Hanging out with the Michael Jackson of Japan

Published August 7, 2018, 4:09 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Meeting Japanese superstar Gackt is like eating chocolate lava cake: You get blown away once you get to the inside.

(From left): Japanese Pop superstar Gackt, Ron Overman, the author, and Emil Buencamino (mb.com.ph)
(From left): Japanese Pop superstar Gackt, Ron Overman, the author, and Emil Buencamino

The musical genius is simple, unassuming. Being Filipino with no knowledge of Japanese pop culture, I was clueless about him. A quick look on Wikipedia revealed that he is  musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor rolled into one. Since 1993, he has had nine albums and released 48 singles. He holds the male soloist record for most number of top ten consecutive singles in Japanese music history.

“I used to be part of Malice Mizer but they kicked me out. After a year, the group disbanded because they could not produce original songs. I wrote almost all the songs ever since I joined Malice Mizer. Shortly after the band disbanded, my best friend who was the drummer suddenly passed away. It was a tough time for me. But I used all the negative feelings to create something positive. I wrote more songs and conceptualized my first concert arena tour ‘Mars’ which was launched in 2000, and ‘Requiem Et Reminiscence’ a year later. It’s a mix of film, concert and theater play.”

I checked out his concert tours which had a minimum of 30,000 screaming fans in the biggest arenas in Japan. I started feeling privileged as he was treating me and my husband lunch just then at a Korean restaurant.

So, what’s a Japanese superstar doing in the Philippines? His good friend Ron Overman, an American living in Cebu, revealed, Gackt cannot walk around , eat or do normal things in Japan. The women swoon over him, the paparazzi follow him everywhere, and it’s just frustrating for somebody who wants a private life.

“So, he decided to live in a Southeast Asian country nearby and in the Philippines. He has a house in a province here which I am not at liberty to say where. There he walks around as regular folk, unless of course we meet some Japanese women, then the mayhem begins.”

What impressed me with Gackt is his talent. This guy is a prodigy. At three years old, he was already playing classical piano. Reaching his teens, he already knew how to play the violin, horns, drums, and guitar. In his ’20s, he was already writing music that would always be number one in the Japanese charts. Later, he starred in films and headlined mind-blowing concerts and productions.

Now in his ’40s, Gackt has invested in big-time business ventures. This man is a genius and I want to eat his brains out. But since I couldn’t, I decided to just pick his brain. By the end of the day, I was a fan of this “lodi” (idol) named Gackt.