up until now, but once I came in contact with Mana-Sama's music I was shocked that music like this was out there and I really liked it." I want to expand that kind of thing even more."

--The kinds of people we were talking about before could even find themselves bridging over into to thinking about something different that they never may have noticed before, don't you think.

"Human beings tend to dislike things before ever giving it a chance; it could be food or anything. There are people who say they will never try fruit on cooked dishes, like sweet-and-sour pork or pizza with pineapple. However if you've never eaten it before, you don't know if you really think its good, but I think you never know until you try things. When I go abroad, I get to see combinations of things Japanese people would never do. For example, in Germany people put jam on cutlet. Right off the bat I ate it all. Since I have an attitude that I will face things head on, I always want to tell people they don't know what they're missing when they make judgements based on preconceptions. I think for humans, having a preconception is the worst thing you could do."

-- Although on one hand there are people whom when they listen to Mana-san's music it really makes an impression on them, but on the other hand there are also people whom it doesn't. In regards to those people, wouldn't it be best if they didn't listen at all if they're going to say rude things about it?

"Not all people are going to like the same things. After all there are a variety of different kinds of human beings, especially since we all come together in the womb. I don't think one should be forced to like something against their will, nor should they be made to not like something against their will."

-- In the music business, I think even if its a single person, there is a desire to sell things off and give things to a lot of people so they will to listen to.

"There certainly is a lot of that even for one person, but I think there is so much out there its impossible for everyone. There is no need for everyone to like the exact same gothic music."

-- Because its Gothic? Or any kind of music?

"Since the Gothic world is rather inclusive, I don't think its something you would feel connected to if you weren't born to like it. For example, I think the Beatles received a large amount of support, but although their music was good it didn't have its very own world appearance. However, its not just music thats Gothic, it includes an entire world outlook. I think thats what the difference is. It also consists of visuals. I don't think everyone thinks these kinds of visuals are cool, but its an expression that is included in this appearance of the world."

-- Now that we've started talking about Visuals and how you are aware that not everyone likes them, are Visuals something that people acquire a taste for?

"To put it simply, its something you grasp on your own. Much like how you also grasp for the meaning of your own life."

-- With such a consistent style, do you look at yourself based on how other people evaluate you?

"I don't care about evaluation. I think its bad of humans to spend their lives worrying too much about evaluations. So, for example with people entering into the Gothic & Lolita style, from society's perspective such an appearance might seem odd, so theres a kind of worry like 'what should I do?'
When you live life thinking like that, aren't you putting yourself into a particular mold? I don't understand why anyone would want to live their lives with restrictions instead of doing what they want. I think people who say they don't understand that aren't meant to, but people who want to do what they want shouldn't worry about what the world thinks of them and go out and do what they like."

-- Speaking of the appearance of Gothic & Lolita, when people exhibit it as a way of life, do you think they have an understanding of themselves?

"I think they do. Even if they worry about how society sees it, when they do it they don't care about the attention they get from the public. Being able to go out and do what you like makes you even stronger, and actually the perception of society is something you start to notice less and less. Above all else, you have to take that first step. Then, you'll be okay with your appearance even if society says bad things about you. Those other people in the world don't matter."

-- It seems like thats something Mana-san really thinks about concerning the Gothic & Lolita style.

"Thats right. When I first started up Moi-meme-Moitie (Moi-meme-Moitie is Mana's fashion brand he established in October 1999) it wasn't only for Lolitas. I wanted to match dark things with cute maiden-like Lolita things, and so I made the first Gothic & Lolita style."

-- Why did you think about mixing those two together?

"I thought why not make an even more fascinating fashion brand using my love for dark beauty and cute maidens. To put it simply, I wanted to fabricate an ideal girl that I had drawn up in my head."

-- So naturally you used this kind of idea in order to create your own style?

"Even though I made a new genre of Gothic & Lolita, I didn't know of any other examples to base it off of. Having said that, I became my own example. So you could say I became a one person icon."

-- Although you become your own aspiration, was this the kind of sensation you were going for?

"It was. I have a world of wild ideas drawn up within myself, so for me this was the ultimate way of expressing myself. It was also the ultimate way for me to be able to personify myself. Of course I'm a man, but I took up the fence of both male and female to establish an ultimate visual. But in no way am I saying I want to be a woman. That is a complete misunderstanding (smiles). Its meant to be looked at objectively because its an art."

-- Besides the embodiment you created with Gothic & Lolita, was creating a fashion brand an extension to Mana-san's musical activities?

"They are both a part of me. I can't part from music or fashion. From the start I have always been using my clothes as costumes as well so I've always integrated music and fashion together."

-- If a person really enjoys Mana-san's music, do you think its also highly likely that they like your fashion?

"It is highly likely, but I wouldn't say that as a rule. People who wear my fashion say that although they like my music its incomplete without the fashion, but they also don't say its no good without the fashion. I even get a lot of questions like "I only have normal clothes, is it still okay for me to go to a Moi dix Mois live?", but that doesn't mean those people still come dressed completely normal. Of course I would be happy if you came dressed up in as much Moi-meme-Moitie as you possibly can (smiles). However, I always want new people who want to come to feel comfortable.

-- That goes along with the thought that people should stop disliking things before they give it a chance.

"A lot of people have the belief that if you're not wearing Moi-meme-Moitie you shouldn't go to my lives. But I think its okay if people want to come just to l listen to the music, so I want those kinds of people to come too. Because its my image, there are people that think its not okay if they're not wearing Moi-meme-Moitie, so I want to emphasize thats not the case."

-- One last question, for the Gothic & Lolita advocate Mana-san, until this [interview] how do you think people have viewed Gothic Lolita in general as a fashion?

"I think its too bad that there is some degree of misunderstanding about it. Especially if it were to spread how the media would pick it up as. The common stuff is completely different, so I wish people would stop grouping Gothic Lolita together with everything else (smiles). Lolita is lolita, and without the dark component its not Gothic Lolita. However, I do think its cool how the name Gothic Lolita all on its own has penetrated itself into the world."

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Extra article in DAZZLE magazine of Mana's experience at the location where he did a photoshoot for this magazine.

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The costume Mana is wearing is a coordinate made of Moi-meme-Moitie and his own clothes. For Gothic Lolita magazines he uses locations that match the strong styling impression of hard and gothic items that he wears……and speaking of which, this time he collaborated with a beauty salon in Ikebukuro called "Tritt fur Tritt". Actually this salon's owner is GAKU who was a musician in the visual kei band CRY-MU-. It seems him and Mana were mingling as he awaited in anticipation for Mana to visit the salon for the photoshoot. Although they are acquaintances, so since it had been more than 10 years ago since they met, he nervously said "You probably don't remember me," but Mana-Sama actually did remember him…… During a break in the photoshoot they started reminiscing with one another.

Translation by Sarah @ Mana-Sama.net

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