Translations from Kera Vol. 153 -- May 2011 Issue

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The Motives in Amazing People

Last Part Special

This is the last part of the "Motives in Amazing People" series that has been going on for about 5 and a half years! For the finale of the 65 ornate "Amazing People" we have an appropriate last time with the pioneer of the Gothic Lolita world, Mana-Sama! We have crammed in questions about music and fashion for the Gothic Lolita brand Moi-meme-Moitie producer, Mana-Sama.

I was a punk boy when I was a student.
Motivated by Bach pieces and grasped in classical music.

-- Mana-Sama, why did you advance in the direction of music?

Mana-Sama: It was my meaning to be, maybe its in my DNA. Since my father was a high school music teacher, I was raised with classical music always being played at home. Therefore, I think thats how that kind of music entered me. However, when I was a child I didn't really hold an interest in classical music.

-- So was there a feeling of defiance?

Mana-Sama: Rather than that, I was often taken to classical concerts and that was really boring. I felt like, what is interesting about this? Therefore, in this way I leaned towards being a punk in my school years. Aggressive and destructive. I also knew about heavy metal simultaneously, but I liked the fashion that was included in punk. I would commute to school as a mohican in punk fashion (laughs). Of course, I also joined a punk band.

-- What route did you take after you graduated?

Mana-Sama: I attended a music vocational school. Since I didn't really think much about finding employment, so when it was time for me to think about what I was going to do, my father would say, "If you like music, its no good if you don't learn the foundations".

-- In your major, did you study these kinds of things?

Mana-Sama: Actually……In the end, I hardly ever studied. Thats because I was around an age where I wanted to explode (laughs). You could say I was actually studying, since a band is a eugenic anyway. I had said I had an interest in performing at a live house. But now when I think back on it I'm glad it wasn't necessary for me to study.

-- Was that band a punk band?

Mana-Sama: No, that was only a small piece of me and I was at a time where I didn't see myself as a punk anymore. The punk spirit and oppositions were a big influences on me, but at that time I was starting to emphasize the harmony of music. I had aspirations to play beautiful and sad melodies.

-- Why did you start thinking about that?

Mana-Sama: I think it was the influence of Bach. After I had retreated away from punk I started to listen to it more or less because I received a classical CD from my father. So, gradually the classic spirit inside of me overruled punk.

-- This is where you became attracted to Bach?

Mana-Sama: His use of sound is unique, even within classical music. Bach worked in harmony through several dispersed melodies to create a counterpoint, but for me that was a great shock. What a way to create sound! It was unfamiliar to me.

I wanted to express that fusion of music and fashion in MALICE MIZER.

-- After that, MALICE MIZER was formed, wasn't it!

Mana-Sama: Thats right. I was in another band with the member Kozi, but when we were constructing MALICE MIZER we talked about doing Bach with a bass and twin guitars. I like the harpsichord pieces of Bach's, but the choking of the guitar techniques in a rock band prohibits it. Therefore, while MALICE MIZER was a band, I adopted special guitar techniques.

-- The clothing and appearances in MALICE MIZER were a shock. Where did those ideas come from?

Mana-Sama: Since I have really loved occult movies from the start, those kinds of beautiful mysterious occultic things were one of the things I wanted to express. Also, I wanted to take up such techniques as displaying fashion simultaneously along with the story of the music. At that time I greatly empathized with theater and opera, so I wanted to make a band like that. Its a fusion of fashion and music, so to speak. It wasn't just an ordinary performance, and it was easy for the audience to follow the story and appearances, which means one of these stories could be an experience on stage.

-- Why did you play a female role?

Mana-Sama: I thought that trying to pursue beauty didn't only apply to women. Therefore, I said to myself, how far can I go? and it became a game.

-- Mana-Sama's "Elegant Gothic Lolita" fashion has now become a part of Japan Culture, but what kind of image did you have of it at first?

Mana-Sama: That time was also merged with Lolita brands, where you could embody a cute young girl by clothes, so I fused that with dark things, and I didn't know how to make a new fashion so I was searching for solutions. Since that fusion came to be seen in the later half of MALICE MIZER, thats when I started up Moi-meme-Moitie.

-- That started from 1999, 7 years after the formation of MALICE MIZER, wasn't it.

Mana-Sama: Thats right. It was something I felt could continuously be seen in MALICE MIZER. Since the costumes from early MALICE MIZER had a sense of theatrics. Moi-meme-Moitie didn't have the feeling of everyday fashion.

Who I have become now is my sense for things = discovering my individuality, and thats what it resulted as.

-- For Mana-Sama who coexists in fashion and music, what do you think is the most important thing in life?

Mana-Sama: Its your senses. I think I have been able to become who I am now as a result from my senses. But 10 years ago I wasn't really aware of that. Well at any rate, since my punk years (laughs). When I was a student, a lot of my classmates were in bands, and furthermore everyone was extremely skilled. Some people even aimed to be professionals. During that time I didn't really think about it, the feeling of becoming a professional hadn't surfaced in me. Either way, I was a leftover band man (laughs). Usually the feeling of loving music is the reason that drives young people to make a band. But, with graduation everyone who was in a band found employment. Even the people who aimed to become professionals. That surprised me. So occasionally when I'd return to my parent's home I'd meet with my classmates and they would feel extremely jealous. My life that was born in music. At that time they were hostile (laughs).

-- What do you think the difference is [between you and them]?

Mana-Sama: I think perhaps it was that I was able to discover my sense for things. My classmates who were bandsmen were certainly skilled, but if they had a sense for things……honestly I don't know. There are tons of skilled bands, but I don't think being skilled is the problem. Especially since MALICE MIZER was a band that was lived through by senses.

-- Wow, is that so?

Mana-Sama: Yes. At that point in time I did something other people couldn't do. I thought, How can I polish something to make it only mine? I wanted to make a band and do something new, and thus MALICE MIZER was formed. I was done admiring ordinary bands and thinking, "I want to become like that band," and thats where I was able to find my sense. I didn't decide what was the best way for me to be able to get big results.

Translations by Sarah @