Music / Miyavi

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The artist as of 2017.
Influences:
Miyavi (stylized sometimes as 雅-miyavi-) (Japanese: 雅) (born Takamasa Ishihara on September 14th, 1981 — Japanese: 石原 貴雅 Korean: 이기아), also known as Miyavi Lee Ishihara, is a Japanese musician, actor, and businessman. Born in the Konohana-ku ward of Osaka City in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan, Miyavi originally grew up wanting to become a soccer player before seriously injuring his knee as a teenager. During a deep depression after his injury, a friend gave him a guitar to cheer him up, which he began to learn to play while recovering. Realizing he genuinely enjoyed the guitar and had a fondness for rock music, he moved to Tokyo in 1999 at the age of seventeen to start a music career.

Joining the already established Visual Kei band Dué le Quartz in the summer of 1999 as a guitarist and backing vocalist under the stage name Miyabi, the band achieved indie success within the visual kei scene, releasing four albums, six singles, and nine videos until the band's disbandment in 2002. After the disbandment, he changed his name to Miyavi and remained signed with Dué le Quartz's record label PS Company as a solo artist, releasing his first album Gagaku in 2002 and the singles "Shindemo Boogie-Woogie", "Pop is dead" and "Jingle Bell." His first major album, Miyavizm, was released in 2005, peaking in the top ten of the Oricon charts, and he embarked on his first world tour in 2007. Toward the end of 2006, Miyavi moved to Los Angeles, California for six months to study English and dance, where he would often give free street performances at the Venice Beach boardwalk and Santa Monica Pier.

In 2004, he starred in a fictional quasi-autobiographical film called Oresama, where he travels back in time to Osaka in 1984 and starts a band. Yes, that is the plot of the movie. Ten years later, he was personally selected by Angelina Jolie to play the role of Mutsuhiro Watanabe in the 2014 film Unbroken.

In March 2009, Miyavi married former J-Pop artist Melody Ishikawa (stylized as melody.) in a private ceremony, shortly before his departure from PS Company. Their first child, Lovelie Miyavi Ishihara, was born in July of that year, and their second child, Jewelie Aoi Ishihara, was born in October 2010. After moving to America in 2014, he currently resides between Tokyo and Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.


Album Discography:

  • Gagaku (2002)
  • Galyuu (2003)
  • Miyavizm (2005)
  • MYV Pops (2006)
  • Miyaviuta - Dokusou (2006)
  • This iz the Japanese Kabuki Rock (2008)
  • What's My Name? (2010)
  • Live in London (2011)
  • Samurai Sessions (2012)
  • The Others (2015)
  • Miyavi (2013)
  • Fire Bird (2016)

Filmography:


Miyavi provides examples of:

  • Album Filler: The instrumentals on Galyuu.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Selfish Love", "I Love you I love you I love you and I hate you", "Girls, be ambitious." to name a few.
  • A Friend in Need: Make that a country in need. In the immediate aftermath of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Miyavi stayed on Twitter almost nonstop, tweeting information and trying to help victims and raise awareness of the earthquake. Some have noted that he was constantly posting for 36 hours from the disaster's beginning, went offline for six hours, then returned to post more about the quake and relief efforts.
    • He donated a hefty portion of the earnings from his 2011 European tour to relief efforts, and had a donation box set up at every concert.
  • As Himself: A time-traveling, Adam Westing example in Oresama.
  • Audience Participation Song: "What's My Name" and "Are You Ready to Rock?"
  • Babies Make Everything Better: This is essentially how he describes becoming a father, and in addition to doting on his children, he's credited them more than once for making him a better man.
  • Badass Boast: From "SURVIVE":
    "I'll bite you so you can't look away
    Who the fuck is saying I already lost my fangs?
    "
  • Big Rock Ending: He has a few, especially in his early work.
  • Bishōnen
  • Breakup Breakout: Arguably the most successful out of the members of Dué le Quartz.
  • Breakup Song: "Kekkonshiki no Uta", "Girls, be ambitious".
  • Broken Record: "Kusare Gedou He (Son of a Bitch)", "Saisaisainara Byebyebye", "ROCK'N'ROLL IS "NOT" DEAD", "Aho Matsuri"
  • B-Side: Most of his singles.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Part of why he does not suffer the Half-Breed Discrimination most mixed Japanese face is because he does not really acknowledge his Korean ancestry often, and identifies as Japanese.
  • Children Raise You: Pre-fatherhood Miyavi wore crazy clothes, had crazy hair, and acted crazy as hell. Post-fatherhood Miyavi is mature, calm, and has toned down his wardrobe and insanity. He's openly stated that being a dad changed him and made him calm down.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He has his moments, especially early in his career.
  • Cover Version: "Blew" by Nirvana.
  • Disappeared Dad: Has been estranged from his father for the majority of his life and only recently has shown any sort of acknowledgement toward him, stating that he used to hate him but as he became a father himself, he began to understand him better and grew to respect him more.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": No one even knew his real name prior to 2009, and very rarely will you see him credited in films or works as Takamasa Ishihara. Even when he used his legal name for billing on Unbroken, he did all of the press releases and interviews as Miyavi.
    • He went so far as to use a fake first name during The Reveal of Oresama, causing many fans to actually believe his name was Ryuuji for a couple years.
  • Doting Parent: A good half of his Instagram feed is photos of him with his daughters, if not more.
    • He also once interrupted his act, held up his daughter and had the audience sing "Happy Birthday" to her at one of his concerts.
    • He's also stopped while performing to say hi to them in the audience, and proceed to gush about how much he loves them onstage.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Played with in his Due Le Quartz years and Neo Vizualism era.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Jikoai, Jigajisan, Jiishiki, Kajou" from the album Miyaviuta - Dokusou.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: So many YouTube comments along the lines of: "I'm male and I think he's hot." So many...
  • Evolving Music: Miyavi's Due Le Quartz covers and the Samurai Sessions EP.
  • Family Man: He really, really loves his kids. See Doting Parent, Papa Wolf, and Children Raise You for examples.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Married his wife after being together for a little over a year. Which isn't too bad...until you realize he was touring for about half that time span.
  • Genki Girl: In a Rare Male Example, his early years were full of this. His personality up until maybe 2009 was a mix of this, The Idiot from Osaka and Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Genre Roulette
  • Genre Shift: Genre Revolving Door may be better suited to him. He's experimented with almost every imaginable genre, and some that might not even exist to anyone other than Miyavi himself.
  • Graceful Loser: "Kekkonshiki no Uta" is written from the point of view of one.
  • Gratuitous Engrish: Happened a lot in his early music.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Three of them.
  • Grief Song: A popular theory surrounding the song "Itoshii hito (beta de suman)" is that it was written for his unborn child that had either miscarried, was stillborn, or aborted.
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Shindemo Boogie Woogie", "Hatachi kinebi (Peter Pan Syndrome)."
  • Happy Birthday to You!: He has a tendency to sing this to his daughters onstage, and makes it into an Audience Participation Song.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In his early days, he was prone to randomly shrieking in a shrill, hoarse voice at the top of his lungs at anyone, anything, or nothing in particular. For absolutely no reason whatsoever.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: His breakdown after learning that a soccer-induced knee injury would prevent him from going pro plunged him into one of these. Then his friend gave him a guitar, and the rest is history.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: "Jibun kakumei".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gackt, and Kai from The GazettE.
  • Human Notepad: The man is covered in tattoos that are quotes, phrases, or Japanese characters. Including:
    • "382" on his fingers (left hand): the numerical form of Miyavi.
    • Due Le Quartz on his right wrist
    • The entire Buddhist Heart Sutra in Japanese on his back, and the transparent character of his Korean surname, Lee, overlapping it.
    • ΜΨΩ on his fingers (right hand): "MYV" in symbols.
    • 二千十一三十一: 3/11/2011, the date of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
  • I Am the Band: Miyavi did this for his early albums, programming the drums and bass, while playing the guitar and singing.
    • His live band that accompanies him on tours is called Ishihara Gundan, meaning "The Ishihara Army."
  • I Have Many Names: 雅, MYV, MYV 382 TOKYO, DJ MYV, 382, The Samurai Guitarist, DJ 382, Miyabi.
  • Intercourse with You: "Secret", in a rather blatant example. The music video borders on softcore porn, and one of the lyrics are "Down on your knees, eat my heat, c'mon and set me free." Way to be subtle, Myv.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Kekkonshiki no Uta ~ Kisetsu Hazure no WEDDING" is about congratulating the woman he loves on the day of her wedding...to another man.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Slips into this at times. His English is relatively commendable, owing the development to the fact that his wife is American and his career has hit off overseas, but he's still not a fluent speaker.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Highly prevalent in his earlier works, and still quite noticeable today.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Most especially during his "Kabuki kei/Neo Visualizm" style era, around 2008.
  • Long Title: Pick a song, any song, from his early works that isn't "Girls Be Ambitious." It's probably some weird, absurdly long Engrish Word Salad title.
  • Love at First Sight: Miyavi and Melody met during an episode of the weekly NHK show, J-Melo, in May 2008. Melody was the host and Miyavi was their Special Guest of the week, and Miyavi is said to have fallen in love with her the moment he walked on set and saw her. They were married ten months later, and as of 2017, are still married.
    • Just watch him during the episode itself. He keeps sneaking glances at her at every opportunity and almost can't take his eyes off her.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Some of the lyrics deal with talking about depression, anxiety, heartbreak, etc...with very, very upbeat music.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: One of the sweetest, most genuine, and humble people you would ever meet. Gets cast as a terrifying Soft-Spoken Sadist in his first international film role.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Is half-Japanese, half-Korean, and has stated in interviews that his Korean name is Lee Ki Ah."
  • Named After Somebody Famous: His eldest daughter is named Lovelie Miyavi Ishihara. He named his daughter after himself. And not even his legal name, his stage name.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: At one point his band included a beatboxer, a DJ, a tap dancer, and a painter. Yes, a painter.
  • Older Than They Look: He's approaching forty but doesn't look a day over twenty-five.
  • One-Man Band: Miyavi has done several live shows where he plays guitar, sings, and plays drums on this thing called a GigPig.
  • Only One Name: Sometimes goes by Miyavi Ishihara; rarely, if at all, goes by Takamasa Ishihara, and prefers to only be called Miyavi.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The PV for "Señor, Señora, Señorita" is just hilarious. He's a salsa-dancing vampire in a matador outfit. Complete with this mustache.
  • Papa Wolf: Stated more than once that in order to channel the sheer brutality needed for the role of Mutsuhiro Watanabe in Unbroken, he had to imagine that the cast members were hurting his kids. He loves his kids so much that thinking of them being harmed gave him the calculated and methodical ferocity required to portray a man who, in real life, tortured and crucified prisoners of war.
  • Power Ballad: "Itoshii hito (beta de suman) -2006 ver.-"
  • Rearrange the Song: Miyavi has done this with his own music a couple of times. Specific examples include "Are You Ready to Rock?" and "Are You Ready to Love," as well as his entire Samurai Sessions EP.
  • Renaissance Man: In addition to being a musician, he's the CEO of a record company (which he founded in 2009), producer, actor, songwriter, parent, and arranger. He can also play the Japanese shamisen, the gigpig (it's a square tiny drum thing), and piano.
  • Secret Relationship: With his wife, Melody Ishikawa. In an old MySpace blog post, Melody stated off-handedly while discussing the files she had lost when her computer crashed that they had been dating for some time prior to their marriage, and she had lost the photos in the crash. At the time, Miyavi was signed to PS Company, a visual kei label that states in their contracts their artists cannot be in publicized relationships or marriages. This is not uncommon in Japan, and once Miyavi's contract with PS Company ended in 2009, he married Melody and went public with the relationship.
  • Self-Titled Album: Miyavi, released in 2013.
    • Nearly-eponymous albums include MYV☆POPS, Miyaviuta -dokusou-, and Miyavizm. Gagaku and Galyuu are written with the same kanji as his name.
    • Inverted and played straight with What's My Name?
  • Shotgun Wedding: Married his wife, Melody, when she was five months pregnant with their first daughter.
  • Signature Style: Slap-guitar.
  • Something Blues: "Aa, Kanashiki Kana Yatoware no Mi no Blues," "Chillin' Chillin' Money Blue$," "21st Century Tokyo Blues," and "Ame ni Utaeba ~Pichipichi Chappuchappu Ran Ran Blues~"
  • Special Guest: While his latest Samurai Sessions tracks are all about this, he has featured quite a few special guests along the way of his career before that. Among others, Pata as his 2nd guitar on Galyuu, and a single collaboration with Sugizo, and another collaboration with Tomoyasu Hotei.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": There is no v in the Japanese language, and his name is derived from the Japanese word "Miyabi." He uses the kanji for Miyabi as well.
    • At times, he's signed his name as 382. This comes from the kun-yomi of the numbers 3 (mitsu), 8 (yatsu), and 2 (futatsu). The kun-yomi for 8 can also be read as hitatsu, and bi is an alternate pronunciation of hi. So 3(Mi) 8(ya) 2(bi) is the numerical form of "Miyavi."
  • Stage Names: Briefly used Miyabi during his time with Due Le Quartz, then he began using Miyavi afterward. He's also used DJ 382, MYV, and MYV 382 TOKYO at different points. His real name is Takamasa Ishihara.
  • Stripperiffic: Invoked deliberately and in spades for the Shindemo Boogie Woogie PV, which seems to take place in an ichya-kyabakura.note 
  • Supergroup: Joined S.K.I.N in 2007, alongside Gackt, Yoshiki, and Sugizo. They played a rather disastrous debut concert at Anime Expo in Long Beach, California on June 29th, 2007, and never reunited.note 
  • Surprisingly Good English: His English has improved immensely over the past decade. Since his overseas career has taken off, his marriage to Melody Ishikawa (a Japanese-American pop-star turned fashion designer) in 2009, and moving to Los Angeles in 2014, he's went from borderline-incomprehensible Word Salad Gratuitous Engrish speaker to almost-but-not-quite fluent English speaker.
    • To better cater to international listeners, the majority of music he has released since 2013 is sung entirely in English.
  • Take That!: "Freedom Fighters" is this toward the Bush Administration.
  • Tears of Blood: During the PV for "Señor, Señora, Señorita."
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Played this persona up to pair with his Cloudcuckoolander Genki Guy personality before he calmed down.
  • The Reveal: In a MySpace post made in April 2009, after his departure from PS Company and the foundation of his record label J-Glam, Inc., he formally announced the record label with a letter prefaced "Ishihara Takamasa, CEO of J-Glam Inc." This is how he revealed his legal birth name to the world.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Kusare Gedou He (son of a bitch)". Half the song is Miyavi yelling "Brainy SON OF A BITCH!"
  • What a Wonderful World: "Subarashiki kana, kono sekai" (marketed overseas as WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD)
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: "2 B Wiz U," "Thanx Givin' Day," and "Kabuki Boiz" to name a few.
    • Miyabi is a Japanese word meaning "refinement" or "elegance." Because Japanese has no "v" sound, his name qualifies as this trope.
  • Visual Kei: Started out as this, and has experimented with the style almost as much as he has with his music. He calmed down once his daughters were born, dropping the style completely by 2013.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The aptly titled "Freedom Fighters" lampshades, of all things, the September 11th attacks. Which is slightly uncomfortable when you realize the song is a Take That! at the United States of America.
    "Take the wheel, boy, and charge (not into buildings) into this era."
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