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Brand of Japanese rock music where band members (mostly men) wear elaborate make up and stage costumes, much of the time crossdressing. The "kei" is japanese for style of type, meaning "visual style music" The music ranges from 80's-esque goth rock, to heavy metal to punk and usually some combo of the 3. Most bands are indies (independant or on indies labels) but a few make it to major labels such as Malice Mizer, Raphael, and Dir En Grey. Also seen written "VK" or sometimes incorrectly lumped in with the catch all word "Jrock", meaning all japanese rock music.
D'istray is a visual kei band.
Cure Records and Marder Suitcase are indies VK labels.
by ilovevisualindiesbands August 31, 2003
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A type of Japanese Rock music (Jrock) meaning Visual Style Music (also known as VK ). Members of Visual-Kei bands stereotypically wear large, elaborately decorated costumes, makeup and feminine accessories. The hair is often dyed and extremely styled, or the band members will wear wigs that are easier to manage.

Usually, the visual-kei image is kept by indie Jrock bands. They will slowly grow out of it as they become more well known.

Most of the time, Visual Kei bands slowly work their way out of their visual image. This is most often caused by the band being signed to a major record label. To dress more normally means they are more widely accepted, which in turn means gross profit for the band and label; therefore the change is usually encouraged.

Contrary to popular belief, Visual-kei band members are generally not homosexual but dress the way they do to gain fans, to bring attention to themselves and to build a following.

It is a stereotype that Visual-Kei music is crappy and the and makes up for it in looks. While it may be true that some bands sound similar, this is not true for all. Visual-kei too has it's sub-genres, and different bands may portray different looks and sounds from others.

If one doesn't take the time to delve further into Visual-kei, or Jrock in generally, how can one give a valid or unbiased definition of it?
By Saying only a few things, you are barely scratching the surface.
Some of the most common Visual kei bands are Dir en Grey and Malice Mizer. But both have different images.
Malice Mizer had an 18th century goth feel.
Dir en Grey sported a more urban goth look.
Malice Mizer has been broken up for a number of years.
Dir en Grey has since become more popular and have abandoned their Visual-kei look, since being signed to a major label.

X-Japan was an 80's glam rock band, but they can also be called Visual-kei. The leader of the and, Yoshiki, has since been producing bands in both Japan and America.

Some indie Visual-kei ands are CodomoA, Sugar Trip, Lolita 23q, Death Rabbits and Girugamesh.
by I know All July 02, 2006
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Literally means "visual type"; from a style/movement in J-Rock that started back in the 1980s, and became popular in Japan by the 90s. This style/movement has been largely credited to have been started by X Japan; which led to an uprising in the trend of the visual scene. It's characterized by bands (namely Japanese) that use dramatic costumes/hair/makeup to basically inhance their visual appearance. Although there are branches of Jrock, that have different classifications/characteristics that visual-kei. The style alone does not neseccarily have to do with the music; but more alone with its outlandish and unique clothing/hair/makeup-thats what its really known for.
Many visual-kei bands include: X Japan, Malice Mizer, Dir en Grey, Gazette, Phantasmagoria, Alice Nine, 12012, and many more to name.

by Dai-Kei May 12, 2006
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Sexy hot japanese bands that are primarily rock are visual kei. The members of these bands wear a lot of makeup, and crossdress frequently. Older bands include: Malice Mizer, X japan, Dir en grey, Luna Sea, etc.
Modern bands include: Mejibray, Dadaroma, The Gazette, The Gallo, etc.
"HOLY SHIT, DID YOU SEE THAT NEW VISUAL KEI MUSIC VIDEO, THE LEAD SINGER WAS A SEXY CLOWN!"
by Yes.I.Am September 08, 2018
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Visual-kei is a movement born in the early 80's in Japan, it's about music and image at the same time. Visual-kei band members use makeup and dress up in a very eccentric way. Members of these bands make a dramatization of their music on stage and their image helps them on it. Individualism is what Visual-kei people look for, not to be part of society so to speak.

The dramatization of their music is an influence of Kabuki theatre.

Their music is a bit difficult to classify, but most of Visual-kei bands follow a pattern to make music, although nowadays their music has been very influenced by western music. If someone wants to know how Visual-kei sounds like, go to bands like: Baiser, Pierrot, Dir en grey (Visual-kei times), Noir Fleurir, Aliene Ma'riage, Lareine, Vidoll, etc.

Visual-kei is not gothic as some people think since Visual-kei bands with gothic influence began to appear in the 90's and Visual-kei already existed before it.
by -Seiryuu- June 02, 2007
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Visual Kei or Visual Rock is a genre of rock music in Japan. A Visual band will usually have a set concept or theme that influences their music style, lyrics, and mode of dress.

There are many sub-genres of visual kei including oshare kei , kote kei, koteose kei, soft visual kei, and many more.
Karen was a visual kei band with the theme "life and death."
by Mahiro February 23, 2008
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