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-The curtain has opened on the long awaited “LAST VISUALIVE -Saigo no Tsuki- LAST MOON”. Firstly, I’d like to ask about the story this time, is it a continuation of “MOON SAGA -Secrets of Yoshitsune-” Part I and II?
G: No, it isn’t. There is a “MOON SAGA -Secrets of Yoshitsune- Part III”, but this “LAST VISUALIVE -Saigo no Tsuki- LAST MOON” isn’t simply, “Well, here are bits and pieces of "MOON SAGA -Secrets of Yoshitsune- Part III”. It’s a bigger world than that.
Originally, the story “MOON SAGA”, which this VISUALIVE is based upon had the core of “The moon is always watching the tragedies that humans repeat” at its center. And regarding the moon, from things like “People’s souls are led by the moon” and “People are emotionally drawn to the moon”, many stories diverge. The story itself suddenly begins from a vampire story set in the near future. That’s what was depicted in “MOON CHILD” (2003 movie). If we go back in time to the origin of those vampires, it’s around “DIABOLOS”. At the time, there were those known as “Darkside Inhabitants” who lived in the darkness in a chaotic era in Europe and each used their country to engage in a proxy war. And in order to drive out the “Darkside Inhabitants”, those known as “Apostles” were then artificially created. That ended in failure, but the surviving Apostles, as vampires, started a new story from there. So where was the origin of those vampires? Their origin was in Japan. In the Heian era, there were those known as “Mononoke”, and those called “Mononofu” born from encounters between humans and Mononoke, who dominated both the humans and the Mononoke with their special powers, and began to fight among themselves. “MOON SAGA –Secrets of Yoshitsune-” is one of the key points of this story. Yoshitsune’s story spreads out when someone who inherited his “demon” blood crosses over to Europe. That’s the origin of vampires. That’s the summary.

-So that’s where Yoshitsune’s story connects to the vampire story?
G: It’s just that, at the time of Yoshitsune’s story, “demons” are the main theme rather than what would be called vampires. They’re the same in that they wander in search of blood. The Japanese word for “vampire”- 吸血鬼[kyuuketsuki= suck-blood-demon] contains the character for “demon”. That’s because their origin is Japanese “demons”. That’s the answer to the mystery behind “MOON SAGA”’s vampires. I am asked, “Is ‘MOON SAGA’ a vampire story?” but this is a story showing the repeated tragedies and crimes, the transience and foolishness of humans from the point of view of the deathless vampires who outlive them. And if you trace that story back, it originated in Japan. One part of that story that was in Japan was “Yoshitsune”, that’s how it works. So “Secrets of Yoshitsune” is one part, but it’s not that the story “Secrets of Yoshitsune” is the theme of this LAST VISUALIVE.

-I see.
G: And, because I’m thinking that I’ll make this the last time I show a story and music together as a VISUALIVE, I’m calling it the “LAST VISUALIVE”, but the title “Saigo no Tsuki -LAST MOON-” doesn’t mean that this is the end of “MOON SAGA”, there’s more story that exists. This “LAST MOON” is what’s illuminated by the moon a person sees before they die, that’s what the theme is. I’m kind of internally thinking I might go on expressing MOON SAGA in a different form though. But what I’m trying to express in this LAST VISUALIVE, rather than Yoshitsune, is another theme, “What do people think at the moment when they die?”

-So the characters who appear will be a little different to “Secrets of Yoshitsune”?

G: “Secrets of Yoshitsune” is one basis for it, so there will be a taste of that story here and there. But this is more of a story about the messengers of the moon that are always looking down from above, so it starts with the question of “What are those figures dressed in black that appear in the music video for ‘ARROW’?”. In the end, they’re onlookers who have been watching everything to do with Yoshitsune’s story from beginning to end, and messengers of the moon who come to collect souls. The point is, entities that are not human exist, and this is “Yoshitsune’s story” from their point of view. So in this LAST VISUALIVE I’m showing the thoughts and feelings of Yoshitsune and the others from the eyes of the messengers of the moon, who are onlookers.

-So the core theme of “MOON SAGA -Secrets of Yoshitsune-” was “friendship, bonds, and protecting” and the core theme of this LAST VISUALIVE will be “Why do humans repeat the same tragedies?”?

G: That’s right. No matter how strong your feelings of friendship, love, or wanting to protect your comrades are, in the end, isn’t that just ego?- that’s the perspective of the messengers from the moon, and the story is constructed around that point of view.

-Wow, that’s deep. I never imagined that it would be from that perspective. GACKT, you’re always so far ahead of what people imagine.

G: You mean I’m outrageous?

-Yes, outrageous (laughs). But you did such wonderful plays for chapters one and two of “MOON SAGA -Secrets of Yoshitsune-”, so it would be normal to want to see the rest of that.

G: To make it strictly about “Secrets of Yoshitsune” is too easy to expect, and just in the category of what you’d imagine. The story “Secrets of Yoshitsune” itself is pretty long. It spreads out without limits. So I did Chapter One and Chapter Two as plays, but there was also lots of talk about things like doing a movie version, and during that when I thought about Chapter Three and Zero, and their relation to the VISUALIVE, I thought just showing it on stage was too simple. So I thought, “I can’t make it centered on 'Secrets of Yoshitsune’. The story might start with Yoshitsune, but if I don’t do something that shows something other than Yoshitsune and his friends thoughts and feelings, then the LAST VISUALIVE is meaningless”. If I release “Secrets of Yoshitsune”, I should concentrate on doing it as a play. And, if I just make the show about “Secrets of Yoshitsune”, then it will end up being a musical. If I do that story on stage with the common way of thinking, it would probably turn out like a musical.

-Ah, that’s probably so.

G: I think that’s within the scope of predictability. And things that are within the scope of predictability aren’t interesting to me. Isn’t it much more interesting to portray a world outside the category of what’s expected? For example, “RRII” (Requiem et Reminiscence II) was good how it was, that was interesting. But when I thought about, “Should I construct it the same way this time?”, I thought, “No, no, that isn’t a challenge. I want to make it a more challenging and more interesting world. I want to make a more psychological world.”

What’s good about music is, the message in the music and lyrics can quickly reach deep into your emotions. Plays have to be watched in chronological order, but music can transcend time. It flies at you, like bam, bam. And it can even be a psychological story. So it’s like, let’s show the more psychological parts of this story. That’s what’s wonderful about music.

There’s a psychological world shown here and there in “RRII” as well. But the motif for this “LAST VISUALIVE- Saigo no Tsuki- LAST MOON” is expressing an even more psychological world.

So the contents might be too out there and some of the people who come to see it might be like “What is this?” “What’s going on?” “I don’t understand!” (laughs). But that’s okay. “Think about it more! Don’t be satisfied with what you’re given, create more inside your head”. The viewers are in the same position as the messengers of the moon, so I want you to watch it, feel it, and think about it.

-Let’s go back a bit. Originally, you came up with the “MOON SAGA” story around the time the 2001 tour “Requiem et Reminiscence ~Chinkon to Saisei~” ended. Were you able to think of the whole, vast story, to a certain extent, starting from that time?

G: Yes. This was before I created the “MOON” story, but I thought about what I wanted to be to all my fans, my friends, my family… everyone associated with me. “I want to be like the moon to everyone,” was the first thing that came to mind. Let me explain that, the sun lights up everything around people. So it probably feels like it’s showing you the way wonderfully. But will the people it shows light to think about different ideas themselves, I wonder? People can’t walk dragging someone else along. If you’re trying to drag someone who has stopped moving, then you’ll be stopped too. So what needs to be done isn’t dragging the people who have stopped. For example, in life, you become confused and stop. That’s like being in the dark and unable to see. Life isn’t like daytime when you can see everything, it’s like standing in the dark. We can’t see the future, and as for the past, we can look back the way we came, but it’s falling off into darkness and we can’t take it back. Particularly at times when someone has stopped for some reason, they feel the fear of being unable to move forward. If the moon then lights up just a few steps in front of them, they can see the way. After that, it’s just a question of if that person has the will to walk that road. You have to work up the courage yourself. I want to be something that gives people that chance. Always giving someone a push forward, lighting up the way just a few steps in front of people who have stopped, back then I decided that that would be the compass for GACKT’s way of living as GACKT.

-And you put that into the MOON SAGA story?

G: Right. I thought, “If the moon is something that just watches over the world, then what kind of world is that moon watching over?” And then I thought, “People commit the same sins every time, and history is repeated. I guess the moon has always been watching people’s mistakes.”

But I don’t think those mistakes and tragedies should be taken as a negative. If you don’t look for the parts that ask, “What is it that people need to be people?” then it will simply be a grim story. And if you can’t see that, “People are wonderful,” then there’s no need for me to go out of my way to show that. It’s not that I wanted to write something negative. So when I thought about expressing people’s beauty, transience, and kindness with something that wasn’t human, vampires were a great object to contrast with. Why? Because they don’t have death. They don’t die or grow old. So when you see people, who do die, from the eyes of something that doesn’t die and has no concept of time, it teaches you how ephemeral life is. The point is, it’s because of death that life can have meaning. Vampires stop having life at the moment they lose their death. Because life and death have no meaning then.

-It’s very philosophical, isn’t it?

G: “And this only came up very briefly in “MOON CHILD”, I still haven’t written the story, but even the longest lived vampire only lived for 400 years.”

-Even though they don’t die.

G: “In the end, they can’t stand their deathless life, and they break down psychologically and commit suicide. So to live for a long time, you either need a very strong heart, or to throw away your heart completely.”

-The character of Shou who you played in the movie “MOON CHILD” also lost his expressions after he became a vampire at the end. Even though he was full of life until then.

G: “Yeah. What you realize after you become a vampire is how fleeting and important the short time we are given is. At the moment when we lose the concept of time, we realize there is no life there. If you want to know why flowers are beautiful, it’s because they fall. If they were always in bloom, they’d be as worthless as fake flowers. And if you want to know why fake flowers are worthless, it’s because they’re just emptiness holding a shape.”

-Because they don’t have life.

G: “Right. And there’s nothing in the world that can keep on living and blooming forever. It’s because it has a limit that people look at it and think it’s beautiful. People feel meaning in things that have limits. It was in the story “MOON” that I started expressing that using vampires. And I quickly dug down from there and lots of stories branched out.”

-I guess that when it came time for you to express that story in the form of a VISUALIVE, there were lots of barriers at first?

G: “There were. Though originally the “Requiem et Reminiscence” story was the impetus for the VISUALIVE. I wondered if I could use images, story, music and performance to express something that was neither a musical, nor a play, nor a regular live show, or express a psychological world, so I started to try that. But because it was something that didn’t exist in the world, it was incredibly difficult. It was incredibly difficult, and though I did a lot of things, I wasn’t able to put it all together. With the story “Requiem et Reminiscence II”, the form of the VISUALIVE finally became clear. So it took me 10 years to arrive at that point.”

-10 years…

G: “You’re like “It’s so long!” right? (laughs). But I can see that inside myself, when I decided to make this VISUALIVE, I thought I’ve gotten pretty old, and if I don’t draw the line somewhere, it will be psychologically difficult to continue any further. So this LAST VISUALIVE is when I decided to construct that world I could see inside myself, and make it the last time.”

-It’s just, I think it must have been quite a shock to your fans when you announced it as the “LAST”.

G: “Well, it’s not like I’m dying or anything (laughs).”

-That’s true, of course (laughs).

G: “It’s what I was talking about before right? It’s beautiful because it has a limit.”

-But didn’t you yourself have any complicated feelings about making this unparallelled show, this VISUALIVE that you finally completed, the last one?

G: “No, I have them, but I think that maybe, if I’ve created the VISUALIVE style, then people who aren’t me, I can be the producer for the next one, and the kids who can perform it can make something even more powerful. Well, if when I finish this LAST VISUALIVE, I feel like I can do the next one, I probably will. It’s just, you know, psychologically? My band members have followed me for 17 years, and I guess they’ve gotten a lot older. I do have the feeling of wanting to try new things, including music related things. But I also feel that I’ve gotten too old to attempt something that could be called a VISUALIVE. I wish I’d been able to do it sooner. That’s why from now on I want to give young people the opportunity to do it, and I feel I should probably move into a position of supporting them from the sides. But I’m not going to quit music or anything, I haven’t figured out in what form I’m going to do live shows in the future, but in any case, I am going to perform internationally.


G: “That doesn’t mean doing the VISUALIVE internationally. As you know, taking the VISUALIVE overseas involves extraordinary difficulties. The budget would be too big, so it can’t be done.”

-Now that you mention it, back when you did “RRII” too, it took 11 trucks just to move the stage sets, right?

G: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was like, “What the hell are we doing?” (laughs) “This is just stupid” (laughs).”

-I just thought of this again, but you only release new albums when you do a VISUALIVE, right? And it’s been seven years since you did a VISUALIVE… so about six and a half years since you released a new album. If you think about that for a while, it’s impossible, right?

G: “Ahahahaha!”

-It’s like, you’re not constrained by common sense at all, it’s such a huge scale.

G: “Business-wise, you can’t do it.”

-Profitability isn’t even under consideration.

G: “I don’t think about it business-wise, and if I think about music along the lines of being a business, then I’m not suited for music as a business. I’m more like painters or people who make vases, because I have a strong feeling of wanting to do the things that I can create. That said, when I thought about it being too tough for my fans if I said “Well, just wait until then”, I did a lot of fun things in the meantime. I’ve been doing Camui Gakuen and a lot of stuff.”

-Are your internal perceptions of live shows and VISUALIVEs very different?

G: “They are different. VISUALIVEs and live shows are completely different. Because VISUALIVE is, of course, what I’ve always been pursuing inside myself. Because it’s my own way of expressing things. If it were just a normal live show where you express things through performing songs, I could do them forever. But on a mental and physical front, on a lot of fronts, it’s difficult to continue doing VISUALIVEs. Performing with so little consideration of profitability doesn’t fit into the entertainment business either.”

-That’s true. You said a moment ago that you’re closer to a painter or someone who makes vases, but from the way you pursue your expressions I feel like you have an artist’s disposition.

G: “That said, if all my staff died or something I’d be in trouble (laughs), they sell tickets and stuff. But thanks to them, we sold out most venues immediately.”

-You added a lot of additional shows, but there were so many people who wanted to see this LAST VISUALIVE and were waiting for it.

G: “When I think about them waiting like that for what we’ve made, I’m very happy and grateful.”

-Can you let us know any inside details on what visuals and sets you’ve prepared for this show?

G: “You can enjoy that when you see it. But I think you’ll feel like, “Wow!” For my core fans it will be like, “Yeeeessss!!!! I’m getting goosebumps!” (laughs). I think it’s really the kind of show where you can say “Yeeeessss!!!!” with a lot of exclamation marks. Like, “What! He’s doing this!?” “Yes, here it is!!!!” “Yeeeessss!!!!” So the whole screen will be covered in “Yeeeessss!!!!” [Note: He’s comparing it to a NicoNico video where people’s comments show up over the video and completely hide it when the audience gets really excited.] I think it will be that kind of world.”

-I’m getting excited! Does the “LAST” mean you’ll be putting more KiAi into it than usual?

[Note: Kiai is a martial arts term for spiritual energy, written 気合 (energy+put together), GACKT always writes it as 気愛 (energy+love)]

G: “No, no, no. Because my feeling of wanting to make something good is always at MAX when I do things like this. And at those times ideas just keep popping out. But the more I say them, the more it becomes a battle with the budget. How well can I make it? What’s important is the ideas and the ability to realize them, the ability to carry them out, the ability to act. Well, there are some shocking images and stuff, so people will probably think “What on Earth is happening!?” (laughs). At a glance it doesn’t seem connected at all, but you’ll feel that everything is connected, like “What is this? It feels bad!” (laughs). But at the end you’ll be touched and everyone will definitely cry. It’s too [emotionally] painful, yes, painful is the best word for it.”

-Ah… so after the VISUALIVE shakes up all your emotions, at the end it will be so painful you can’t stop crying. How many handkerchiefs should we prepare for this show?

G: “Wouldn’t it be better to bring a huge bath towel? (laughs).”


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 26th, 2016 11:59 pm (UTC)

This is amazing, thank you.
I'd love to see a Gackt musical XD

Aug. 27th, 2016 05:46 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much for this translation! Very fascinating, and I love his ruminations on the moon watching humanity. Also thank you for the note on how G writes Kiai! ^_^
Aug. 27th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks a lot. I didn't even try to make a summary of it. I guess it's a good thing to read before watching the shows (or broadcast) cause suddenly everything makes much more sense... but maybe it would ruin some fun.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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