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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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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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Visual Kei is a sub-genre of Japanese Music that focuses on self-expression, most Visual Kei, bands do not sound the same, as that statement could be used for Rap as well, but Rap fan will argue that it takes an ear, same applies to Visual Kei. The Key of Visual Kei is too express a message and bring a twist on it. Not all of VK fans are female and only care about looks. The GazettE, one particular VK band has amazingly metaphorical lyrics (if translated). But like all band VK bands talk about a multitude of different themes and should not be dissed as such. Also the 'cross-dressing' comes from their culture which performed (and still does) Kabuki, a form of theatre where all actors are male, and so if the bands theme requires females, cross-dressing occurs. An example of this is Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- whose theme revolves around two waring noble clan set in pre-revolutionary France, with a style similar to speed-metal.
Visual Kei is just another form of music which doesn't want to conform to popular music, like metal
by The GazettE Analyst March 19, 2011
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A style of Japanese music that really has nothing to do with music. Visual Kei (VK) bands are generally rock or indies bands that dress in different types of elaborate outfits. Many conservatives shy away from VK bands because the men often wear heavy makeup and costumes that make them look like women. Basically VK = crossdressing Japanese rockers.

Vk bands dress in a feminine manner but can have many styles. Malice Mizer had more of a romantic/gothic/1800's feel whereas Dir en grey had a more of a slutty, vinyl miniskirts and thigh-high bitch boots style. Kagrra does more traditional clothing like colorful kimonos and Psycho le Cemu is just plain messed up with schoolgirl uniforms and outfits that look like cheap halloween costumes.

VK rockers are generally NOT gay/bisexual. They dress like women to attract record deals, attention, and fans, however, after signing a major record deal and going "mainstream" they usually lose the visual look and become "normal".
Dir en grey used to be a visual kei band becuase they dressed like women with heavy makeup, crazy hair, and feminine clothing.
by JellyMeh January 16, 2005
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