Tokyo Damage Report

gekiteki 5 : militarist

These bands are "theatrical" because they are inspired by  the pomp and bombast of  – to say nothing of the shock value of – Japanese military culture from fascist era (roughly '31 – '45) 

Any discussion of militarist Japanese rock has to start with "the nazi thrash epidemic" of the late '80s: a sort of  'arms race' where each band had to take the gimmick further than the last band. I'm not so offended by the nazi symbolism. I'm more offended that the music combines really high-quality thrash (=good) with crummy glam (=bad).


 

mein kampf

MEANING :
CITY . . : tokyo
ERA . . . : 1985
SOUND . . : thrash / early visual
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : Mein Kampf, Rommel, Harenkreuz, Rosenfeld
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : metal archives,
TDR REPORT . . .:



ROSENFELD

 


MEANING : :
CITY . . : Tokyo
ERA . . . : 1986=~
SOUND . . : thrash / early visual
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : Mein Kampf, Rommel, Harenkreuz, Rosenfeld
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : metal archives
TDR REPORT . . .:

 


ROMMEL

 


MEANING : :
CITY . . : Tokyo
ERA . . . : 1987
SOUND . . : speed-metal, shred-tastic solos, kind of x-japan choruses
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : Mein Kampf, Rommel, Harenkreuz, Rosenfeld
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : metal archives
TDR REPORT . . .:

 


harkenkreuz

 

MEANING : 'twisted cross' as in you-know-what
CITY . . :
ERA . . . :
SOUND . . : thrash / early visual
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : Mein Kampf, Rommel, Harenkreuz, Rosenfeld
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .:

 

 

INSANE OMNIBUS PAGE OF ALL NAZI THRASH VIDEOS:

 

 


 さあぐ (殺悪愚,  pronounced SAAGU)


MEANING : : : literally “Murder Bad Foolish”, but phonetically “thug”, the English word. This sort of pun is called ‘ateji’ (当て字) and is a very very bousouzoku style of humor.

The English "translation" is Spiritual Agony Agitate Guerilla
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : ???
SOUND . . : hardcore
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : bousouzoku costumes, gunka
CLIQUE . . . : ???
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . : 異形, 唯一
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :http://sound.jp/saag/saagtop.htm
TDR REPORT . . .:

WWII army music plays on the intro. . . fade into the sounds of 100 motorcycles revving, singer comes in in full biker gear, throwing lite fireworks into the crowd, then into some old-school Japanese-style hardcore punk. There is no shortage of thug-core bousouzoku hardcore bands, starting with Anarchy (one of the first punk bands in Japan, before hardcore was invented). But saagu is noteworthy because they have a theatrical approach to the bike-gang lifestyle, and also a pro- (rather than anti-) authority attitude.

Pro-Emperor lyrics and such.

 


 

 

火の宮 (hinokyuu)
 
 
MEANING : palace of fire
CITY . . :
ERA . . . : ‘80s
SOUND . . :  punk
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :  Workingman’s clothes:

wtf tall socks and knickerbockers? with head band. What does this mean???

THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :

HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :
CLIQUE . . . : Taiyou records
STYLE . . . :  militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
WEB . . . : http://www.geocities.jp/ytaddb/A/sawaki.htm
http://park11.wakwak.com/~rock-daigaku/gj/gj0059hino.html
TDR REPORT . . .:
Sounds like the clash. 
 Band of Sawaki Kazumi, who runs Taiyou records.
 

 


デスマーチ艦隊 (desumaachi kantai)

 


MEANING : : : the ‘march’ was a popular form of SOUND . . : in the ‘30s. kantai means a Navy fleet, and ‘death’ refers NOT to a fleet that is all marching off to die , but refers to the fact that this band is the ‘death metal version’ or ‘heavy version’ of marching-band SOUND. Got all that?
CITY . . : tokyo
ERA . . . : 1997~2005
SOUND . . : gunka-billy ! standing bass, and horns!
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Showa-era marching bands, WWII.
CLIQUE . . . : デスマーチ 艦隊, 浅草ジンタ
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : navy uniforms with shironuri and faces covered in scars : zombie sailors!
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : ‘30s, ‘40s

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .:

They started out a psycho-billy band, and gradually evolved into a full ‘30s style marching band, with over 10 members and plenty of traditional Japanese instruments, tycho drums etc. The lyrics also evolved to be about the Imperial war ERA . . . :, including covers of gunka (war and military songs) of that time.

The band-leader is named Dynamyte Oshou, and his family is kind of famous for running a big butsudan company (butsudans are the family Buddhist altars one keeps in one’s home to pray to one’s ancestors).

 

 


 


大日本意識革命軍狂暴 (DAINIPPONISHIKIKAKUMEIGUNKYOUBOU)

 


MEANING : : Great Japanese Consciousness Revolutionary Army Frenzy
CITY . . : Nagoya
ERA . . . : `97-2004 ???
SOUND . . :  ???
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :  QP crazy
STYLE . . . :militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . : 97『時代錯誤』, 2001『原石の庭』, 2002 『誉-ホマレ-』
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : early Showa era ('30s , '40s)

WEB . . . : http://www.h7.dion.ne.jp/~kyoubou/,
TDR REPORT . . .:

the singer is wearing a cross between a Navy General WWII costume and a Vegas-era Elvis jumpsuit????

The guitarist is dressed like a kamikaze. The bassist looks like he collects every Evangelion figurine ever.

WTF. Even my Japanese friends who are familiar with the "nazi thrash epidemic" of the late '80s are puzzled that a band like this would be able to exist.

 

rad photos of them, more info than i seen anywhere online, but only recent middleage pictures

http://kurotokage.net/070815k.html


魔亜蛾麟
 

 
MEANING : literally, "demon asia moth mystical chinese beast" , but pronounced ‘margarine’. On purpose.
CITY . . :
ERA . . . :
SOUND . . :  trad. Jappacore
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :  their uniforms seem to be a cross between bosozoku gear and WWII army gear.
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : militarist
ALBUM TO GET . . . : aikokusha he no tsugu
WEB . . . : http://www.myspace.com/kyushuaikokuoukikaimargarine
TDR REPORT . . .:
 
I don't know anything about these guys. But I got their CD – the song titles and lyrics are like classic WWII gunka, but not cover versions. More like modernized  punk versions.  It's like they're some recruiting gimmick for some black-van group or something . . . ?
 

14 comments Tags:

14 Comments so far

  1. random August 13th, 2011 10:12 am

    i know the whole nazi thing is just for visual kei reasons but its so lazy sometimes. like some german demon would posses people and they start to shout random german words in public. over the top violence like cannibal corpse is one thing. but to take these whole nazi 30s-40s theme and then beeing so lazy is sad. the trash sound is nice but they ruin it all :) why is german still so cool over their? oO

  2. Mira August 13th, 2011 5:15 pm

    I'm pretty sure that Dai Nippon doesn't sound anything like visual or "glam" if glam can even have a sound. Taking into consideration that this band is one of my favorites and I listen to them pretty regularly I'd say that they combine Gunka with plain old punk rock. Visual has a very discernable style and is extremely cookie-cutter. This band does things I've never heard elsewhere.

  3. un_rock August 13th, 2011 7:26 pm

    nice work! i
    t's all been a good read.
    here is the next level…  "vocaloid"

  4. Mira August 14th, 2011 9:30 pm

    @un_rock:
    Vocaloid has nothing to do with this, save for the fact that a few of the electronic artists in this movement have occasionally made use of the Vocaloid software. 

  5. un_rock August 14th, 2011 11:25 pm

     
    @mira
    humm… i think you missed the larger piture…
    not comparing vocaloid to militarist bands,
    but as a new form of "theater".
    look beyond anime and think, 
    what would melt banana or Yamataka Eye,
    have done with live virtual, characters while 
    performing.
    not the voice software aspect.

  6. un_rock August 15th, 2011 7:32 pm

     
    Steve, Im from the Bay Area too,
    did you get to go to any of the Mark Pauline and
    Survival Research shows, Tuxedomoon, Target Video happenings?
    the weird stuff going on at "The Vats"?
    The Bay Area had some fun stuff before GWAR took over the US.
    ha, ha…

  7. admin August 16th, 2011 4:12 am

    @mira: thanks for writing. I took down the misleading label. I got their CD, I’ll listen to it again before I attempt to categorize the band.
    BTW do you know where to find youtube or mp3s of the band online? I’d like to encourage people to get more into them.

  8. admin August 16th, 2011 4:13 am

    @un-rock: i saw only one SRL show, and nothing else. I think i was more into D&D when all that stuff was going down.

  9. Mira August 16th, 2011 4:58 pm

    @Steve: There's only one video of them on Youtube. It's the intro to a live DVD that my friend uploaded. The fans of this music are super-protective. It's all usually gotten on a for-trade basis. It's rarely posted on music blogs or uploaded at all. The only rip of one of their earliest CDs was pulled from a scratched CD and so is kinda fucked up.

  10. admin August 16th, 2011 5:28 pm

    @mira: I’m not trying to be a smartass , but i have to ask: you say “the fans of this music are protective”. . . what are they protecting? As much as we all love WWII Japanese Empire rock, the band looks around 40 years old. If they haven’t caught their big break by now, they never will . .. . They all have day jobs, and maybe play one or two shows a year. It’s not like file sharing can hurt their “career” or “profits” . . . in fact file-sharing can only help them at this point by making more people aware of the band. So what are the fans thinking about? And do you mean Japanese fans or foreign fans? Again, I really am happy to meet another fan of this band (you), and i hope more people would get into them. I’m not trying to sass you. It’s just that the “fan mentality” is so different from the punk / heavy metal world I live in that I am having a difficult time grasping it.

    Anyone else with thoughts on this, please add your own 2 cents.

  11. Mira August 17th, 2011 4:58 am

    @Steve: I definitely understand. Most of the fans in the modern Angura Kei community(both Japanese and Foreign) are these crazy catty people who like to draw pictures of band members with their intestines hanging out. 
    It boils down to the fans not wanting anyone else to be in their "cool kids club". Foreign fans are the worst, though as they "scam" people in internet trades to get what they want etc. The politics of this music scene are very strange. Bands like Shinjuku Gewalt tend to add to this by doing things like raffling off limited 1 copy CDRs at shows to a single fan, whether it's because they enjoy watching people squirm or they are doing it to fight the percieved problems associated with "fame" I don't know. The fan mentality is hard to explain, because it's so unique.
    I only know so much because bands like this are the only music I listen to. From the folk artists like Douji, through the Technopop and New Wave artists like Uchouten and P Model and on to modern Angura bands. It's all connected like you say. It's usually thematic, but also a lot of the acts are associated because of the artists themselves' interest in the work of previous generations, or older artists directly working with new blood(like Kera from Uchouten recruiting members of Metronome into his newer project "Kera & The Synthesizers"). For instance, GuruGuru Eigakan did a cover of a Morita Douji song, as has Shinjuku Gewalt. 
    If you want to know more, send me an email.

  12. Steve August 17th, 2011 7:14 pm

    @Mira: Makes sense to me. It's kind of like A Bathing Ape and a bunch of other Japanese clothing brands before American rappers started to wear them. The stores were deliberately hidden and the goods were limited. Both the designers and the fans were more concerned with being 'cool' than being popular (basically because if they got popular, someone would call them out for buying/selling 80 dollar t-shirts).
    At the same time, it was as much a ploy to control the market as it was about staying underground. Probably not the case with these bands, but the fan mentality seems the same. This is what happens when a band is more of a commodity than an artistic entity.

  13. Mira August 17th, 2011 8:43 pm

    At least the fans make it more a commodity. This music has changed my life in a lot of ways, but it took work to learn about connections and references. The web is really really complex. I've been thinking about making some sort of web chart hybrid that has member-connections between bands, then overlaying it with another chart that connects bands through obvious influences like visual style cues (ala ZIN-SAY and Muchi Muchi Anago) and covers of songs by previous generations. I'd also probably do something involving ideology as well, connecting visually the writers, actors, and musicians on this huge convoluted subculture web. 
    Also, as a note on something you said previously: Bands like Gewalt and Dai Nippon actually play a great deal of shows, usually with other bands in the "Muchi Muchi Anago clique". 
    I'll probably start working on this web chart thing this weekend and hopefully have a rough draft by monday or so. I'd give you permission to post it if it's up to quality control standards.

  14. admin August 17th, 2011 10:04 pm

    @mira: Yeah, a chart sounds like a great idea! As you probably guessed, I won’t know any of the bands. But I really like the idea of making chains-of-influences visible. And i like the idea of taking a hidden world and giving it some transparency. Rock on Mira.

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