BUCK-TICK 35th Major Debut Anniversary Concert
Sakurai Atsushi: “We’re still going!!”

23 September 2022




5-piece rock band BUCK-TICK who celebrated the 35th anniversary of their major debut on the 21st of September has begun their two consecutive nights of concerts at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama’s Kohoku Ward to celebrate this milestone on the 23rd.

This is the 9th time they are performing at Yokohama Arena and 6 years since their last. With a 12,000-strong audience in attendance, they started off the show with ICONOCLASM from their album TABOO which became their first number one ranking album on the Oricon Chart in 1989. Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi (56) greeted the crowd with a, “Welcome. Do enjoy yourself,” turning them into a bubbling pot of excitement.

It has been 35 years since they debut in 1987. Their ingenious brand of music which blends a variety of genres started the “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon”, and these five long-standing members of the band have been at the forefront of Japan’s rock music scene with successes like performances at Nippon Budokan and Tokyo Dome in 1989 to back them.

On tonight’s stage, they performed 21 songs from their entire career’s discography including their signature song Aku no Hana, their first number one on the Oricon singles chart in 1990, and for the first time, Sayonara Shelter, their new song that was included in their best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was recently released on the 21st. They also delighted fans with flashy performances that saw 12 laser machines, and giant LED screens and lighting.

Their concert DVD of last year-end’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara~SHOW AFTER DARK~in Nippon Budokan was also released on the 21st. They will also be kicking off their first national tour (21-show run) in three years on 13 October.

Sakurai thanked the audience, saying, “We’ve been doing this for 35 years. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you.” Then, he declared, “We’ve got our tour in October, and another show tomorrow. There are still more new recordings to work on. We’re still going!!” Unstoppable is the momentum of legends who are celebrating their anniversary year.



Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sanspo




Sakurai Atsushi

Of Timid Bravery

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Nakano Hirohisa
hair & make-up by Yamaji Chihiro_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

outfits by


This armada gets moving once again ahead of their 35th anniversary year. It starts with the long-awaited fan-club exclusive tour kicking off in the beginning of summer, then Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday bash in August, and the release of their conceptual 5-CD best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. this month. In this same period, they will also be holding their 2-day concert event THE PARADE at Yokohama Arena, followed by their first national tour in three years that starts next month.

Closing off the celebration of their anniversary year naturally brings us to an upcoming new album, but for now, we want to hear from Sakurai Atsushi ahead of it. Sayonara Shelter is the one and only new, unreleased song that has been included in the best-of collection. The way it captures an unfiltered reality with its straightforward language is filled with will-power and determination unlike any before. It was reported last month that he was tested positive for COVID-19 and had made a full recovery after the resulting quarantine, but this interview was held sometime in July, before any of that happened.

I thought it would be more strenuous initially
But I was surprisingly okay. I think the audience probably have it tougher than us

―― It’s late July now and you’re right in the middle of your fan club & mobile members-only tour.

Sakurai (S): That’s right. Well, finally…… I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because we haven’t been able to hold a concert, much less a fan club-exclusive one in about two years.

―― How did you deal with the physical and mental challenges from these concerts?

S: We’ve been busy with recording work for our new album. I had to wrap up all my work about three days ago, so the switch [from recording mode to concert mode] was difficult. Because I can’t effectively work on more than one thing at the same time. So because I was having a hard time with it, I left (song selection and all the other preparations) to everyone to handle. They were old songs so I didn’t have all that much difficulty there. Whatever else, I wouldn’t know until I’m standing on stage anyway. Since things will always be different in rehearsals.

―― My body’s undergone changes too after the past two years and when I attended concerts in recent times, I found myself wondering, “Is it really this tiring to stand for two hours straight?” (lol). How do you find it as a performer?

S: Ah…… I actually thought it would be more strenuous initially. But somehow, my body was surprisingly okay. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been keeping myself on my toes with recording work, and that’s kept my mind busy. It’s surprisingly taken a weight off my shoulders.

―― That’s a good thing then.

S: Yes. I did wonder whether or not I’d be able to do it okay before it started, but my voice sounded better than I expected. I just feel kind of bad for the audience, though. They have to keep their masks on throughout the event, and have to stand in designated spots, and can’t even respond with their voices. I know it can’t be helped because that’s the situation that we’re in now but…… I think the audience probably have it tougher than we performers do in all these different areas.

―― But being able to see you is enough of a something to be happy about.

S: That’s true. But because they can’t respond vocally. There’s this unnerving intensity. Since everyone’s wearing masks, there’s a superabundant, concentration from their eyes (lol).

―― Concentration from the eyes (lol). Are your band mates enjoying it too?

S: It allows us to vent out our energy in a setting completely different from recording after all, so everyone does seem to be enjoying themselves. Yeah.

―― Also, just confirming, you’ve already plunged into the actual recording work for the new album and it’s no longer in its conception stage, right?

S: That’s right. Yes.

―― So, although It was impossible for you to go on a proper national tour for ABRACADABRA, you’re already moving on to your next album.

S: Because first of all is our 35th anniversary celebration year. We’ve got our best-of collection, the fan club concert during [the anniversary year]. And later comes the release of our new album next year to end it. That’s the series of events we’ve got laid out.

―― In recent years, I believe you’ve generally followed the cycle of closing off an album’s chapter only after you’ve had a tour for it. But now that this has changed, did it affect anything? Like the songwriting vibe, or the themes that Imai-san comes up with?

S: Right…… While I was having a discussion with Director Tanaka, about things like, “Is this format going to work?”, though, well, I can’t really go into detail yet, but something like a vague, overarching theme resulted from that. Although…… I’m already doing whatever I want anyway.

―― Eh, what do you mean?

S: Well, in terms of general themes, hope, despair, that kind of a world. Although, that might just be a narrative I imposed on myself. But even then, anything else just goes in one ear and out the other for me, so. …… Despair is all I can write about!

―― Fuhahahahaha.

S: That’s all I have to say.

―― Even so, do you feel fulfilled in your day-to-day life?

S: Yeah. I’m very much fulfilled with how I approach what I produce and what I do. With the exception of these, there are a lot of things I don’t want to think about so I make it such that I don’t. Now, I just want to hurry up and move on to recording my part for the next song.

――Excuse me for saying this, but you’re very motivated, aren’t you?

S: That’s right. Not in a desperate way, though. It’s strange, but it could be because I’ve been working at things as if it’ll be the last time ever.


In the past, I think I would play it cool, avoid being clear, kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though
I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place.

―― I think I said this a year ago as well, around the time of Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s release, but I’m getting the impression that the present version of Sakurai-san has picked up a defiant stance, in a good way.

S: That’s right. I’ve been able to focus on music, the things I want to do. You could say that I don’t want to think about anything else.

―― Can you think of anything that might’ve caused this?

S: Hmーm, well, part of it is growing older, and that I’d start wondering vaguely about things like, “How many more years can I do this?” I’m not feeling pessimistic to that extent, though. But also, all the recent…… incidents, accidents, ah, well, frankly speaking, wars, and all that. Witnessing all of it, it’s like, I don’t feel like it’s just someone else’s problem. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. It might sound like an exaggeration, but I’ve come to feel that I wouldn’t even think it odd if tomorrow something happens to this Japan we live in. And since that’s the case, I feel that I can push ahead with whatever I can do and want to do.

―― A world in decline inspires Sakurai-san.

S: Right…… Putting it like that makes it sound shrewd, doesn’t it? As if I won’t do anything unless something like that happens. But in the end…… it seems like it’s in my character to turn these kinds of negative events into fuel. Anger and sadness, I’ve come to realise recently that these are sources of energy for me.

―― Actually, just 10 years ago we could never have imagined that things like epidemics and wars would actually be happening in such close proximity to us in the 21st century.

S: That’s definitely true. That’s really what it is. People might say that we can’t really help that infectious diseases occur and that may be so, but on the other hand, wars are essentially a man-made disaster, and I think it’s something that can be stopped if person A and B and C and D decide to say “stop”, right? Whenever I see the news, I find myself wondering how such a thing can happen in the 21st century…… It’s shocking. Just heart-wrenching, isn’t it? That all the children and ordinary people…… It just makes me wonder “why?”.

―― This exact frame of mind is depicted in Sayonara Shelter, the new song which you’ve included in DISC1 of your upcoming best-of collection, right?

S: That’s right, yes.

―― The music is quintessentially Hide-san, with how beautiful it is. Writing about such a concrete subject for this melody pulls your emotions right into it from the very beginning.

S: Yes. I think the past me would likely play it cool, avoid being clear [about the subject matter], kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though. I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place. And the best thing I can now is to do things as I see them, as I feel them. No matter what, this…… When I’m shown videos of children and all those…… There’s no other outlet (for my emotions).

―― The lyrics are written in the perspective of both parties involved with the very first line going, “Someone is coming to kill us (誰かが僕らを殺しに来るよ)”, followed by the next, with, “Am I going out to kill someone (わたしは誰かを殺しに行くの)”.

S: That’s right. Like, what if it was you in that position and you can’t remain a bystander, what would you do? If those who fled to Poland were asked whether they could leave their families behind and go back to Ukraine…… If I was in their position, what would I do? That’s something I thought about too.

―― What would you do? Do you think you’d go back and take up arms?

S: Ah…… Well, if I wanted to sound cool, I’d probably say yes. But I don’t know what I’d actually do if that really happened to me.

―― No matter the choice, we’re all still human after all. And no matter the choice, I think you’ll always have people around you saying, “That’s it, that’s the right path.”

S: That’s true. Really…… because they’re going at each other, brandishing ideals, right? Actually, even now, I still can’t believe it, like, “Is this really happening?”

―― Was there any hint of reservations or expressions of bewilderment from your band mates at lyrics written in such a disambiguous manner?

S: None at all. Um…… I created an atmosphere that didn’t allow them to say anything.
―― When you say this with that look in your eyes, the only thing to do is to shut up (lol).

S: Fufufu. There actually were opinions for and against this within the band, but ultimately, the desire to make people listen to it won out. After I recorded my part for the song, even Director Tanaka-san said, “This is probably something that needs to be announced now.” And so, we decided to include it in the best-of collection.


I’m definitely one of the weak human beings
A helpless person who cowers in the dark
I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement

―― This might be a bit of a reach, but I think there will be cases where people hear this song and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Isn’t this an anti-war song?” How does Sakurai-san feel about that?

S: Ahh, I had that conversation with Victor’s staff and Tanaka-san about the order of the tracklist in DISC 1, the last three songs in it (REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru, Sayonara Shelter). While we did think that people might not like for us to shine the focus on this area alone…… I think we should even if they hate it.

ーー Fufufufu.

S: Because I feel that sooner or later, the day when we have to talk about these things will come. But…… I think it’s strange to use the word “anti-war”, isn’t it? Because I think war is not something that we need to begin with. Although, it would be good if people would just take it as, “I guess that’s what they’re doing,” when I put these things into song. But that’s not going to happen, is it? I expect that there will likely be people who will want to say, “You guys are hypocrites!”

ーー That’s precisely why most people avoid anything and everything related to topics on war or politics. I think it’s a sensitive thing for celebrities and artists alike.

S: That’s true. But I think that’s good too. To speak nothing of these things at all, to spend more time making people laugh and smile in other ways, to sing songs that inspire people to look forward to tomorrow. I think they’re awe-inspiring if someone is able to express themself like that. But that’s not something I’m capable of. I suppose that’s because I’m not mature enough as a person, though.

―― No, that’s not true.

S: Of course, I have all kinds of dilemmas. While I’d be concerned if people didn’t get the message at all [when they listen to the song], there are also times when I’d feel disappointed when I start to wonder whether we’d be able to make money with such music. But that said, it’s not as if there are all that many other things that inspire me anyway. It’s all now very unstable, isn’t it? Both the world at large, and for the individual person too. But the real problem is that proper adults are killing people. Simply put, they’re getting children all wrapped up in this as collateral damage. To that, I wanted to say, “Why?” from the children’s perspective. And I said it earlier too, but [other people] misrepresenting that, changing [some part of its meaning], implying [something else]…… “I can’t be bothered!” That’s how I feel.

―― Don’t you think that you’ll need to have crossed a certain boundary to be able to say this as the person who wrote these words and sings it?

S: Yes. That did happen. Well, you could also say it’s being mentally prepared on the inside. Sort of like a, “This was what you said at that time, right? Since that’s the case, you should turn what you felt into something that strikes other people even harder.” For me, whatever strikes my heart deeply gets turned into the flesh and blood that forms my words. Since this is the line of work I am in, as long as I have a choice, my first consideration wouldn’t be whether this is a good idea or not, but rather my desire to stir up strong emotions in other people. That’s the kind of premeditated transgression it’s come to. Because in these past few years, we’ve had war, and COVID-19, and in all of that, I’ve been wondering, “What should I sing about?”

―― So that’s what it’s been like for you.

S: Yeah. If I’m making my move, I might as well go all out and take the plunge. Kind of like the idea of kicking the spring board as hard as you can and flying off.

―― Signs of the times are certainly all around us, aren’t they? Ever since COVID-19, I would think that it’s difficult to write melancholic, despairing songs……

S: No? I’m doing that right now.

―― Ah, really (lol).

S: I’m getting critical acclaim for doing that. Somehow, I’m really excited about this. For my insidious ways!

―― Fuhahahahaha!

S: Perhaps…… This might just be my life’s purpose.

―― Kukuku. Insidiousness and despair are what “Demon King¹ Sakurai” is really made of, right? But if that’s true, then I wonder what disposition and personality Sayonara Shelter’s Sakurai-san will be categorised under?

S: Mm…… But I’m definitely one of the weak human beings, you know? I’m really a helpless person who cowers in the dark. I always say this, but I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement.

―― You’ve portrayed the “shelter” in this song as a safe rendezvous, yet, where does the “farewell (sayonara)” in the song title come from?

S: Ah, that’s because I thought of working in a little drama. [The protagonist] won’t be able to come back anymore but…… Something like that. It’s the same with the “I’m going out to kill (殺しに行く / koroshi ni iku)” that comes in at the end; [the protagonist] is lying. In the song Andalusia ni Akogarete (アンダルシアに憧れて / Longing for Andalusia) by Maashii-san (Mashima Masatoshi), there’s that sense of waiting at station platform for [the protagonist] to come back. Although we won’t be able to see each other, wait for me. …… Ah, you don’t have to keep this in the interview.

―― It’s interesting, so I’ll publish it anyway (lol). But that would make this a song with a tragic ending, wouldn’t it?

S: That’s right. I think I was also writing [these lyrics] with the feeling of how soldiers like me who aren’t all that young, who haven’t even been trained would be the very first to go down. Although the hope that whatever we do helps the children who are waiting back home is of course there.

―― Hope and despair are intertwined. It’s just like what “shadow play” is; the one and only modest form of entertainment that one can create in a shelter that is lit up by only moon or candle light.

S: Yeah. It’s exactly as you said. I think everyone has seen the little girl singing Frozen songs in the underground shelter on the news. Even in these devastating circumstances, such a vibrant individuals and personalities exist. This hope…… If we don’t even have a single candle flame, it would be unbearable, wouldn’t it?

―― Did you feel a sense of clarity after you finished writing the lyrics to this song?

S: ……No, although I would feel relieved after it’s turned into a song and released as a work. The next step after that would include wondering about whether there’d be people who would get upset by this. Those who won’t get it won’t get it anyway. But that’s, well, the freedom of the listener anyway, so they can take it however they want, right? Hm…… And then, there’s also doubt revolving around whether it’s okay for me to earn money with something like this too. I think those are the kind of thoughts I’m always dwelling on in my head.

―― But you’ve never made the decision that you won’t release it.

S: That’s right. Because the story has already been written  in my head. A number of such stories have also been written for other new songs that are going into our next album. At this point, I don’t think anyone can avoid it anymore.

―― The strength to step into this and not allow anyone to say otherwise about it. The Sakurai-san of today is truly incredible.

S: If I held back…… it’s the end of the road for me. That’s what it feels like. I’m a coward, you see. Besides, I’ve fallen very ill before and it’s not as if my family’s all that healthy either. I keep telling myself, “It’s time to take the plunge or it’s going to all be over for you.” Because I really don’t know if or when something will happen.





¹ We often see Sakurai being nicknamed 魔王 (maou), often translated as Demon King, or Prince of Darkness, or even Satan. But what I found interesting was the fact that Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig is called 魔王 in Japanese. The equivalent of Erlkönig in English appears to be Alder King, king of the elves. 



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Anii’s 60th!

Yagami Toll 60th Birthday Live
IT’S A NOW 2022
2022.08.18 (FRI) CLUB CITTA’

text by Hirabayashi Michiko
photographs by Tanaka Seitari (LIVE), Masa (BACKSTAGE)


Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday celebration. Numerous musicians who love and admire him congratulated him on this memorable day. Mentors, juniors, sworn friends, admirers, and his long-time band mates. Such is proof that his yet ongoing drumming career is a happy and blessed one. The 19th of August. This is the report of that one special day.


  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)


Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (1/2)

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi

Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (2/2)

8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi



  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!

With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity
Life as a loved and admired drummer is bound to continue on

Yagami Toll’s birthday concert IT’S A NOW! has become an annual event that happens every August since celebrating his 50th birthday at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in 2012. This special edition 60th anniversary show was a celebration filled with love and respect for Anii.

The first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER started the show with all four members facing each other as they began performing BABY. It was confusing to suddenly see the band with their backs to the audience with the exception of drummer Tetsu, but by choosing to start with this song in a way that focuses on the drummer shows their respect for Yagami. During their segment, Tetsu expressed his joy at being able to take part in this celebration with D’ERLANGER, and performed with more power and spirit than usual with their love for their respected senior.

Up next was 5-piece band Yagami Toll & Blue Sky taking the stage with familiar band members Kenta Harada, KANAME, Yagi Masato, and Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/rayflower) joining in as the guest keyboardist. A huge round of applause rose from the audience as Yagami, the star of the day, ascended the drum stage which was decorated with 60 bright red roses. The first half of the show which featured a series of songs from their 2019 mini-album had an intimate atmosphere, as if enjoying a performance with a group of friends who were at ease with each other. Closing off this first half, they covered songs by singer-songwriter SHIME who passed away this March, expressing in music their gratitude and condolences for his indispensable presence in IT’S A NOW!.

The second half was a special segment filled with guest performers. First was a twin drums session with ex-DEAD END drummer Minato Masafumi and ex-BOOWY drummer Takahashi Makoto. The powerful drumming in DREAMIN’ by one drummer celebrating his 60th birthday and the other who was nearing 70 was nothing short of astonishing. After that, Yoshida MInako, who Yagami had always admired, joined them on stage to perform Toki yo and Yume de Aetara at his request. Then, switching places with her were his younger brother Higuchi Yutaka carrying in a bright red silk hat-shaped cake and sworn brother Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) holding a bouquet of flowers on stage to congratulate and celebrate Yagami’s 60th birthday.

During the set change, congratulatory messages were shown on a screen. Familiar faces from the Ayanokoji Sho-led band Kishidan, Carol’s guitarist Uchiumi Toshikatsu who was a huge influence on Yagami’s life, to his junior drummers DIR EN GREY’s Shinya, Spitz’s Sakiyama Tatsuo, BRAHMAN and OAU’s RONZI, POLYSICS’ YANO and many others made comment videos for him, illustrating just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is.

Finally, given the honour of the closing set was, of course, BUCK-TICK. While the members who made up ~Blue Sky from earlier were friends to feel at ease with, BUCK-TICK is the group who will spend the rest of their lives with each other to Yagami. In other words, they are bound together by a common destiny. Today’s show starts with Go-Go B-T TRAIN

“We are Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” Sakurai greets. Following which, he says, “I’m straying into personal matters, but I fell sick with COVID-19.”

That’s right. Today happened to be the very first show that Sakurai Atsushi performed following his recuperation period, but throughout their set, Sakurai drew close to the drum stage numerous times to revere Anii and to reiterate that the star of today’s show was Yagami.

Then, midway, Sakurai announced, “Let’s call on our lovely guest,” ISSAY, who accepted an invitation from Yagami himself came onstage. Together with Sakurai, they performed Itoshi no Rock Star for the first time in 27 years! The sultry singing voices of the aristocrat of darkness and the Demon King. Just as Sakurai went behind ISSAY and put his hands on the other’s hips, ISSAY puts his arm around Sakurai’s shoulders and brings his face close. Faces were blank before this scene, playing dumb as if thinking, “Oh, goodness gracious, what on earth are they trying to show us here?”

Into the hall which had been enveloped in a bizarre exhilaration, the beautiful yearning melody that is Koi gently descended on us before leading into Eureka that had everyone shouting “LOVE” in their hearts and putting up peace signs. 

Then, Sakurai began a humour-filled introduction, saying, “Upon request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.” 

Yagami came after, declaring, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” and with the loud signal of a countdown, they jumped into SEXUAL xxxxx! as the grand finale of the night.

When I first came across the band BUCK-TICK, I never could have imagined what people from my grandparents’ generation would have been like when they plated in a rock band. However, the band’s drummer stood on stage this day wearing a bright red outfit, still looking the same as the day I first saw him with his hair standing high, drumming a tight beat. Loved and adored by many for his caring, loving personality and sincere attitude as a musician, Yagami’s life as a drummer continues from here. With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity as a musician, life as a drummer for Yagami who is loved and admired by many is nowhere near finished, and bound to continue on into the future.




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2021.08.17 Sakurai Atsushi BUCK-TICK

After the cover and feature photoshoot for the special publication PHY Vol.22, this magazine’s photoshoot was done on the terrace of the same studio. Although we knew that we should refrain from putting too much pressure on Sakurai-san who had just recovered from illness, what we wanted in this shoot was Acchan’s smile.  As I stood behind photographer Nakano-san who held the camera, I spoke about how my daughter was aspiring to be a YouTuber and how she was trying to come up with an opening introduction for her channel. And thus, we were graced by the presence of the smiling Demon King. Even though Sakurai said, “Kanemitsu-san, it’s not fair of you to talk about your daughter,” he was beaming all the way until the end of the shoot. By the way, PHY Vol.22 goes on sale on 21 September. The warm, laid-back Hide-san’s book (expanded and revised version) is also slated to be published on the same date. Look forward to it!



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

Interview with Yagami Toll

September 2022

Interview/Text Okubo Yuka

In Russian


I never thought I’d be making music with them for 35 years, much less imagine that I’d still be drumming into my 60s. If I were a working adult I’d already be retiring from the workforce (lol).

BUCK-TICK, who had their major debut in 1987 will be celebrating their 35th anniversary this year on 21st September.

And Yagami Toll, the big brother who was half-forced, half-dragged into the band by Higuchi Yutaka, his biological younger brother, will be celebrating his 60th birthday this year on 19th August.

Stories from BUCK-TICK’s 35 years together and Yagami Toll’s 60 years of life like how he joined the band, what he thinks of his fellow bandmates, the 2 times he wanted to quit, the pros of the drums coming last in the recording process, his current perspective of the instrument, and even about his solo project Blue Sky are all squeezed into this 12,000-character summary of an interview.


Yagami Toll


profile & information

Born on 19 August 1962. Blood type A. Drummer of BUCK-TICK which was formed in 1985. Other members of the band are Sakurai Atsushi on vocals, Imai Hisashi on guitar, Hoshino Hidehiko on guitar, and Higuchi Yutaka on bass. They will be releasing both their 35th anniversary special best-of concept album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. and the Blu-ray & DVD of Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan on the same day, 21st September. They will be performing at Yokohama Arena on Friday, the 23rd and Saturday, the 24th of September at their BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ concert. Additionally, they will also be celebrating Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday on Friday, 19th August with the show Yagami Toll~60th Birthday Live~IT’S A NOW ! 2022 at CLUB CITTA’ KAWASAKI.





―― Since this year marks the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut and Yagami-san will be celebrating your 60th birthday this year too, let’s have a look back at the journey so far. Yagami-san was the last person to join BUCK-TICK and is also the eldest, so I wonder if there’s some part of you that sees the band and your band mates from an outside perspective.

Toll (T): That’s true. Because I was in a different band, and I’ve been watching over them since the days of Hinan GO-GO (lol).

―― The band before what eventually became BUCK-TICK, right. What kind of impression did you have of Hinan GO-GO?

T: Imai (Hisashi) stripped the colour from his hair with hydrogen peroxide or something so his hair had always been brown since high school, so I thought he was kind of different. Basically they came across as quiet and reserved people to me. I think I got to know Imai when he was in his third year of high school. I suppose it was around that time when they formed the band. The lead guitarist of the competition band that I was in was one grade Acchan (Sakurai Atsushi) and Imai’s senior. At Fujioka High. That person taught Imai and Hide (Hoshino Hidehiko) how to play the guitar, and the bassist of that same band taught Yuta (Higuchi Yutaka) bass guitar while I taught Acchan the drums. We were in the countryside, so we practised in my home. We still got complaints though (lol). And I think there were times when Hinan GO-GO practised at my place too.

―― While all that was going on, Yagami-san got forcefully dragged into joining BUCK-TICK. What was that actually like?

T: I didn’t like that (lol). Because I liked Gunma. My competition band split up in October of 1985, and about a month after that, Yuta said to me, “We changed our member lineup and we have no drummer so join us.” I told him, “I’m all burnt out and I’m not joking so no thanks.” I turned him down 5 or 6 times over the phone. But then Yuta travelled back to Gunma from Tokyo and started packing my things without asking me. So it felt like there wasn’t anything I could do about it so I’ll just help them out anyway. Even though I was living in a huge house back home with my parents, he suddenly took me to an apartment in Asagayakita that didn’t even have a bathroom and I was all, “What the hell is this, give me a break.” (Lol). After we had our first rehearsal, I said I’ll help them for 3 years and if there’s no reaction whatsoever, it could be a deal to debut as an indie band or just anything, if there’s nothing, I’m going back to Gunma. That was the limit that I decided for myself and that’s what I told them. In the end, after about a year and a half, we ended up getting offers from major labels to sign with them.

―― Would you have quit music altogether if you didn’t get the calls from Yuta-san?

T: Even if I continued, I would maybe just play with amateur bands? Because there aren’t many drummers around, are there? That’s why if someone asked me to help, I’d probably do it. I was originally a rebar worker in the first place so I was thinking of going back to that.

―― It sounds like you never even imagined what BUCK-TICK’s future could be at the time.

T: More than that, we were a bunch of people who had only started playing these instruments for 2-3 years. That’s why it’s actually amazing, isn’t it? That we managed to make our debut at the time. We were criticised for how bad we were at music when we debuted, but that’s of course, isn’t it (lol). They said my drumming was just about decent, but that’s also of course. It’s just that the band was aware of our own level and I believe that’s tied to our improvement in skill, you know?

BUCK-TICK isn’t a band that was already perfect at debut;
we’re a band who debuted and then subsequently made steady progress since.

―― This is a famous story, but it’s been said that not involving other musicians in your recordings was one of BUCK-TICK’s conditions for signing with a major label.

T: Correct. Those were the days of the band boom and people who did that were earning big bucks. But when we thought about it logically, that’s as good as strangling ourselves with our own hands. Even if we sound good on CD, anyone who comes to watch us live would end up going, “Huh?” But if a bunch of amateurs work on the recording, the CD would sound bad too so there would be no gap in expectations there. Because it’s exactly what you heard on CD in a way (lol).

―― And because you’ve always presented yourselves as you are all this time……

T: It’s like a live documentary to our fans, isn’t it? We’re actually evolving. BUCK-TICK isn’t a band that was already perfect at debut; we’re a band who debuted and then subsequently made steady progress since. That is sort of what makes us special. Thanks to everyone who patiently watched over us and supported us (lol).

―― When you transitioned from being an indies band to being signed with a major label, did anything change? Perhaps, musically or other conscious decisions?

T: Rather what we changed, I think the more significant difference was that professional engineers were now there for us to work and record properly with. That was something we could enjoy. Also, another thing I remember very well was after we made the decision to debut with Victor, all of us were brought to Victor Studio for a tour. There was a recording session going on for THE ROCK BAND, formerly ANARCHY, and since we belonged to the same production department, they let us watch them work. To us, we’re a generation who grew up listening to ANARCHY and when we actually got to see how they recorded their music, it somehow felt more like an after-school club activity. I think at the time, it’s been about seven years since they first made their debut and they were probably old friends too. Seeing those casual exchanges between them, I was like, “So it’s okay to be like this!” (lol). I do wonder if we were somehow influenced by seeing these people we looked up to work together in such a friendly manner back then.

―― In the four years since then, I believe you had some pretty tough days with recording work and tours and interviews day after day. And during that time, going to London to record your ⁎TABOO album was an experience which left quite an impact on Yagami-san’s sound design work, right?

T: The thing I remember the most about our recording in London was how the food just didn’t taste good at all. I was also shocked that the beer was warm when it came out of the taps in the pubs. I thought the best tasting thing in London was the Big Mac. But I guess that’s got the same standardised quality wherever you go.

―― I intended to ask you about the recording itself (lol).

T: Ah, about drums? (Lol). When we went to the studio for the first time and I did the tuning on my own, the producer stopped me right there and said, “You don’t know this studio.” The producer then proceeded to do all the tuning on his own. I was surprised because his way of doing it was completely different from mine. And another thing that struck me as a huge difference from what things were like in Japan was the voltage. Their voltage was high there so the speed at which they captured sound was quick. That was something I only understood after having been there. The reason behind why Ringo Starr sounded off tune even despite low tuning in the later part of The Beatles’ career.

―― It was a trip that brought new discoveries, wasn’t it? Are what you learnt still relevant even now?

T: I don’t know about that. But that was quite the training, for everyone. Because ⁎ICONOCLASM was the one and only song that was OK in one take, while every other song I drummed like hell. Because my rhythm was apparently off. Imai and Hide didn’t have it easy either. He could tell when they weren’t pressing the frets properly with this finger and that finger just from how the sound wavers, and their hands got all beat up (lol). Then again, it’s because he was already angry with us from the very beginning. The moment we first arrived at the studio, he was all, “You guys were supposed to practise beforehand.”

―― While going through those hectic days, you got struck with an incident out of the blue and ended up with a half year long probation. Yagami-san said before that this period of time allowed you to take a long, hard look at your time with the band.

T: To put it bluntly, it felt like I was under house arrest for three months. Because photographers from the press were everywhere outside. We spoke about this too at the time, but honestly, being there left me all weird on the inside. Because I couldn’t practise at all. During this house arrest was the first time I thought about retiring.

―― Because you couldn’t practise?

T: Exactly. I was on the decline because I couldn’t drum. At the time, I had just entered my late 20s and realising that I couldn’t produce the same impact and speed after just half a year of not drumming… That’s why I was quite worried. I never expected that six months of doing nothing would result in such a big change.

―― I see. Was there something that changed your mind after this period of abstinence?

T: I think Hiruma (Hitoshi)-san’s involvement in ⁎Kurutta Taiyou’s production as our recording engineer played a big part. I’ve known Hiruma-san before that. He even visited our bathroom-less apartment in Asagayakita before. It just so happened that ⁎HURRY UP MODE had just been released when he visited back then, and when he listened to it on the crappy stereo we had, he said, “Hm~m, there are no lows, huh.” (Lol)

―― Even though they subsequently called it, “An explosively deep heavy bass (重低音がBUCK-TICKする/ juu teion ga bakuchiku suru)” (lol).

T: Yes, exactly. There was no deep heavy bass at all (lol). Hiruma-san was originally a drummer, the sound of drums is huge [to him]. And that’s why, when he did the remastering, he dropped the tone of the drums even lower than the original. That makes me very happy as a drummer though.

I did actually say that I wanted to retire back then, but they wouldn’t let me.
Their reaction was, “What nonsense are you saying?”

―― Because of your work with Hiruma-san, the band began to explore your sound more deeply which resulted in the release of rather experimental works like ⁎darker than darkness -style 93- and ⁎Six/Nine. What is Yagami-san’s view on how things turned out during this time?

T: That we were steadily moving towards becoming more and more niche during a time when all our juniors were putting out million-dollar releases (lol)?

―― Yes (lol).

T: I don’t remember exactly what thoughts I had, but I guess that’s just how we wanted to do music.

―― For Yagami-san, did you personally change the way you drummed together with the changes in the band’s music direction?

T: It just so happened that around the time we worked on Kurutta Taiyou and ⁎Koroshi no Shirabe This is NOT Greatest Hits, I changed the brand of the drums that I use. I had always been using Pearl, a local brand, then I switched to the American brand Ludwig. And since then, I kept wanting to change my drums a lot. It turns out that the brands have tones specific to them. Almost all of the Western music I listened to as a child used Ludwig’s drums. That was something I was aware of. And until that point in time [when I changed brands], I kept trying to recreate that sound with Pearl drums but I could never do it. One day, when I was reading (Rhythm &) Drums Magazine, I saw an orthodox snare that John Bonham and Cozy Powell and everyone used. And I don’t know why but it was on sale, 50% off so I asked our staff to buy one for me. I still remember very clearly that I took it out of the box, set it up without any adjustments, and the moment I hit it, the sound I had been pursuing resounded. Right there and then, I knew that, “Ah, this is it.” That my idea of trying to create this sound using Japanese-made drums was wrong. I realised that it’s about the brand-specific tones. Since then, I have been buying more and more pieces. Instead of going for current productions, I’d go on buying sprees for vintages like models from the 70s and all that.


―― The band continued to evolve with the establishment of your independent management firm in 1996 where Yagami-san was appointed as CEO. Some time ago, D’ERLANGER’s Tetsu-san spoke to Yagami-san when he took on the role of CEO of his own firm, and he said that you told him, “Being president means being the one who protects the band.” Those words really struck a chord.

T: Isn’t that exactly what it is? The captain of a sinking ship is the last one to leave it, right? After he saves everyone. If the ship is going to sink, he’s got no choice but to sink with it. That’s the idea. Back then, I felt that I had to be responsible for everything. Except that I had the same equal share earnings as everyone (lol).

―― In that same year, you also broke away from Victor, your debut label. Looking at BUCK-TICK’s history of events, your activities gradually decreased and there was even a time when you had to postpone a tour because Sakurai-san suddenly fell ill. That was an exceptionally difficult time, wasn’t it?

T: Well, there was nothing we could do, was there? I quite enjoyed the work of negotiation on each occasion though. Deep down, I’m the kind of person who would continue to be defiant even when I’m down on my knees. But I can’t let Sakurai take on those things, can I? My father was a CEO so I’ve always been looking at someone who’s a CEO as an example to take after. There’s this TV show, a pretty old one, where Hana Hajime says to Ueki Hitoshi, “You’re fired!” Seeing that, I commented to my father, “Must be nice to fire whoever whenever.” And he scolded me, “You fool! Firing someone at a whim is dismissal without cause. I’ll get sued!” I was only an elementary school student at the time, but I really got the sense that it’s not easy being a CEO (lol).

―― So after your Mercury era, you switched labels to BMG Funhouse in 2000 where things started to slowly pick up again. Yagami-san was around 40 at the time. You’ve mentioned before that you considered retirement during this period of time because it  was physically demanding for you.

T: That’s right. There was a change in CEO at the time too, to Acchan. There’s a reason for that. It’s written in my autobiography, but I got divorced around that time. That was really tough to handle and my mental state was in ruins. Speaking of my physical form, interestingly, when a person is mentally unstable, they lose their motivation too, don’t they? That’s exactly how I felt back then. And that’s also why I kept making mistakes on stage. Even though rehearsals went perfectly well. It felt like I dug my own grave and went into it myself because of the pressure. That’s why Yuta was raging mad at me quite a lot. Like, “Why does Anii (Yagami) only make mistakes during the actual concert?” Back then, I was also nicknamed “Rehearsal King (Riha King / リハキング)”. To say that I’m only good at rehearsals. That’s how bad things got. That’s why I really was afraid of going up on stage. I didn’t want to be on stage. Because I’d keep thinking about whether I will make a mistake, whether I will fail, and all those kinds of things. Even though I’ve never once thought like that when we debuted, you know? Because, weirdly enough, I was so full of confidence (lol).

―― I suppose Yuta-san threw his honest opinion straight at you because he’s your biological sibling, but how did your other band mates treat Yagami-san in that situation?

T: Everyone knew what was going on so I guess they understood. I think that’s why they suggested Acchan take over as CEO, probably.

―― So that’s what happened. When your mental health is in jeopardy, it’s pretty difficult to break out of it, isn’t it?

T: It’s easier to give up, isn’t it? That’s for sure. I did actually say that I wanted to retire back then, but they wouldn’t let me. If, back then, they said, “Sure, go ahead,” then I’d probably have quit. I would’ve retired.

―― How did they react back then?

T: “What nonsense are you saying?”

―― Thank goodness your band mates are like that. How long did this difficult situation go on for?

T: Probably about 2, 3 years? That’s when I started going to the gym. To build up strength and to improve my mental health. What I train at the gym honestly isn’t the muscles that I use for drumming. But when I exercise, it’s like I forget about everything for a while. It helps to relieve me of all my different stresses.

―― Then, in 2004, individual members of the band started their own solo activities. Yagami-san also formed Blue Sky in which you play music by your musical inspirations. Did that turn out to be an emotional turning point for you?

T: In a way. BUCK-TICK might be as good as a business, but there’s a part of Blue Sky that you could say is a pursuit of amateurism. Even if we mess up, we just laugh it off. Something like that. Our bassist KANAME-san is a veteran too, while Harada Kenta-kun is someone I’ve known for a long time, and our guitarists Yagi (Masato)-san is someone I became acquainted with through Minato (Masafumi)-kun’s introduction, but I’ve known everyone for quite a while already so that’s what made it good. 

―― So the second retirement threat was avoided through fitness.

T: That’s right. First, right before ⁎Aku no Hana, and then before and after I turned 40. Exactly around the time of my climacteric years.

I just hope that we’ll be able to work together for a long time to come. But I’m just taking things a year at a time.
All I want is to make sure that I won’t have any regrets regardless of when my game is over.

―― Since then, it looks to me that the condition of the band and your activities have been soaring to where we are now at this point in time. Although, on the side of recording production, the band changed up its order of recording around the time of ⁎Yume Miru Uchuu to recording the drums last. How did this change affect Yagami-san?

T: Being the first to be recorded, I can’t predict Imai’s effector sounds that would come in later, can I? At best, I could base my guesses off the sample recordings and follow that, but then I’d end up tuning my drums according to a guitar part that isn’t complete yet. If I do this, there is a possibility that the drums could end up getting buried when Imai decides to make a lot of noise at certain parts later on. To this end, recording my part after getting the full complete data means that I can take all of that into consideration, and I can do my tuning and all that better too. So I actually thought that it’s good in that sense. And in fact, this was something that Murakami “Ponta” Shuichi-san did for Izumiya Shigeru’s recording back around 1990. When I went to the studio back when we started doing this, Ponta-san was there and he asked, “What happened?” So I told him, “I’m the last one to record.” When he heard that, he was surprised though. Ponta-san then said this was something they used to do way back in the day. But according to him, it’s not about the tuning but, “It’s good because you get a sense of what the song is supposed to feel like.” Maybe that’s something studio musicians have to think about there and then. So that’s probably why he finds that it’s better for the drum part to come in later after the arrangement is set in place.

―― September’s upcoming best-of concept album ⁎CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. is a collection of songs from your discography categorised into 5 genres that shows us once again how varied BUCK-TICK’s sound can be. While there’s an electronic era, there’s also an era when you went all out with an organic band sound. Was there anything that Yagami-san paid attention to through all the changes in BUCK-TICK’s music?

T: You know what’s funny? We wanted to do all sorts of things in our 20s and 30s. But now, instead, we’re not really doing anything (lol). Those periods come and go, don’t they? Wanting to bury something, but on the contrary, there’s no need to right now. Things like that. In the context of drums, I’ve started wondering about things like, if I hit the cymbals once, is it enough or not? Then there’s the dynamics. How strong or weak it should be. I wouldn’t consider these things in the past and I’d just be satisfied with drumming all out. Maybe I grew tired of that type of cadence or…… I’ve finally become emotionally stable. Because I used to be emotionally unstable (lol). When I had a dialogue session with Tsunoda☆Hiro-san, we spoke a little bit about this. There are people who drum as if they’re angry even though it’s a ballad. That’s because of emotional instability. You’ll gradually learn how to prepare yourself for it and drum. Simply put, with songs like ballads, just drum as if it’s okay for the drums to be inaudible. But it takes time for drummers to get their emotions to that stage, doesn’t it? What I think is that it’s important to learn control because the drum is an instrument that makes loud sounds. Frankly speaking, it’s a noisy instrument to begin with. Because it’s something you hit to play. It’s important to figure out how to make something like that sound musical. That’s all I think about these days. I can’t just focus on using a drum set that sounds good, or picking a cymbal that sounds nice. If Imai tells me, “I want a kind of cheap-sounding cymbal like in Misemono-goya,” then I’d deliberately use a cracked cymbal too.

―― BUCK-TICK’s sound has consistently been revolutionary, and I think that in playing the role of supporting its base, Yagami-san creates a unique groove as someone who emphasises the importance of basics.

T: Although we’re making music in all kinds of different styles, all of it still comes from the same human beings so no matter what we do, it’ll turn into BUCK-TICK in the end. Although, there are definitely times when I don’t have the energy as a drummer, so now, I just want to keep doing my best consistently so that I don’t become a burden. Because symptoms of ageing are bound to come up.  I don’t know how many more years I can keep doing this though.

―― Also, being the eldest in the band, I’ve always thought that your respect for your other band mates is something we can all learn from. I believe that one or two years’ difference in age when you’re younger would’ve been a big difference, but was there a point in time when your attitude towards your band mates changed?

T: This is basically something that has always been. Nothing happened, nothing changed. Besides, I’ve always felt like I’m sort of like a supporting musician (lol). That’s something I often joke about (lol). But it’s nice, isn’t’ it? We’re like the Soul Brothers. Staying together in that sense. I never thought I’d be making music with them for 35 years, much less imagine that I’d still be drumming into my 60s. If I were a working adult I’d already be retiring from the workforce (lol).

―― That’s true.

T: I wanted to be building model figurines of ships at home (lol).

―― Heading towards the band’s 35th anniversary, what do you think about your band mates?

T: I just hope that we’ll be able to work together for a long time to come. Staff members and fans have been telling me, “Please keep going until you’re 70!” But I don’t know about that, right? That’s 10 years later. Having come to this age, I’m just taking things a year at a time. All I want is to make sure that I won’t have any regrets regardless of when my game is over. Because I really don’t know when that will happen.

―― I won’t say “Please keep going until you’re 70!”, or anything specific like that, but I would very much like for Yagami-san to keep on drumming for as long as you enjoy it.

T: A song that Imawano Kiyoshiro-san sang comes to mind. Titled, “I want to be happy but I don’t want to work for it (幸せになりたいけど 頑張りたくない / Shiawase ni naritai kedo ganbaritakunai) (lol). Such a song existed.

―― “Let’s take it easy (ラクに行こうぜ / raku ni ikou ze)”, right?

T: I want to be happy but I don’t want to work for it. The essence of my personality is pretty much an unmotivated person. Or a lazy person. I’m someone who wants to live a life of fun and that’s how I’ve always been since I was a child. If I could, I’d hire someone who looks exactly like me and control them from home. Or maybe we should make a robot that looks exactly like me (lol).

―― No, no, no, anyway, you’re still keeping up with practice even now, playing jazz, expanding the breadth of your studies, right?

T: That’s because I’ve always enjoyed jazz. At one point, I kept buying a stupid amount of drum instructional videos and I watched them a lot. Seeing that, Yuta said, “Looks like Anii has a fetish for techniques.” (Lol) They’re professionals, so it’d be a good thing to remember their techniques, right? He’s just the kind of guy to say those kinds of things. Fetish for techniques. Really makes you wonder what he’s really trying to say to his big brother.

―― (Lol) Everyone, including Anii, has such great posture  when we see you on stage. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why you all still seem youthful to us.

T: It’s not been the same recently. There are some things I’ve noticed. Like, I’m good with BUCK-TICK’s characteristic four-on-the-floor beats, but when we move to faster songs, I start to hunch a little. What I refer to is a boxing methodology. It’s easier to throw punches when slouching your back. That’s what I noticed when I watched boxing matches, and Yamaki (Hideo) has that same, sort of similar kind of hunched posture. That’s something I’ve recently put into application.

―― You’re definitely enthusiastic about research and study. Have you ever thought about what’s next for BUCK-TICK? I recall that you’ve casually mentioned before that it would be better for BUCK-TICK to revisit the organic band sound.

T: Recording is all about creating something, isn’t it? Maybe I’ve been influenced by Blue Sky too. Because Blue Sky gets everything done in one go, more or less. When we record it all in one take, it’s as good as a studio concert, isn’t it? If that’s how it happens, I’d have to practice again, and I’d expect that these sorts of problems would crop up, but I think it’s also good to have songs that have that sense of approximation and ruggedness. It’s not a bad thing to include songs that were recorded in one take in the album. It’s just that…… I don’t think we [BUCK-TICK] would do that (lol). That’s how bands used to do it, right? There wouldn’t be any dubbing done after words. Everyone would just come together and start playing with a “5, 6, 7, 8!” Although, I think that’s only possible because everyone’s really really good at what they do. When I talk to the people I look up to, I think they’re all amazing. Because those people who have hit legend status are all superhuman to me.

―― I would think that Yagami-san is also in that sphere from the perspective of young drummers. Leaving aside whether or not BUCK-TICK is Visual-Kei, I think it’s an inspiration for up and coming musicians to see someone in this scene celebrating their 60th birthday.

T: We often joke about it though, right? That we’re “the pioneering Visual-Kei” (lol). There was no such categorisation in the past, but once it was coined, there were times when I saw our CDs in the Visual-Kei section when I visited record stores and those sorts of places. Whenever I see that, I’d remove them and move them back into the “Ha (ハ)” section¹.

―― I see (lol). Are you against being categorised there?

T: More than that, it’s because we’re not a “kei (系 / genre)”. When BUCK-TICK first debuted, people from Victor’s music production department came to us, and the film department said, “We want to market you as a visual artist.” ‘VIsual’ here refers to film and video. That’s why we made our debut through film, with music videos for not only our singles but also a number of other songs too.

―― Like how all the songs in Aku no Hana and Six/Nine had music videos.

T: Yes, exactly. That was because of our work with the film department. That’s why we’re not a “kei”, we’re a Visual Artist (lol). That’s how Victor’s film department referred to us.

―― There are many of your drummer seniors who are still active in the industry, but does Yagami-san have your own ideal vision?

T: It would certainly be nice if I can continue doing this for a long time to come and finish the race.

―― As a band? Or as a drummer?

T: Band, because that’s fundamental to me. Be it BUCK-TICK or Blue Sky, being able to keep any one of them going would make me happy anyway. Wanting to continue with this for a long time to come is essentially my hope. If I were to do this until I’m 70, as mentioned earlier, then that’s another 10 years. There are times when I wonder whether I can, though. I joke about this a lot, but my drumsticks are getting lighter and lighter, you know? So I keep wondering whether they’d end up becoming as light as serving chopsticks at some point (lol). We’re really doing anything and everything to make things easier.  That said, amazing seniors like Takahashi Makoto-san and ARB’s KEITH-san have never changed the weight of their drumsticks from whatever they used in their 20s. Remarkable people like them are still going strong, so I’ll be doing my best and learning from them too.




『TABOO』= Released January 1989. Their 3rd album.

「ICONOCLASM」= A track from TABOO.

『狂った太陽』= Kurutta Taiyou. Released February 1991. Their 5th album

『HURRY UP MODE』= Released April 1987. Their indies album.

A remixed version, HURRY UP MODE(1990MIX) was made and released as a major record label version in Febuary 1990.

『darker than darkness -styIe 93-』= Released June 1993. Their 7th album.

『Six/Nine』= Released May 1995. Their 8th album.

『殺シノ調べ This Is NOT Greatest HIts』= Released March 1992. A self-cover album.

『悪の華』= Aku no Hana. Released February 1990. Their 4th album.

『夢見る宇宙』= Yume Miru Uchuu. Released September 2012. Their 18th album.

『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』= To be released 21 September 2022. Their best-of concept album in celebration of their 35th anniversary.


¹ 90% of the CDs in music and record stores would be categorised based on the Japanese alphabetical order. In this case, as BUCK-TICK is バクチク (bakuchiku) when written in Japanese, they will belong to the ハ (ha) alphabet.








Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

Concert report of Yagami Toll’s (BUCK-TICK) star-studded 60th birthday celebration

20 August 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka


The report covering Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~ IT’S A NOW!2022, the birthday concert celebrating Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday which was held at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa on Friday, 19 August 2022 has arrived.

While Yagami Toll is drummer to the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating 35 years together with no change in member line up in September later this year, he also carries out solo activities under the name Yagami Toll & Blue Sky and has released an EP, WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- in 2019.

This event was in celebration of Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday, and was held on 19 August, the actual day of his birthday. Apart from the Yagami Toll-led band, Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, there also were performances by BUCK-TICK and D’ERLANGER, and he also shared a stage with guest musicians like his close friend Miyako Keiichi from SOPHIA/Rayflower, drummer Minato Masafumi, Der Zibet’s ISSAY, his mentor-figure Takahashi Makoto, and singer Yoshida Minako whom Yagami has admired since childhood.



On 19 August, stalwart drummer Yagami Toll of the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating their 35th anniversary in September, celebrated his 60th birthday at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa with the show, Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~IT’S A NOW!2022.

This birthday concert has become an annual event ever since the 2012 show at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki celebrating his 50th birthday. Subsequent shows were held at Shimokitazawa’s live house with the Yagami Toll-led Yagami Toll & Blue Sky as the main act performing their original compositions and covering Yagami’s favourite songs. But this year, they decided to throw a big celebration for Yagami hitting the big 60 and had performances by BUCK-TICK, D’ERLANGER, and special guests like Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/Rayflower), Takahashi Makoto, Minato Masafumi and Yoshida Minako joining Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, as well as ISSAY (Der Zibet) taking part in BUCK-TICK’s set. 

During transitions between sets, congratulatory video messages from musicians of all genres of bands were shown too, a testament to just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is. Even the audience’s faces burst into smiles as they watched all the sincere comment videos from stand-out individuals and groups, like the 5 members of Kishidan exclaiming “We knew Anii would be a-okay even at 60!” together, Nishikawa Takanori, fellow Gunma-ite Kanagawa Macoto, his musician seniors Uchiumi Toshikatsu and Nakano Shigeru (亜無亜危異 / ANARCHY), his drummer senior Tsunoda☆Hiro, drummer junior Shinya of DIR EN GREY, Sakiyama Tatsuo from Spitz, and BRAHMAN’s RONZI, just to name a few.

Actor Kuroda Takaya was the backstage announcer for this event, calling in the first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER. As all four members faced each other, they kicked things off with BABY. And Angelic Poetry followed, flaunting the way each and every note could be heard clearly while coming together in the satisfying explosive sound that is unique to D’ERLANGER. Waves alternating between quiet and intensity came and went in Romeo&Juliet, and after performing their hit songs LULLABY and CRAZY4YOU, drummer Tetsu who is Yagami’s close friend said, “I’m glad that we can throw a grand celebration for you in such a large venue today. May our friendship continue into tomorrow, and the day after, and even longer!” 

Singer kyo then said, “To commemorate this day, we’ll be performing a song that everyone is familiar with.” Following that, they performed Oh! My God!; a rock’n’roll song from Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s discography with lyrics written by Yagami himself. It was a surprise for Yagami too, and when the excitement in the hall was at its peak, the band performed SADISTIC EMOTION, a fiery song that perfectly led back to what kyo said in his very first MC: “Do allow me to properly warm up the stage.” And with that, they departed from the stage.

Up next was Yagami Toll & Blue Sky. The drum stand on the stage took on a special look with a display covered in deep red roses. Once Yagami, Harada Kenta (guitar & vocals), KANAME (bass & vocals), Yagi Masato (guitar), and Miyako Keiichi (keyboard) took the stage wearing red t-shirts, they started their session with the instrumental track WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind-. After drawing the audience in with the mellow performance, they got the crowd going with upbeat rock ‘n roll songs SODA ROCK!! and ROCK’N ROLL STAR.

There’s one more person who is integral to these IT’S A NOW! birthday events and that is SHIME, who passed away in March this year. As a tribute to his memory, they covered SHIME’s own song, Top of The Mountain Bar. Footage of SHIME performing with the band was shown on screen, and at times, Yagami could be seen watching it as he drummed.

Next came a twin drums session where they were joined by guest drummer Minato Masafumi in performing CAROL’s Funky Monkey Baby and Good Old Rock’n’Roll, and then by Takahashi Makoto in their performance of Larry Williams’ SLOW DOWN which The Beatles once covered, and BOØWY’s DREAMIN’. Then, Yoshida Minako, who Yagami has professed to being a huge fan of, joined them on stage for a heartfelt rendition of Yagami’s song requests, Toki yo and Yume de Aetara

While still immersed in the afterglow of her groovy singing, Yagami’s biological younger brother, Higuchi Yutaka (bassist/BUCK-TICK) brought cake onto the stage with Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) who carried a large bouquet. All at once, the hall switched into a festive mood. With the celebratory mood in the air, the band then closed off their set with the mid-tempo Blow Wind, the one and only song that the sharp-tongued SHIME ever praised.

SE THEME OF B-T resounded through the hall as the final act of the night, BUCK-TICK took the stage. We departed from the lull with Go-Go B-T TRAIN, the up-tempo number that was a combination of speed and force. With a whine from guitarist Imai Hisashi’s instrument imitating the pressure of steam blowing out, Higuchi rocked backwards, lifting the neck of his bass guitar up high. Guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko’s strumming was sharp and cutting too as the band went in hard and heavy from their very first song.

Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi causally introduced the band as, “Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” and then continued his MC with, “I’m straying into personal matters on this happy day, but I fell sick with COVID-19 despite everyone’s cautioning to be careful. Zero powers of persuasion there.” 

This day marks the very first show that Sakurai is having after his falling ill and recupertion last month. But not even a shred of evidence of that was left in his powerful yet delicate voice as the band went on to perform GUSTAVE and then, Baby, I want you.

“Let’s call on our lovely guest,” Sakurai said before singing, ♪‘Radio kara no Transmission〜’ from Der Zibet’s Shizumitai. A delightful scene followed when ISSAY came on stage singing the next part of the song. Then, Sakurai and ISSAY dueted in their first performance of Itoshi no Rock Star together after close to 27 years.

Following the emotional Koi and everyone throwing up peace signs in Eureka,  Sakurai began a humorous introduction with, “This [next one] is on request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.”

Yagami then announced, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” which led into their last song for the night, SEXUAL×××××!. Just as they jumped into the intro to Yagami’s count, red and silver streamers flew into the air and the audience went wild from this surprise that felt like a return gift from Yagami; a fitting, euphoric end to the night.

After the performance concluded, Yagami remained on stage to tell the audience, “Thank you for coming to celebrate my 60th birthday today.” And finally, to the rest of his bandmates who will in turn hit 60 in future, he added, “I hope we’ll be able [to celebrate like this] three and four years later too.”

The audience gave a rousing applause throughout the performance, and showered love on Yagami, the star of the evening from start to end. The hairstyle that he has kept upright throughout BUCK-TICK’s 35 years of activities is like a symbol of the determination he has had since day one and his love for the fans.

What especially struck me was how quickly they changed the angles of the cymbals for Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s set. As the drum stand was higher up than usual, the audience wouldn’t be able to see Yagami from where they stood if the cymbals were set at certain angles. For this reason, the cymbals were almost horizontal. Such attention to detail is probably one of the reasons he is so loved by many. I hope that to continue seeing his reliable self as the supporting backbone of BUCK-TICK not just three or four years from now, but far into the future too.


<Set List>


  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)

■Yagami Toll & Blue Sky

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi
  8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi


  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!








Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: OKMusic, Lingua Sounda



Feature: What are your favourite things?

Après-guerre Reissue Vol.1
December 2015


Der Zibet celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. As the vocalist of the band, ISSAY’s presence is inimitable. With this issue’s theme surrounding our interviewees’ “favourite things”, we take a deep dive into his mind and catch a glimpse of a surprising side of him through conversation.

Der Zibet、KA.F.KA、ISSAY meets DOLLY


Active with Der Zibet,  KA.F.KA, ISSAY meets DOLLY among a wide variety of activities, ISSAY’s is ultimately a vocalist with an unwavering character whose presence radiates through his performances which incorporate pantomime and, of course, his singing.


Der Zibet OFFICIAL H.P.:



New album, Bessekai

―― Releasing an album this year, in the year of your 30th anniversary, did you take any special notice of things like milestones or turning points during production?

ISSAY (I): I think I’d be lying if I said no, but it’s not as if we paid all that much attention to it either. It was sometime around the end of last year when the band had drinks together while talking about the concept of the album. After that, we only decided on the album’s name after the start of this year. First came the concept, then came the name. And only afterwards did we start to put the music together.

―― Does it mean that everyone has the common idea of another world that isn’t the one we live in?

I: To start, when we were discussing the concept, we decided that we won’t do anything that would get classified as indie, or too niche, or anything like that. Der Zibet has always been a band that is said to be “too niche” to begin with anyway, but we’ve released a few albums since our reunion, and we’re of course satisfied with them, but we feel that we’ve producing them in a friendly manner. And thought, isn’t it about time that we made something that featured our quirks in the limelight? Those were the sentiments that came first. Once we had that down, we started thinking about what exactly were Der Zibet’s quirks, and things like MONDE MOVIE and MONDE FILM and MONDE MUSIC started coming to mind. Which led us to wondering, what’s the definition of MONDE in the first place? Cutting to the chase, it’s something like another world (bessekai / 別世界). As we started talking about how it seems to imply something that isn’t of this world but rather of another, we started to get the idea that Bessekai might be a good idea for an album title.

―― Hearing that gives me the impression that you’re only talking about going back to being “too niche” because this is for your 30th anniversary.

I: I don’t think the other band members feel this way, but for me, personally, I see our situation as a band from 1985, who made the type of music we did back then, thinking about what we want to create in the year 2015. Obviously, 30 years have passed, times have changed and even we have changed in our ways of working and all that, so all things considered, what are we going to do in 2015? What are we going to do now with the same underlying feelings that we had when we first started the band? That’s what I personally kept thinking about.

―― Apart from going in the niche or indie direction, does [this album] have any other tangible differences from your other recent works?

I: Rather than some strong, pointed intention to bring things towards this direction, we simply freed ourselves from our shackles. [Normally,] if I think that something might be difficult to grasp, I’d make small changes to it, right? So that’s something I decided to stop doing this time around. Even when we have [jam] sessions among ourselves as a band, we’d usually try our best to eliminate the thinking that certain parts of our music should be made more easily acceptable. No matter how niche we are, or how much people say we’re indie or whatever, we’re a band who’s attuned to pop, so no matter what, I think our melodies are pop-ish. That’s why we felt that it’s not possible for us to do anything ridiculously outlandish.

―― I also have the impression that as a band, Der Zibet is pop, but this album-

I: Is easy listening? (Lol)

―― -was somehow overwhelming to me from the second track onwards, when METRO was followed by Mr.Bad Trip and then Toki no Boumeisha (時の亡命者).

I: Because that’s the kind of flow we intended with the track order. If we wanted [the album] to sound like pop, we wouldn’t do this (dry laugh).

―― That’s true. So how do you feel about the work resulting from freeing yourself of the shackles of making yourselves easy to understand?

I: There’s quite a big difference when it comes to the lyrics. How do I explain this simply. Say, for example, there’s a second character in the lyrics. In previous albums, I think this second character would be given form and made visible. I’d write “you” and write it all down so the listener would know what kind of person this second character is. But this time, we completely ignored all of that. And we additionally also did our best to refrain from writing typical love songs. Love songs are easy to make sense of. Very easy. That’s what we wanted to rid ourselves of as much as possible. We just want to make the world we envision even more blatantly visible the way it is, you know? And, you can see it, can’t you? You just can’t help it (lol).

―― Because you show us the worlds that could be seen and felt with each song just as they are.

I: Exactly. That’s what it is in a nutshell. That’s why you can no longer describe it with the words ‘pop music’, right? But from each and every one of the songs, you can probably see different worlds in them. I think you’ll be able to see them clearly. But I don’t think there’s anything more to it than simply giving us a view of the worlds that the protagonist steps into. That’s the kind of work it is.

―― Going back to what you initially said about the concept, does this mean that MONDE MOVIE is one of the keys to this album?

I: No, not particularly. It’s just that when we were discussing Bessekai’s concept, the music that HIKARU presented was an instrumental piece. I thought it might be interesting to put lyrics to it, so I did that without anyone asking. That also happened to be the moment in time when I was trying to figure out what kind of lyrics I should write, so this ended up being the very first set of lyrics that I wrote for this album. And once this was done, I was easily able to compose the lyrics to the rest of the songs. For me, there’s this tunnel when I’m writing lyrics and if I don’t go through it, I won’t be able to write. The tunnel this time around wasn’t all that long, but I wrote the very first set of lyrics which were for MONDE MOVIE, without any thought at all and after that, it got easier and easier for me to write. It’s not that I want to do it all in this manner, but I just think it was a really good thing that this was how it started.

―― How did the recording go?

I: Smoothly. I used a hand mic to record my singing this time. I mentioned that there’s one mic that I really favour because I really like how it I sound recorded when I sing into it, and HIKARU said okay, sure. Then, let’s record with you singing into the the mic in your hand. It’s just so comfortable to sing with a hand mic, you know? The last time I sang into a hand mic was when we recorded our second album (dry laugh). Isn’t it nice to not have to worry about how and where you’re standing?

―― It’s the kind of album that makes me think of entering a world while you’re standing still and singing though.

I: Because there’s no song to sing unless I immerse myself in that world.

―― Not that. I was thinking of a more physical sort of world.

I: Like darkening the room? Personally, I generally do keep it darkened but not so much recently, I think. Because I want to make it relaxing, you know? If it’s set up ahead of time, I think it’ll just turn into something that makes my stomach hurt more. Anyway, I just didn’t want to be bothered by unnecessary things any more. I wanted to lose the tension in my shoulders. Does that make it easier to understand? Besides, don’t we use hand mics for live performances too anyway?

―― I just can’t imagine what kind of a live performance this album will yield. Although, I’d expect that there’s some form of live show unique to this album.

I: Well, it isn’t exactly an album with much leeway, is it?

―― Now that the album is complete and you’ve released it, do you think it’s turned out to be what you had imagined when you initially decided on the concept?

I: What we thought of in the beginning was in no way defined. It was something more ambiguous. That’s why it’d be wrong of me to say that we’ve created exactly what we envisioned. We are satisfied with how we executed it; the way it’s turned out with the kind of album name and concept it has. It’s a very experimental album for us from that perspective.

―― So you’re satisfied with the results of your experiment. What do you like about this fulfilling work of yours?

I: I guess I’m satisfied with the fact that it’s got quite a hefty presence as an album. I’m not talking about how it’d turn out in a live performance, but just the way it is as an album. I’m happy with it.

Going home

―― When you talk about going home, you’re referring to returning to your actual hometown where you grew up, right?

I: Literally what it generally means. I go back a few times a year. Although that includes occasions when I go back because I need to attend to something on this day and that day, regardless of my personal intentions.

―― Do you feel more relaxed or liberated when you go back?

I: I don’t. I think when I was about 27 or 28, before then, it felt like the city was telling me ‘Welcome home’ every time I got off the train and stood in the station. But after a certain point, it stopped saying that. It was then when I realised, “Ah, I don’t belong to this city anymore.”

―― What do you do when you go home?

I: I check.

―― Check what?

I: My own pain, for example. It’s a city where a river flows. When I go there, I can check on the pain that I felt from back then. Whatever the time, whether midnight or midday, I’d go to the beach and zone out while staring at the sea, and check on my past self who used to watch the sea like this too. I check and make sure that the person I was back then is still in this body of mine.

―― Is that because you want to stay the way you are?

I: Yeah.

―― I’m getting the impression that this is connected to your being a performer.

I: There’s no doubt that it is related. I need to drop by home, make my rounds and visit each key spot, and check how this sea looks to me at this point in time.

Rose garden

―― Do you like rose gardens?

I: I’ll go once or twice a year. Usually, I’d visit one in Tokyo.

―― I’m definitely very much into the idea of ISSAY-san with roses, but why rose gardens?

I: It’s fun, for some reason (smiles). It feels like I’m on a leisure trip. But I haven’t been able to see the spring or autumn roses. But when I was in Kamakura for business the other day, I went to the Kamakura Museum of Literature and there happened to be a rose garden there so I took photos (smiles).

―― Do roses mean something special to ISSAY-san?

I: That never crossed my mind. But don’t they make you feel, like “whoa” when they’re in full bloom? It makes me feel as if le spectre de la rose from that ballet might be in there somewhere. Like they inspire dreamy fantasies. Although, the same goes for cherry blossoms too. Because I feel a thrill in my blood when I go to places where cherry blossoms are blooming all over, you know? It’s embedded in Japanese DNA. I go cherry blossom viewing too.

―― You’re surprisingly fond of taking leisure trips.

I: I love them. I just don’t think of taking them often. I actually like man-made places and sights. Like places where buildings are all lined up together. I feel like the city is breathing when I see the buildings’ rooftop lights shine and flicker. I love it.

―― And in all of that, you just happen to adore roses.

I: Yes. I’d go and look at the sea. I adore roses. And cherry blossoms. Those are the kinds of things I love.


Roses in full bloom (Taken by ISSAY)
Roses in full bloom (Taken by ISSAY)











Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki



The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko

Ongaku to Hito
July 2021

Text=Kanemitsu Hifumi
Photos=Sasahara Kiyoaki_L Management


On his 55th June

Every year, our magazine will have an interview with this person in his birthday month of June without fail. The fans of BUCK-TICK have probably come to see this interview conducted by Ongaku to Hito with Hoshino Hidehiko as their seasonal Haiku of June. And this year, for the 21st iteration, we took a boat ride on Senzoku Pond (lol).

We had an idyllic time there, but the world has not changed; the COVID-19 pandemic continues and things are no different than one year ago. The interview was also done remotely. I suppose the words from this man who hasn’t changed throughout the past 21 years feel reassuring precisely because we’re In such a time when we can see the exit right there but just can’t seem to reach it. BUCK-TICK is also slowly but surely starting to move off with the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of last year’s film concert and a re-edited version of the stream that was broadcast on 21 September. Adding on, they are also planning a live stream concert with an approach unlike anything they’ve ever done before. Hope is the promise of something in the future. That is something I can feel from this interview despite its usual leisurely vibe. Until the day we cross the big milestone, this annual event will continue on.




Before we know it, everyone is dealing with stress and worry. I think we should figure out how we can turn it into something positive

ーー Continuing our trend from last year, we’re having this interview remotely again…… (Dog barking) Sorry. My dog is responding (lol).

Hoshino (H): You have a dog? Show me, show me!

ーー (Brings it to the PC) Look, this is Hide-san~.

H: Ah, how cu~te. Chihuahua?

ーー Long-coat Chihuahua.

H: Me too, probably some time after last year’s interview. I got one. A Chihuahua and Poodle mix.

ーー Ah, really? Will we make it a tradition to have Mr Editor-in-Chief name the dogs of the Hoshino household?

H: I’ll have to politely decline (lol). It already has a name anyway.

ーー Do you go on walks?

H: It’s a toy breed, so just a bit. Around the park behind my house. But it’s therapeutic.

ーー Alright, then. It’s the day of our annual check-in with Hoshino-san but due to COVID-19 sticking around longer than we expected, we had to abort last year’s plan for an overseas shoot.

H: I didn’t believe it was going to happen anyway (lol). But the weather’s good, and it was nice to go outside. And it’s been a while since I got on a boat.

ーー To think you’d refuse the swan boat……

H: Isn’t that of course (lol).

ーー Hahahahaha. Anyway, even though you managed to produce an album and release it in the past year, you had to stop our tour and turn it into a film concert format, and the only in-person live concert you could hold was our annual Nippon Budokan show at reduced capacity. The type of activities you can do as a band has changed.

H: That’s true. We had this interview at home, remotely, like this too, but neither of us expected that it’d still be the same a year later, right? Because back then, I think we more or less had the idea that things would probably go back to normal by the next year.

ーー It’s just been dragging on, hasn’t it? Since we were spending so much time at home last year, did you do any decluttering?

H: I’ve done all the decluttering I can do, there’s nothing else I can throw away (lol). But although I assume everyone experiences some level of stress and worry, it seems like we’re all getting used to it. Before we know it, we’re already dealing with it. And I think the real challenge here is figuring out how we can turn it into something positive. 

ーー What exactly did you do?

H: I tried to take care of my body as much as I could. And I also barely drank any alcohol.

ーー Hide-san stopped drinking!

H: Besides, there’s nowhere to drink outside anyway. No one’s asking me out either, and after filming our streams and the Budokan performance, we definitely can’t hold an afterparty so I went straight home.

ーー And you’re being mindful of your health.

H: Yeah. I’ve gone running everyday, and today, I went to the dentist. When I feel uneasy about something with my body, It’s easy to get carried away by that and let the anxiousness grow. I guess I’m careful because I don’t want that to happen. In the past, I used to drink without thinking as if I’m bathing in alcohol so I’ll probably have to pay my dues soon anyway.

ーー Then, what do you do at home?

H: I’d only compose something on occasion. Apart from that, I guess it’s prep work for streaming. What else is there to do?

ーー Don’t ask me (lol).

H: Watching TV is depressing. Sometimes I watch movies on Netflix, or I’ll just leave some music from a subscription service playing in the living room.


It would be nice we’d come to live in a world that understands that live concerts are something that everyone needs for their hearts and minds


ーー Any music you’re particularly into recently?

H: I don’t think I’ve got any like that. I kind of prefer listening to smooth music rather than heavy music, so I’d put on playlists like “Western pop to listen to in spring” and the sort (lol). That’s what I’ve got playing all the time.

ーー Hahahahaha. I never expected such pedestrianism from one of BUCK-TICK’s guitarists!

H: I’ll be cooking lunch or something while picking something like that depending on the mood.

ーー As expected of a guitarist with a chef licence.

H: Although, it’s lunch so I’d often default to pasta or noodles.

ーー Let’s rent a kitchen studio and do some cooking next year.

H: What happened to going overseas for a shoot (lol).

ーー Ah, right (lol). Where would you like to visit the most overseas?

H: You know…… The…… What was it (lol).

ーー This happens a lot in your 50s (wry laugh).

H: Ah, Insta. Insta, Insta!

ーー Ahahahahaha!

H: I often see videos of overseas resorts on Insta. And videos that bring you around World Heritage Sites. We can’t go now, so it’s nice to watch those. And dog videos too (lol).

ーー Hahahaha. Don’t you have somewhere specific you want to visit?

H: Oh, right. Last year, before the state of emergency declaration, I went to Miyako Island¹. It’s super nice there. We stayed in a villa instead of a hotel. We frolicked on the beach and before we knew it, a day had come and gone (lol). I’d like to go there again. I recommend it.

ーー I assume you’ve been watching more music events through streaming too.

H: That’s right. Friends send a lot of them to me so I guess I do watch quite a bit. Recently, I’ve been watching the concert streams that were produced by each individual member of GLAY too. And I also got an email from (Kawamura) Ryu-chan² and watched the concert that he held at home. I get to watch these kinds of shows by people who I hadn’t otherwise seen performing before, so I guess I can’t deny that it’s certainly convenient (lol).

ーー Well, it’s become easy to get access to watch.

H: But in the end, I find myself thinking again that it’s definitely not the same as the concerts that we’re familiar with. I ultimately still want to create and experience that atmosphere. That’s why, with our announcement of the upcoming autumn tour, I’m hoping that we can hold a proper ABRACADABRA concert and let the audience experience a live concert.

ーー It’s been a year since its release, but you want to wrap things up properly with an album tour.

H: Yeah, I definitely feel that we have to. Otherwise, it’ll feel like we can’t move on to the next thing. Because our flow has always been to produce an album, go on tour, feel the response, then decide on what we’re doing next.

ーー So, BUCK-TICK will be putting last year’s ABRACADABRA LIVE ON THE NET and TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN together and releasing them as a Blu-ray/DVD,

H: That’s right. When we did that last year, it was partly because it was the only option for us, but also, we went into it with the intention of producing a very good show on video. And as a result, we felt that we managed to create something really great. I did say earlier that the best option of all would be to give our audience a live concert experience, but it turned out to have such a high degree of perfection and presence, that we’d like people to watch it at home too. Because that could very well be stage footage that can only come into existence in this era.

ーー That’s true. Also, tell us more about the second phase of your live stream concert.

H: Right. That one is a little bit thematic. There aren’t any new songs, and we thought we could just try switching up the set list for the stream, so initially, we were talking about making it an unplugged session. From there, the discussion developed and we thought it’d be boring if that’s all we did, so I guess we decided to add other elements. I think this will turn out to be a little unlike anything we’ve done thus far.

ーー That’s something else to look forward to. We don’t know how things will go, but it would be nice if you could carry out band activities properly this year.

H: It sure would. We had an in-person live concert last year at Budokan, but along those lines, right? I don’t know what it’ll be like this year, but it’s still a question as to whether or not we can hold a live concert in a shared space with our audience, so. But I’d like to, though.


ーー And let’s hope that next year, we’ll be able to properly check on how much we’ve both aged like this while chatting on a Southern island.

H: I’ll wait for that chance without getting my hopes up. Also, I’m turning 55 this year, alright? Don’t get that wrong (lol). Come to think of it, I’ve started wondering “How old am I again?” ever since I crossed the age of 50.

ーー That, I’m very familiar with (lol). Oh, right… If we round that off you’d hit the next milestone (60).

H: Don’t say that (lol). It’s got a ring to it, doesn’t it? 55 years old.

ーー Well, shall we have you wear the red birthday vest 5 years later for this interview?

H: Anii (Yagami Toll / drums) is the one who should doing that first (lol). It’s next year [for him], right?

ーー Oh, yeah! Then I guess you’ll be busy with Anii’s birthday plans next year.

H: We definitely want to give him a good celebration. Now, I just really want concerts. I really hope we’ll be able to turn this autumn through year-end’s tour into reality. But this is really one of those things that aren’t entirely in our control no matter how much we say we want to do it…… It would be nice if we’d come to live in a world that understands that live concerts are something that everyone needs for their hearts and minds and will let everyone enjoy it.

ーー I’m looking forward to new songs too.

H: We’re taking our time with that, though. Maybe you could listen to it one of these days.

ーー Oh!

H: Anyway, look forward to it (lol).

ーー I will. Say hi to your puppy for me.

H: Got it…… Ah, shall I bring it along for next year’s shoot (lol)?

ーー Good idea!

H: I thought of bringing it with me this time too, but I realised we’ll be getting in a boat and during that time, someone will have to look after it for me…… so I decided against it (lol).

ーー Come together next year!

H: I’ll think about it (lol).




¹ In Okinawa.

² The name stated was (河村)隆ちゃん. I’m assuming this is likely Luna Sea’s Ryuichi. I’m not sure what was held in early or mid 2021 that could have been the concert Hide watched though.




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2021.05.15 Hoshino Hidehiko BUCK-TICK

Hide-san casually appeared at the Senzoku Pond boat ramps on the day of a national holiday. The very first thing he said with a grin was, “I don’t really want the swan.” It was as if he saw right through us (lol). He got into a row boat with the photographer and had the photoshoot with just the two of them present. It’s a mystery as to what the surrounding families might be thinking about seeing these two good-looking middle-aged (sorry) men boarding a boat together with all smiles, but Hide-san looked like he enjoyed himself from start to end. We’ll try our luck again at the swan boats with Yuta next month (seriously⁉).




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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: hoeshinos

The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko

Ongaku to Hito
July 2022

Text=Kanemitsu Hifumi
Photos=Sasahara Kiyoaki_L Management

In Russian


Crossroads of Life

The 16th of June saw the 56th birthday of Hoshino Hidehiko, BUCK-TICK’s guitarist. This is the 22nd iteration of Ongaku to Hito’s crazy plan to conduct an interview with him in his birthday month to ask about his recent situation regardless of activity schedule!

Just like how BUCK-TICK is celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, I’m always reminded of how good it is to continue this program; like a reflection of his “warm laid-back” character, the interviews we’ve had since the beginning have always consisted of relaxed, largely free-form conversations. But this time, although his tone remains the same, I sympathise with him on the things that had been happening around him. It’s only natural that with age comes change in both ourselves and our environments. That is the inescapable reality. And although this is just part and parcel of life, it still shocks me to hear it coming from him. Yet at the same time, seeing this side of him makes it obvious that he is a strong person in essence, reminding us that we should all live our lives without regrets too.




Just the other day, my father passed away. He’s been hospitalised a lot so I was prepared for it
but I can really feel in my bones that these things are bound to happen now that I’ve come to this age


―― Happy 56th birthday.

Hoshino (H): 56, huh…… How old was I when we did the very first of these interviews?

―― We’ve been doing this every year with no skips since 2001 so……34?

H: So, mid-30s (lol). I sure was young (feeling it). Well, a lot has happened, hasn’t it?

―― Has it?

H: Yeah. All kinds of things are coming at me in my 50s. Especially in the past two years; haven’t we been unable to go about business as usual because of COVID-19? Everyone’s in the same boat with our lives becoming highly regulated, being unable to go anywhere, and it really feels like such a waste, doesn’t it? It feels like I lost 10 years of my youth.

―― Because time flies by faster, right?

H: It sure does. A whole variety of unexpected things have been happening too. This isn’t a particularly cheerful topic, but just the other day, my father passed away.

―― What!

H: He was 86. He’s been hospitalised a lot so I was prepared for it and I also felt some weight lifting from my shoulders, but I can really feel in my bones that these things are bound to happen now that I’ve come to this age.

―― Once you pass your mid-50s, such things start turning into reality.

H: Exactly. Even though he was bed-ridden and staying in the hospital all the time. He was suffering, saying his back hurt all the time so although it’s sad, I also feel that more importantly, he’s probably having a much easier time now. It’s a strange feeling.

―― I understand how you feel.

H: But I’m really grateful [to him]. Because he gave me a lot of freedom. He let me come to Tokyo because I said I was going for a chef’s license…… Although, I did get it unlike the rest of the band.

―― He probably had an inkling you wanted to play in the band.

H: You’re right. Because after that, he didn’t really say anything in particular and just let me do whatever I wanted throughout. I hope I can do that for my kids too.

―― Is the Hoshino family’s way of bringing up children just like the father; laissez-faire?

H: Not to that extent (lol). They have exams and all that too. But also, school isn’t everything. And it’s also better if they have more options to choose from, so isn’t it fine to let them do whatever they want to after they leave school? Because when I told [my father] a few years after being in Tokyo that I wanted to focus my efforts on playing in a band, he told me, “Well, if it doesn’t work out in a few years, you can come back.”

―― That’s a parent’s love.

H: And the oldest is already in university too. We still have junior high and elementary school schedules going, though. I guess this time, it’s my turn as a father to pass on to my children what my parents gave me. That’s what I’ve been thinking about recently since the private funeral concluded.

―― And through all of that, it would seem that the band has also been recording recently.

H: That’s right. Rather than “continuously”, we’re just working on a little bit here and there depending on our staff’s schedule…… Wait a minute. Didn’t you come to the studio recently?

―― Yuta-san (Higuchi Yutaka / Bassist) invited me to watch a Hanshin game at Jingu Stadium and he designated the recording studio as our meeting point (lol)

H: I was surprised because you appeared out of the blue.

―― Maybe he felt awkward leaving the two of you who were still working even though his part was done, so he wanted me to come and get him (lol).

H: You’re being used as an excuse (lol). But things are going smoothly anyway, so it’s perfectly fine either way.

―― Besides, you’ve still got ample time since your album release is only planned for next year, right?

H: We’re more or less just recording as much as we can when we’re able to. Also, our fanclub and mobile club members-exclusive tour is going to start in July, so we’re going to get pretty busy rather soon.
―― How many songs has Hide-san presented [for the album]?

H: Right now, three. I’m still wondering what I should do with another one…… but it’s got a different format than my usual, so I’m still thinking about it. We’re still some way away from our release [date], so we’re flexible with a bunch of things.

Although they may look no different than usual, I’m sure that everyone
Is fighting their own battle without showing it on the outside. So, “Fight on, everyone¹!”

―― How do you feel about your tour starting soon?

H: We haven’t gone on one in more than 2 years so I’m a little…… uneasy (lol).

―― About whether your muscle memory is there or not?

H: Yeah (lol). And also whether each audience member is safe with that distance between them, whether they can even attend our shows to begin with, and so on. But we’re now able to have face-to-face interviews like this, and there are more people walking about in the streets now than before, so I suppose things are getting better than they used to, bit by bit.

―― That’s true. You can see it with our Poem of June too; in the past two years, we could only do short photoshoots and the interview had to be held remotely from home too.

H: We want to stay healthy so we stay at home quietly. Now that you mention it, I myself haven’t really been doing all that well since last year.

―― What happened?

H: I got sick with a sort of embarrassing kind of immune disorder. It wasn’t so severe that I had to be hospitalised or anything like that, but for example, I was losing hair from the back of my head. At one point, I think I lost about a third of it.

―― Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

H: Seriously (lol). Now it’s more or less all grown back though. I can’t explain it very well, but it’s like my immune system was wreaking havoc in my body. It might be the kind of thing that sticks with you for the rest of your life so. If I start to wear hats, you guessed it (lol).

―― That’s shocking.

H: I was shocked too. Because I never thought that I’d get such a disease. It really feels like I’m being attacked by all sorts of happenings everyday as I age and I  have to deal with these things one by one (lol). I’ve been thinking recently that I guess I have no choice but to face these things too. That’s why I’m very uneasy.

―― Every year, we’ve been getting relaxing life updates from you in these interviews but to think that we’re now talking about this……

H: I wouldn’t have expected it either (lol). But that’s part of growing older, isn’t it? On the other hand, it’s reality. A lot of those who read this would likely be a little younger than me, but I’m sure that it’s the same for everyone; although they may look no different than usual, they’re definitely fighting their own battle somewhere without showing it on the outside. So, “Fight on, everyone¹!”

―― Indeed.

H: Ah, just for the record, I’m definitely not saying that I can’t stay with the band anymore, or that I can’t play guitar anymore, alright? (Lol). Besides, we’re still recording as per normal in our 35th anniversary year, and we’re going on tour too. We even have plans for next year.

―― When I came to get Yuta-san from the studio, Imai-san and Hide-san and an exhausted Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi / manipulator) were there but (lol), that was a nice vibe, wasn’t it?

H: Chill?

―― It’s the kind of chill that is often said to only come from a long marriage (lol).

H: It’s always been like this since way back. But it’s been a long while since we could be in the studio with different members like that. Because last year, we had to do our best to make sure that there was no group gathering so the composing member and the recording member would be in the studio, and after his recording was done, he’d leave and another member would come in at a different time.

―― The audience still can’t cheer at concerts and can’t really dance either because it’d result in crowding. And livehouses had to have seats or create some distancing too.

H: That was how it went with last year’s show at Budokan, but even though they can’t cheer, we have songs that everyone can perform some sort of action to, right? I believe we selected some songs with that in mind. Like ICONOCLASM and LOVE ME.

―― Ah, I see.

H: Because it creates a sense of togetherness even if they can’t cheer. But I do want to hear cheers and calls from the audience soon.

―― So your recording work is going well too.

H: That’s right. We’re taking our time.

―― And the other thing is health, your health.

H: That’s right. And as for fun recent developments, we’ve got another puppy so the family has grown.

―― Ah, so you’ve got two now?

H: Yeah. This new one is a dark brown Poodle. Although the first was a Chihuahua and Poodle mix, a Chi-Poo². It doesn’t recognise the toilet yet so it’s a challenge. Because we’re cleaning up daily, you know?

―― There’s always a constant stream of pets in the Hoshino family (lol).

H: Since forever. Dogs and cats too. Things have gotten pretty lively since there are also children around now. There’s no place for me though (lol). I can only hide in the studio.

―― A grievance shared by fathers all around the world (lol).

H: I’m getting a taste of it (lol).

―― Although I’m surprised by your talk of illness, I’m still glad that we managed to conduct this annual interview like this.

H: Yeah, agreed. I had some distressing times with a bunch happening last year and being unable to do any concerts, but this year, we’ve got releases and a tour going on. I can see what’s ahead. I hope that it’ll be good. See, we’ve got the fanclub and mobile members-exclusive livehouse tour, and Anii’s 60th birthday celebration at Club Citta. Our anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena. A national tour for our 35th anniversary that will start in autumn…… There’s a lot going on. I guess you could say that in some ways, it’s like a summarisation of the past two years (lol).

―― That’s true (lol). In any case, please take care of yourself.

H: I will. Imai-san can walk normally without any aid now too, so I think we’ll be able to perform in tip top condition.

―― I’m looking forward to it.

H: Certainly do (lol).




¹ He actually said, “みんな頑張れ!” (minna ganbare), that can be translated into any sort of motivational exclamation, so feel free to take it as you’d prefer.

² Known as チワプー (chiwapuu) in Japanese.




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2022.05.17 Hoshino Hidehiko BUCK-TICK

A year after the swanboat suggestion, we were putting out all sorts of suggestions like the warm laid-back man relaxing in a retro coffeeshop, or an urban setting in a city hotel with him a snappy suit…… but, this year, we settled on soaking it in on a veranda by a Japanese garden; a shoot with a Japanese vibe. The setting was the garden of an old Japanese house in Iriya which had been converted into a guesthouse. Watching the proceedings of the shoot, editor-in-chief Kanemitsu thought to himself, “Ah… This really suits Hide-san. If only we had him dressed in a traditional outfit too.” After the interview ended, it was discovered that the caretaker of the guesthouse used to be in a BUCK-TICK tribute band. And after Hide-san left, they agonised, “He’s so cool…”



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

A Special 35th Anniversary Commemorative BE@RBRICK

Release of Photo Tee and BE@RBRICK Featuring “BT-MM”,
Beloved Guitar of BUCK-TICK ‘s Guitarist Imai Hisashi a.k.a The Prodigious Lefty

10 July 2022

Text by SHINNO Kunihiko
Photographs by NAGAO Masashi
Edit by


Imai Hisashi, BUCK-TICK’s guitarist who’s been a leader in the Japanese rock scene. His influence can not only be heard in music, but also seen visually in all types of creative media. It is from this man that came the commemorative BE@RBRICK which celebrates the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut. In this interview, he shares with us the story behind this collaboration.



I wanted to play the BT-MM with a bow in performances


To celebrate the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut, MEDICOM TOY and HIRAKAWA RENTAROU’s rock apparel brand “Amplifier” has released guitarist Imai Hisashi’s BE@RBRICK and a newly created photo t-shirt.

Both merchandise feature Imai’s beloved “BT-MM”, also known as “Maimai”, with the BE@RBRICK featuring striking illustrations of this same guitar that were drawn by Imai himself.

This will be Imai’s first return to OPENERS since 2019 (https://openers.jp/design/design_features/Hl8mX). This time, the spotlight is on “BT-MM”, known to fans as “the first guitar that comes to mind when you mention Imai Hisashi”. We speak to the man himself about it.

“We were still amateurs when I first started thinking about making my own original guitar. When I saw BOØWY’s Hotei Tomoyasu-san, who we look to as a senior we share a hometown with, painting his guitar, a white Telecaster (FERNANDES TEJ) with red and black paint.

It was only after our major debut when I got to create one starting from its shape (form). I had one made through consultations with a representative from Fernandes (guitar producer). The first guitar had a modified body cut in the shape of a diamond (FERNANDES TSUCHINOKO) but the final product was smaller than expected and it wasn’t very well balanced.

As for the second iteration of BT-MM, I wanted to play it with a bow in performances so I initially had the idea of creating a guitar with the form of a violin. I specified for the curling coiled up tips and the f-holes to be featured, and I thought the resulting design was pretty good. The first time it was used in public was at 1989’s Tokyo Dome show. The Fernandes representative came up with the BT-MM product code and the name Maimai on his own, and I pretty much figured, ‘oh well, so be it’ (lol).”

Imai, nicknamed “The Prodigious Lefty” composed most of BUCK-TICK’s music. Ingenious riffs and melodies produced by his left-hand playing have captivated countless people.

“When I write, I use my right hand and I also tend to use my right hand when I throw a baseball and all, but there’s just a certain few occasions where I favour my left. Like shuffling poker cards.

Back in elementary school,  I was given an acoustic guitar because my uncle was teaching me how to play, and from the very start, I’ve always felt more comfortable holding the neck in my right hand. Even when everyone told me, “Kiddo, it’s the wrong way around,” I wouldn’t understand what they meant. What’s the wrong way around?   And even after I finally figured it out, I just couldn’t hold it that way. No, it’s just impossible (lol).

I wasn’t all that interested in playing guitar at the time, so I left it alone for a good while, but in high school, when we started talking about starting a band, I thought, “Come to think of it……” and I recalled those times. Right versus left, what should I do?   It’d be trouble if I made the wrong choice at this stage (lol). But no matter what, it’s easier for me to play with my left hand. Maybe my body’s just used to it. My father and grandfather are both left-handed, so maybe, in a way, it’s in my blood.

I decided that I don’t need to think too much about it since both hands are used in playing a guitar anyway, and went looking for a left-handed guitar to buy. But left-handed guitars are more expensive than regular ones. At first, my parents looked into it and told me that “it’d cost around 100,000 yen”. But that’s something from a well-known brand. Then, I happened to come across an ad on a black and white page of a magazine that advertised a cheap 19,800 yen guitar, so I decided that one’s good enough and worked part-time to buy it. I still have that guitar with me. I thought it would be interesting to play guitars with both left- and right-handed types since I’m originally a right-handed, but I couldn’t do it at all (lol).”

Imai has not only captivated with sound, but also his hairstyles, makeup, and outfits too. To that, we also asked about where his unique aesthetic sense comes from.

“Artists Uno Akira-san (a.k.a. Aquirax Uno) and Yokoo Tadanori-san. Foreign influences are Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico. Among manga artists, it’s Araki Hirohiko-san. He’s the author of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and I like the light touch he has in his art. Isn’t this year also the 35th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (serialisation started in Weekly Shonen Jump 1987 #01)? Some years ago, a fan gifted me an issue of Shonen Jump from that era with JoJo on the front cover, and on the back cover was us featured in Victor’s CDian (※1) ad. I never expected that a fan would have something like this. That was interesting. It felt kind of fateful in a way.”


(※1)  In 1988, BUCK-TICK and JVC (old name for Victor) ran an advertising campaign with the catchphrase “An explosively deep heavy bass (重低音がバクチクする / juu teion ga bakuchiku suru)” for CDian, the true CD/cassette player with subwoofer. The two of them came together again in 2015 to promote high-resolution sound equipment with the new catchphrase “An explosively high resolution (ハイレゾがバクチクする / hairezo ga bakuchiku suru)”.
Artwork by leading Japanese illustrator and creative designer Uno Akira found in Imai Hisashi’s workroom. Uno illustrated the cover of BUCK-TICK’s 2010 album RAZZLE DAZZLE, while Imai composed the theme song of the 2012 stage play Tenshu Monogatari (天守物語) in which Uno was also involved for art and costuming.
Manga artist Araki Hirohiko, famous for his works JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, and many more. Imai’s collection of pin badges and the Stone Mask are items coveted by fans.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the fusion of mechanical aspects with human, and when we were making the music video for Speed (their single released in 1991), we filmed a scene of the band performing with instruments attached with gears and hoses. It had a similar vibe to what is now known as steampunk.

Another manga artist I love is Nihei Tsutomu-san, the author of BLAME! and Knights of Sidonia. I really like the logo Nihei-san designed for our label (Lingua Sounda, BUCK-TICK’s private label).

I’m not the kind of person who goes out a lot to begin with, so nothing much has changed for me even after COVID-19 came around. In terms of movies, I quite liked  Disney’s Cruella (2021) last year.”

Ingenious creator Imai’s workroom is filled with all kinds of figurines.

This was something I doodled at home as an attempt to turn BT-MM into a sort of character


He had produced photo T-shirts and figurines with Amplifier before, but this BE@RBRICK release is a first.

“I’ve been to exhibitions held by MEDICOM TOY numerous times, and I have had the thought of one day trying my hand at designing a BE@RBRICK. So I was really happy when I was asked to do it.

The idea for this design was suggested to me by Amplifier’s Hirakawa-kun. This was something I doodled at home about 10 years ago as an attempt to turn BT-MM into a sort of mascot character. Furthermore, this was drawn in one go. I had the intention of using it on band merchandise too so I wanted to draw it one more time with more effort put in, but no matter how many times I tried, it wouldn’t turn out well. Somehow, I just didn’t like them, you know? It’s either the expression, or the shape, or something. In the end, the first one was the best, so that’s what we’ve been using all this time.

During the creation of this BE@RBRICK, I didn’t voice out any specifications, but the size of the guitar and the balance of the design that they came up with was just perfect; I really liked it. I also intend to display it in my basement workroom at home once it’s produced. And if this is well received, I’d definitely like to do this a second or third time.

But BE@RBRICK also adapts with the times, doesn’t it? When I went to the recent exhibition (BE@RBRICK WORLD WIDE TOUR 3, held from 4 to 9 December 2021 at Omotesando, Tokyo), what I found was new wasn’t a bear but something that was shaped like the Nike of Samothrace (Ancient Greek marble sculpture discovered on the island of Samothrace in 1863) which I thought was really cool.”

With 22 original albums and 40 singles under their belt, BUCK-TICK will be celebrating the 35 years of activity with the same band members in September 2022. On Wednesday, 21 September, they will be releasing both the Blu-ray & DVD release of Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ in Nippon Budokan and the CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., a five-CD concept best album that deconstructs and recompiles their works released over their 35-year career. They will also be holding BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~, a special concert on 23 and 24 September at Yokohama Arena to mark the start of their 35th anniversary year.

“A lot of fans have reached out to us, sharing how much they want to attend concerts even though they can’t. It’s also frustrating for us because we can’t put on a show for everyone although we want to. But the global situation is finally starting to change little by little, so I hope that we can all look forward to the 35th anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena.”



Debut 35th Anniversary LIVE

【BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~】
@ Yokohama Arena

BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ FLY SIDE
Friday, 23 September 2022 (Holiday)
Doors open 17:00, show starts 18:00

BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ HIGH SIDE
Saturday, 24 September 2022
Doors open 16:00, show starts 17:00



BE@RBRICK BUCK-TICK Imai Hisashi 100% & 400% / 1000%

Supervised by|Imai Hisashi
Size|Full height at approx. 70mm / 280mm / 700mm
Release date|Delivery and release in October 2022
Price|[100% & 400%]15,180 yen (w/ tax) /[1000%]63,800 yen (w/ tax)
To purchase|Pre-order at MCT TOKYO (https://mct.tokyo/) from 00:00, Friday, 24 June ~23:59, Monday, 18 July 2022. (Japan time)

※For more details, please visit the official MEDICOM TOY website
※Pictures of samples were shot under supervision. May have slight differences from those on sale.
BE@RBRICK TM & ©️ 2001-2022 MEDICOM TOY CORPORATION. All rights reserved.



Imai Hisashi Photo T-shirt
Amplifier “今井寿” TEE design G

The photo T-shirt Amplifier “今井寿” TEE design G will be released on Imai Hisashi’s birthday, 21 October. BE@RBRICK BUCK-TICK 今井寿 100% & 400% / 1000% is also slated for delivery and release in October. All of these are made-to-order items, so please access the websites and place your order during the order periods.

Supervised by|Imai Hisashi
Colour|White, Black
Release date|21 October 2022
Price|6,930 yen each (w/ tax)
To purchase|Pre-order at any MEDICOM TOY online stores from 17:00, Friday, 24 June ~ 23:59, Sunday, 31 July 2022. (Japan time)









Translation: Yoshiyuki

Source: https://openers.jp/design/design_features/4JHgK

Amplifier shop: http://amplifier.tokyo/artists/imai_hisashi/


Sakurai Atsushi — A Three-Part Special

Pati-Pati Dokuhon #2
October 1990



Inner cover photo・Momotaro


The activities that followed their absolute revival, the concept Aku no Hana itself has been elevated into a lofty theme.
And now, he is undergoing a period of intense recharging while eyeing the next step to take.
Just what is it that shaped not only his work within the band, but also that vivid solitude that his presence flaunts?





A Virtuoso’s Solitude

Sakurai Atsushi


The activities that followed their absolute revival, the concept Aku no Hana itself has been elevated into a lofty theme.
And now, he is undergoing a period of intense recharging while eyeing the next step to take.
Just what is it that shaped not only his work within the band, but also that vivid solitude that his presence flaunts?




Okinawa, 16 June 1990.

I am here to conduct interviews with BUCK-TICK. A business trip for the interviews with all the members of the band to be published in this edition of Pati▼Pati, and Sakurai Atsushi’s long interview for Pati▼Pati Dokuhon’s publication.

Ahead of their upcoming first concert in Okinawa on the 18th, the band had been checked into a resort hotel by the coast since the day before. The advance flight was a precautionary measure against any possible delays or cancellations, but it’s a good thing because it also doubled as a way for the band to get some rest before the conclusion of their long Aku no Hana tour.

We first got the interviews for this issue of Pati▼Pati done by lunchtime and spent the whole afternoon on the photoshoot. Ultimately, the perfect clear blue Okinawan sky and sea…… somehow doesn’t suit BUCK-TICK after all. It’s the mid-winter scenery of a chilly sea under a frozen overcast sky where these guys walking around quietly all wrapped up in black clothes would fit, rather than the azure sea of mid-summer .

The photoshoot ends in the sweltering heat and their manager, the editor, the promoter from the record company, Sakurai Atsushi, and I return to a room in the hotel. The manager puts on a David Bowie CD but the only audible sound aside from that was the faint hum of the air conditioner.

This would be the first time that was interviewing Sakurai Atsushi. While band’s director is a close friend of mine, I wasn’t particularly familiar with Sakurai. At most we’d smile and greet each other when we met, but that was all. This was to be the first time we’d be talking at length face to face with each other. Some years ago, we had drinks together at a Chinese eatery in Nakano after the Peter Murphy concert. There were a number of other people present at the time but I recall that Sakurai Atsushi didn’t say much; he was mostly silent, smiling.

The interview began with a slightly awkward and somewhat shy greeting.

(It should be noted that the following interview has not been cut or adapted in any way, except for obvious misstatements and subject confusion.)

Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, Ryu Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies. … Because I empathise with Dazai in many areas.

―― How do you find Okinawa?

Sakurai (S): (Smiles) I can’t really… Nothing really comes to mind when you say Okinawa.

―― First time?

S: Yeah.

―― Isn’t the sea an uncommon sight [to you]? Since Gunma is landlocked.

S: Yeah… But I’ve been [to beaches] a few times for shoots.

―― Do you like the beach?

S: Well… As long as we’re just talking about looking… (smiles).

―― You don’t like swimming in the sea.

S: At all. I don’t like it, swimming (smiles).

―― Doesn’t seem like your kind of thing.

S: My kind of thing…
―― It’s hard to imagine a tanned Sakurai Atsushi, though (smiles).

S: Really… I’d look like a South American. If my face got tanned (smiles).

―― Weren’t you reading a book earlier?

S: Ah, this one? … Strategies of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu… (smiles).

―― Not something anyone would expect to see you reading, is it?

S: No, because this is my manager’s. But I like it, though.

―― Hu~h… Do you read regularly?

S: Mm… During a tour I’d be tired so I won’t feel like reading, though. But when I have lots of time, I’d read when I feel like it. I guess that’s the extent of it.

―― When did you arrive at this hotel?

S: The day before… Or yesterday, I think.

―― What have you been doing since you arrived?

S: Departure was… early, around 8, so when we got here, I slept for a while, then at night… I went to the bar downstairs to drink (smiles).

―― You don’t really go and explore the city during tours, do you?

S: No, I do. … At night… No, in the day too, I’d go every now and then but… When things are set, it’s quite difficult to move, so…

―― On your own?

S: Even if I were to go alone, in the end… I’d want to go, but I don’t really…

―― Because you’ll draw attention, right (smiles)?

S: Yeah.

―― … Any books you’ve read recently that you enjoyed?

S: Recently I haven’t really… been able to read much but… mm… the ones that left an impression on me are Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, Ryu Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies. They’re pretty old though. The ones that leave me feeling, “Ah, that was good,” are probably just these. I do remember what I’ve read quite well though. … Osamu Dazai has a strong impression on me, or rather, there was a lot I empathise with, so it sticks with me…

―― Dazai[’s work] revolves around repeatedly hurting himself, doesn’t it?

S: Yeah.

―― Set in [the] world [of a protagonist] who wishes they’d never been born.

S: Yeah, mhm.

―― Is that what you empathise with? Because there’s a part of you that feels like that too?

S: No, that’s not the only thing… I think it’s because I’m very self-conscious about how other people look at me. And somehow, some part of me worries about whether people think that something about me is weird and what they think about me. It’s that insecurity…

―― So how do you think people see you?

S: … I don’t know. (Smiles)… If I say it, people might see it that way, so I won’t, though (smiles).

―― Ah, I see (smiles). Do you have this clear divide between your regular self and the person you are on stage? That these are two different people?

S: That’s… true. Yeah, but the album or song always comes, so it’s more like my humanity or personality builds on it.

―― So it’s a different entity even though it’s connected to your personal life in some way.

S: That’s right. It’s like how every [show’s] setlist is fixed, but mentally, what I’m singing about is completely different. Besides, there’s no way that I can keep singing with the same feelings I had when I wrote a song… It’s like an increasing need to sing with a new understanding, to sing the same words with how I feel on the day itself. … And I think that’s kind of tough.

―― … Say for example, you had that outdoor shoot earlier, right? And the whole band, excluding the camera crew, would definitely head to the venue together in a tour bus, right? Normally, whether or not they have to, the members of the band would alight and start walking around looking at this and that, right? Since it’s your first time here. But the members of BUCK-TICK just sti and wait quietly in the bus.


―― Saying it like this might sound like a bad thing, but it gives me the impression that everyone is very introverted. It might just be your personality but isn’t the curiosity about the things around you the initial spark that leads to self-expression?

S: Yeah.

―― With that in mind, wouldn’t there be a lot of things that are new to you since it’s your first time to Okinawa? Don’t you want to recharge yourself in your own way by jumping headfirst into those novelties?

S: Mm… I do really want to but… This will probably be boring to hear, but you know, collective action, doing things as a group? To wander around and not return to the designated spots when it’s your turn to shoot… I definitely feel that things like that are an absolute no-no… And besides… I can’t stand the heat. (Smiles) I really just can’t. I’m okay with the cold, though. … But it’s just this feeling that everyone moves the moment someone does.


I won’t make the effort even though what I want is right in front of me…
I think attempting to go for something looks pathetic……

―― This is probably just a lame assumption of mine, but don’t you have any desire to be absurd since you’re in a rock band? Like disregarding your manager, wandering away, doing irrational things, going on a rampage, expending your energy through those actions, or letting something untamable explode out yet still sticking your head into all sorts of things out of curiosity. I personally think it’s a good thing to possess that sort of restless energy.

S: Mm, yeah.

―― That’s why I’m wondering where you’re taking in your energy from. Especially Acchan, since you write lyrics, what’s the source of your energy and ideas?

S: I suppose it’s dissatisfaction and a desire for more… 

―― Regarding?

S: Myself… Or rather, the outside world through my eyes… I can’t quite explain it properly but… I [personally] think I’m very selfish but… Today, I wanted to blast the air conditioning and go speeding somewhere in my car again though. (Lol) But [the frustration] isn’t related to such trivial things, but rather the times when these mental and physical frustrations build up, or when I’m being forced to let them pile. … I’m the kind of person where it becomes visibly obvious whenever there’s something I don’t like. So when it comes to energy, I think people can absorb as much of it as they want as long as they can vent it. Like if something unpleasant happened before a show, after the show they’d tell me that today was a good day. And that’s despite the fact that this person was absolutely pissed off and thought that things weren’t fine at all. (Lol). So these things happen too… People might look at me and think that I’m relatively calm, but… I also want to feel like [the whole world] belongs to me.

―― Ah, it seems natural for you to be frustrated.

S: Yeah.

―― That you’ll be upset when things don’t turn out the way you hoped, and such.

S: Mm…

―― Is that your dissatisfaction towards a world that doesn’t work the way you want?  Or…

S: It’s dissatisfaction towards my own inability.

―― Your lack of power.

S: … There’s that too, and also times when I don’t even try. When I won’t make the effort even though what I want is right in front of me…

―― Why?

S: … (Smiles) Because I think I’d give up. Thinking about those things after the fact, I suppose I’m just thoroughly indecisive (smiles).

―― Why would you give up?

S: … Probably because I want to play it cool. I mean, I think attempting to go for something looks pathetic.

―― And that’s something that you consider when it comes to aesthetics?

S: Mhm… Everything I’ve said thus far is related to aesthetics. 

―― Including your dislike for recklessness.

S: … No, I like it. If we five members of the band can’t really make a decision on the details of a setlist or a stage, I’d just suggest something and push for it. Although, I don’t really know whether you’d call that being reckless… It’s the same when there are arguments too… Something like doing what I have to when I have to.

―― But you don’t like putting it out there that you’re being reckless or something.

S: Hm… I guess… so.

―― Breaking a sweat while you’re giving your all…

S: That’s… dependent on the context. Whether it’s my reckless side, my personal opinion or desires, I think showing it all off will leave me with nothing. I guess there’s a part of me that thinks it’ll be the end of me if I’m attacked.

―― You don’t want to show your hand.

S: Mm… But there are times when I feel impressed when I see someone giving their all.

―― So there are times when you think that it’s good to quit playing it cool and live according to how you truly feel.

S: Mhm. It happens sometimes…

―― Yet why can’t you?

S: Hm… If I go with my true feelings… it’s a bit… I don’t think I can do it right. To just be sad when I’m sad… I can’t do that when there’s a concert, can I? Like, if I were to get so nervous that I lock myself in the bathroom alone (smiles).

―― Even if that’s where you hold on to aesthetics, don’t you think that it restricts you instead?  When it comes to singing or performing.

S: Hm…

―― I’d assume that there’s naturally some lack of freedom in daily life, but what about your performance?

S: I guess in the end… I unconsciously started to pursue only the things I like.

―― I mean, wanting to actually sing about this particular thing but that’s not the image it has, things like that.

S: No, I think I’m shedding more and more of my restrictions when it comes to that. I intend to do things the way I want to.

―― Ah, I see.

S: This is only from the perspective of lyrics, but in the past, we’ve insisted that these are just love songs. Yet when watching movies or reading novels, I noticed that those aren’t the only parts of it that are cool and that there are many other factors and [my view] just keeps expanding. Well, whether it’s really expanding or I was actually just short-sighted, I don’t know but my satisfaction is growing…


Ever since I was a child, I’d try my best to stay out of sight… I was timid.
I thought if I were to come into contact with other people, I’d get hurt or something…

――The lyrics you speak of aren’t lyrics that are realistic, right? Because the words you use and the way you phrase them is abstract anyway. Is this because there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to write about reality?

S: Hm… I can write honestly about my reality, like my personal experiences and thing I’ve been caught up in, but I’m not particularly interested in what happens overseas, controversial topics and the like, so… I guess in the end, it’s difficult for me if I’m not personally involved in it and can’t get a feel for things myself…

―― Not only talking about what goes on in other countries, but even when it’s your own daily life, and topics like those… It’s the way you pick your words and all. For example, if you’re to say “I love you”, you definitely wouldn’t say it straight, would you?

S: Nope, I don’t do that. But Imai does. (Smiles)

―― Ah, I see. (Smiles) As a figure of speech, right?

S: …… But sometimes I think that’s pretty cool too.

―― Isn’t it a pain to play it cool?

S: I guess I do feel that way when it does become a pain.

―― Is that how you’ve always felt?  Ever since your amateur days?

S: … Not so much when it comes to being cool, rather… Ever since I was a child, I’d try my best to stay out of sight… I was timid. [Thinking that] if I were to come into contact with other people, I’d get hurt or something…

―― You’re afraid of getting hurt.

S: Mm… When I’m young, it was all about that.

―― As the singer of a band, don’t you have to cast your shame aside?

S: Mhm.

―― So why are you here, now, despite having been that timid when you were young? You were initially on drums, weren’t you? It gets me wondering where such a change came from.

S: … That’s ultimately also because of the major frustrations I had… When I started singing, I just wanted to impress with my fashion. I don’t know whether to call it a misconception or whatever, but I felt that I could do it and… Recently, when I’m writing, it sounds bad but I get the feeling that I’m pretty much putting my own thoughtless stupidity out there on display. Because I’m showing people that this level of work is written by me. Whether it’s my vocabulary or my sentence structures. Although, I don’t mind if people say that I’m not clever. But the embarrassment from that… I just feel that I can’t do things in the way of someone who would say, “I’m a person who feels these things.”

―― Is that different from when you’re singing?

S: In the end, that’s also coming from the same thing as firing outwards, right? Besides, if it’s music, people know the kind of chord progression it would have. Likewise, if it’s song, I can only use this voice that I have.

―― Does it feel good to show yourself in that light?

S: Feels good… hm… [rather, it’s] a thrill… I don’t know how people would look at me but the best possible thing for me would be if I could go one step ahead and make myself the spectacle. … Because [staying here,] my frustrations would just continue building with my doubts about how people see me, whether I should present myself in this way and what they’d think of me now, whether stopping there would just get me labelled as normal. I feel that going beyond allows me to declare that this is what I’ll write and sing about, go ahead and have a look, this is the direction I’m taking.

―― Isn’t that confidence?

S: Hm… maybe… it is, and… I think getting there will save me.

―― Do you feel like you’re already there?

S: Hm… Well, there’s an intention to [get there].

―― To become something other than yourself?

S: To become the person I am on stage.

―― And that’s a different person from your usual self?

S: I suppose… yes.

―― What’s different?

S: What I said earlier… It’s casting aside my usual psyche and singing… To bring out actions and emotions that fit the song…

―― But isn’t that song something you wrote yourself?

S: Mhm.

―― You’re saying that’s still not you?

S: Yeah, because it could be different depending on my mental state on a particular day. Besides, the day I wrote the song and the day I sing it are completely different days.

―― Do you enjoy this divergence?

S: Getting into character is definitely fun. Like when I feel like this today but I think that will change when I sing a particular song. When I wonder whether I can get into character.

―― I guess that’s something like saying that Sakurai Atsushi is a diamond that sparkles on different sides depending on the light. Or rather, you have two sides, like a back and a front.

S: … I think there’ll always be a divide between the watcher and the being-watched, so… I don’t think it really matters to the one who’s putting themselves on show. … Even if they roll around and get all messy and dirty. I think it’s be interesting if they feel that being dirty is cool. It’s not just about being shiny.

―― So what’s the part that you won’t show? The part you keep hidden in the back?

S: … The boring parts. (Smiles)

―― Parts that aren’t cool.

S: Or rather, the very down-to-earth parts. Like brushing my teeth, washing my face; those parts.

―― So, for example, isn’t there a band called KASUTERA¹? Do you have no interest in singing all about the world that exists within a one metre radius of you like they do?


―― Ah, that’s an extreme comparison, though. (Smiles)

S: I’ve never thought about that. … Besides, I don’t think I’d write “Ah, it’s thundering” even if it is thundering [outside right now] anyway. (Laughs)

―― Does that have something to do with your own pride?

S: Rather than pride… I think it’s good that people can express themselves honestly. We shouldn’t make fun of their perception of things. They’re just different from other people; that’s what I’d like myself to remember. … Although, it feels like they’re showing us that the things they think of are special, a little out of the ordinary. In the end… everyone perceives things differently, and there’s no way to say what’s the norm anyway. It’s like attaching pride to what you think or write. I wouldn’t make fun of what’s others’ so I don’t want what’s mine to be ridiculed either. If it was… then I’d retaliate, I’d do something along those lines. … I guess it’s only recently that I began to feel like this.

―― Previously…

S: Maybe I was more conformist…

―― You were afraid of being hurt.

S: Yes… It was about being cool in a casual and understated manner… Although, that might still be the case.

―― Not casually, but playing it cool more blatantly. (Laughs)

S: Yes. I’ve come to think that’s fine. It’s okay to do it openly.

―― Around when did you start gradually shifting from the idea that you’re introverted to thinking that you’re just different from other people?

S: Mm… But it’s because it’s been different as compared to other families for as long as I can remember.

―― Your environment?

S: My home environment. I’ve also spoken about this in a previous interview but… I mean, it’s a real bore to talk about but… My father was someone who would get violent when he drank,  and my mother appeared to feel like she had no choice but to live with it because she had two children. Because that’s been going on before my eyes for as long as I can remember… And these things didn’t happen in the homes of my friends around me so. … Everyone goes to places with their family, the whole family, and they have great relationships with their neighbours, and so on. Seeing that, I just can’t help but wonder why my family is like this. It feels dark even though the same lights are on. Even though I’ve also got four people in my family… it feels very… empty. Ever since then, after realising that [my family is] different from other families and all that… it might be… an exaggeration, to say that I grew unable to talk to and interact with people… but, before I knew it, that’s the kind of personality I had. I don’t really… talk to my parents, my father, and at some point I got into a fight with my older brother and there was a period when I stopped talking to him too… In middle school, I’d often get the idea that I’m weird, or gloomy though…

―― … You were alone.

S: …Mm.

―― You were aware that you were alone.

S: Mm… I have memories of listening to pop music in my room alone, even on Sundays and the like.

―― I mean, there is such a thing as being alone without being aware of it, but it was hard to cope with knowing that you’re alone at that age, wasn’t it?

S: Mm, that’s why, I’ve shed… tears before. … Wondering why I’m here alone, even though it’s a Sunday afternoon and the weather is nice outside… My friends would be there if I went outside, but I didn’t try…


My father died, and it’s like a hole suddenly opened up…… within myself, and the family too.

―― Do you think such an environment affected your personality and the things you do now?

S: Mm… probably.

―― So, Acchan, what you’re referring to when you’re talking about being “different from others” isn’t what you’re better at, but rather, your weaknesses?

S: That’s right. … I’ve definitely never thought that I’m better than others. That my family is wealthier, or my father is better, or my mother is smarter… Although, my older brother’s a very diligent person… and I… am very average in my studies so I don’t think I’m good at it anyway. And my personality is far from being bright and cheerful. (Smiles) Neither am I particularly motivated when it comes to sports. Nor am I the type who can answer when a teacher points at me. Much less a person who would raise my hand on my own volition. In the end… there’s a strong inferiority complex, or rather, personally, that’s something I feel. A lot.

―― And this inferiority complex didn’t lead you in a negative direction, but instead brought you to the positive outcome of joining a band.

S: Mm… If I actually took a negative turn…

―― That’s what led you here.

S: Mm… The four [other band members] left for Tokyo while I remained in the countryside, working as I should, giving up, and drinking all the time… I thought, nothing matters anymore. I had no confidence in my drumming anyway… and I thought, there’d only be the three of them left [at home] if I went to Tokyo. I did a lot of bad things in high school and caused trouble… my mother was made to shoulder the responsibility alone, and if I were to just head off [to Tokyo] like that… I felt bad for her. If we’re talking about what led me here… my father died and somehow, it’s like a hole suddenly opened up… within myself, and the family too. … It affected the family a lot, actually. And myself too. … This hole suddenly appeared and I thought, there’s nothing here for me to do. Then… with nothing to do, I was aimless, just holding on to being in the band. I wanted to stand out and perform in front of people with them all… so I said, I kind of want to go to Tokyo and be with the band… there wasn’t anyone who could stop me… well, there was, but… there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do anyway so I decided to go. And my mother also said that it’s okay [for me to go]. … So I went to Tokyo, crashed at someone’s place… Before that, I did voice my interest in becoming the vocalist to the band, and right around the time I was going to Tokyo, they were in Tokyo talking about our vocalist at the time not being up to par, so I said, then let me take the spot… A lot of things happened in that one year after I graduated from high school, and that was what started it all. Since things were already in the red… I decided to do what I wanted to do.

―― Saying that you want to be the vocalist is really the desire to stand out, right?

S: Yeah.

―― But how do you reconcile your awareness of this inferiority complex and the belief that there’s nothing about you that’s better than others, with your desire to stand out?

S: Hm… Somehow, my desire to show off and be cool has become the priority and… I got this sort of feeling that I’m the only one who knows about my inferiority complex anyway, so. I thought I could start over from zero without being held back by anyone.

―― That’s… something like, having no one you know anymore when you leave your family back in your hometown and come to Tokyo.

S: Mm… It ends up sounding like a sob story when I talk about these things, but it’s really… a decision to start over…

―― In the sense that you don’t want to show those bad sides of you anymore?

S: Mm, I’ve put them away since then…

―― Hidden away?

S: … Or not. … Maybe it looks bad from an outsider’s perspective, but anyway, even if [these parts of me] showed up in Tokyo, I was enjoying myself a lot. Because there wasn’t anyone who would grumble at me and I did whatever I wanted… But there was just one thing; I was still being a burden to my mother and she still sent me money. I wasn’t working. And during those times, I’d still go and have fun even if I felt that this wasn’t good. I’d just play around because it’s enjoyable…

―― Doing that despite knowing it… But if we look at it from another perspective, this part of you with the inferiority complex is as good as the basis of being Sakurai Atsushi, right?

S: Mm.

―― I wonder if throwing that away, or hiding it would leave you without something to go back to.

S: Mm, there’s no way to get rid of this inferiority complex in me anyway.

―― But I wonder, whether it’s because of the time or the place, did the parts of you that expose your complex disappear when you made the decision that you would come to Tokyo?

S: Nope, it’s not like that. There’s already plenty of the things I don’t like about myself being shown. (Smiles) I think these things appear even when I’m just talking to people. It’s the same with my mannerisms. Even when I’m being interviewed… I think there are times when I’ve left a bad impression. And even my lyrics… sometimes I feel that everyone listens to what I write now, but if it was any other point in time, people would probably think I’m disgusting for writing such things.

―― Meaning?

S: …… That I’m completely out of touch with the times or something… I think people probably wouldn’t be able to accept those who write about their frustrations or the things they don’t like about themselves if we weren’t in this present era.

―― Do you mean this is the reason for BUCK-TICK’s commercial success?

S: Mm.

―― … Was this something you’ve always been conscious of since you started in the band? Because, you know, the more people hear you, the more you’ll be appreciated.

S: Mm… I suppose we’ve always wanted many and all sorts of people to listen to us since we started out. … But it’s honestly not because we want to get rich or be famous. We’ve just been looking for somewhere we can be ourselves and be cool. So, we put on shows without caring whether we would make money or not and ask people to come and see us just because we want people to see us… even now, that… hasn’t changed, I believe. It’s great if we can make money, but if we can’t play, there’s nothing we can do about that anyway…


No way for me. Because I can’t do it alone.
[I’m] cool precisely because I’m in a band, is how I feel now… strongly.

―― It sounds like being on stage stage was where you felt truly seen for the first time.

S: … Mm.

―― Does it have to be on stage?

S: Hm… I think it is the only place that excites me…

―― The only?

S: … Mm… That electricity… doesn’t exist [anywhere else].

―― That comes from crowds of people watching you.

S: Mm, I think that’s step two. Step one would be us putting ourselves out there on show. Like making sure that we can be seen and heard. After that we can go, “Ah, they’re watching us.” … Well, it’s the same thing anyway.

―― Showing people who you are is cool.

S: Mm.

―― And that’s separate from your inferiority complex.

S: … No, I think it’s the same thing.

―― You’re not particular about wanting to show only the nice side of things?

S: I… am not. I don’t mind getting dirty if it means it’d be cool.

―― Where do you get your reference for what’s cool?

S: … I dunno. (Points at his chest) It ends up being how I feel in here (smiles). There are all kinds of words, all kinds of people, all kinds of performances, and all kinds of songs too, so I can only say that it depends on how I feel at that point in time…

―― Do you have any specific, ideal forms of coolness?

S: … I think it starts with regular trend followers. If someone thinks that pop songs are great, I think it’s fine anyway. … Even artists. Those who can make people think that they’re really cool will do fine even if their songs aren’t particularly good. … Whether there’s something specific… I dunno. There isn’t just one. Because [it’s a combination of whatever] I think is cool at any one point of time.

―― Based on appearances?

S: Mm, I suppose so. … But at the same time… I find myself wanting people to see both the inside and the outside as one. Like someone that looks perfect on the surface but leaves you wondering what they’re really thinking…

―― The opposite exists too. Like a person who looks grimy on the outside but possesses sublime beauty on the inside.

S: Ah, that’s true. It’s just that when we talk about what catches your eye, it’s usually the pretty things. When you’re listening with your ears it’s… certainly different, though. There are works of art that I think are really cool too. Whether it’s a painting, or a movie, or a song, or an object. … How both are two sides of the same coin, and that sense of danger it brings.

―― A sense of danger… As in, feeling like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

S: Mm. It’s probably not entirely true, but that’s how I feel and all.

―― Like you’re being hunted.

S: Mm. Knowing this and letting it show all at once.

―― And you’re trying to bring that out.

S: Mm… If I have it.

―― Something that’s right on the very edge.

S: I want to have that even if it’s just the vibe of it. … If I actually did have it… it might just crush me though. (Smiles)

―― You like artists like Peter Murphy and David Bowie, right?

S: That’s right.

―― Do they give off that vibe?

S: Mm… Not Peter Murphy but Bauhaus…

―― Ah. (Smiles) There’s an obvious difference in that area, right? (Smiles)

S: Mm… (Smiles)

―― What about movies?

S: Mm, it’s definitely that type, the sort of movies with that vibe… Like Purple Noon is one of those that I like. The one with a young and handsome 24-year-old Alain Delon… He really was such a soft, pretty boy… I don’t know what he’s really like, but in the movie, I felt… he was really cool. … I guess I like the bad boy-type of characters…

―― A fleur du mal [惡の華 / Flower of Evil]

S: Mm. (Smiles)

―― Do you hate the wholesome types? (Smiles)

S: Ufufu… wholesome types… It depends on who or what we’re looking at. (Smiles) … But I guess it might be true. I don’t think a really cool someone singing a stupid song works out… It’s not impossible, but it’s more like, I’d think something else would be better. … Others might think differently, but I’d tend to have my own idea of what fits this person.

―― Hm… If that’s the case, do you feel that your reason for singing a particular way is mostly because this style suits you better, rather than because this is what you want to convey?

S: … Hm… Personally, for me, the priority would be to get what I want to convey out there. How I want to do it… I think it’s decided at the same time. I might’ve chosen to write those words in my lyrics because I felt that one fits me better than the other. Maybe it’s subconscious or something, but I naturally get a sense of how I want to do something. And that comes with the decision making that I do with picking words that suit me better… Like when I read a book or something and find something that I like. Even if it’s not my style, I’d make it mine, something like that.

―― That’s very professional of you, but on the other hand, you have your own image of yourself, right? So wouldn’t you have a tendency to get tied down by that image and box yourself in?

S: Hm… But isn’t that image being created by the audience rather than the performer?

―― But it seems to me, Acchan, that you have your own idea of it.

S: Mm, in the sense that I’d want to reinforce that image when I’m working. And when I’m moving on to the next thing, I’ll get rid of that reinforced image.

―― You’ll get rid of it?

S: Mm… Well, because I’m not already on whatever’s next. (Smiles).

―― Ah, it’s like you’re still at step one.

S: Mm, it feels I’ve only now begun to grasp it… myself. … I’m not disregarding whatever came before, but… I’m now getting a hold of how I really feel regardless of what others may think.

―― Is there a chance for drastic change?

S: A chance… I don’t know, but… possibly… it might happen.

―― All of a sudden you’ll wear ripped jeans, (smiles) and release songs that sound like the Blue Hearts. What do you think? (Laughs)

S: I wonder what that would be like… I don’t know. … Because there are people out there who would say that’s good too, right? I really don’t know.

― Well, no matter how I look at it, I don’t think it suits you, though. (Laughs) … If that happens, wouldn’t it be restrictive for you being in the band?   Even if you wanted to change your image, you’d still have to consider the band’s overall image……

S: No, no way for me. Because I can’t do it alone.

―― Why?

S: I can’t write music. (Smiles).

―― But that…

S: Could be solved if I just asked someone else to do it?

―― No, actually… Haven’t you ever thought of learning how to?

S: Hmm, but, you know… [I’m] cool precisely because I’m in a band, is how I feel now… strongly.

―― Why a band?

S: It’s like… There are people who play the instruments, right? So it’s not like I’m singing karaoke. If it was someone who doesn’t care about me at all playing the instruments, it wouldn’t be enjoyable… That’s why our image is important… If I asked, “I want to do it like this. What do you think?”, the members would share their own ideas instead… That doesn’t happen a lot [out there], does it?

―― So you’re saying that it’s coolest to perform with the other members of your band furiously playing their instruments with you in the middle singing.

S: Mm. I think it makes me look good, and it probably makes the guitarists and bassist look good too… (Smiles)… Well, it may not be true, but… There are those who leave a band and go solo, right? … I hate to say this, but that would make me feel like I’m handling the weight of everything on my own… Like I’m a world apart from the next person…


If we’re just talking about connections, it’s through concerts, right?
The distance gets bridged… and we can have a conversation if we want too.

―― Peter Murphy is someone like that, right? But David Bowie isn’t. Even though he originally started out in a band.

S: Hmm… He’s kind of, he doesn’t seem to second-guess himself… He’s got this magnetism that could eat you up.

―― And that’s not what you have?

S: I’d say I’m not at his level… because I’m not a person who can do everything himself. … He can do it all, can’t he?

―― But he isn’t all about music theory and doesn’t give off the sense that he’s musically inclined either, does he? It just feels like he finds the right colleagues to work with and puts their abilities to good use.

S: But the one who gets put in the spotlight is him…

―― Yes, exactly. Picking out the best bits. (Smiles) Extracting the essence and tossing them away when they’re all out, (laughs) what an outrageous guy… So, putting it bluntly, you said that being with the other members of BUCK-TICK now is where you can be the coolest version of yourself. Does this mean that if there’s a different situation where you can be even cooler, would you move there instead?

S: A situation where I look cool… I can’t think of any (other than being in BUCK-TICK). … Being in a band (that isn’t BUCK-TICK) isn’t all that cool, is it?

―― So no matter how much this person, Sakurai Atsushi, wants to keep changing, he feels that the band BUCK-TICK probably has the perfect public image right now. There’s no running away from it being in such a situation where you’re capable of selling records like this, getting such crowds at your concerts, is there? Haven’t you ever felt conflicted about this? Like, maybe the neon “BUCK-TICK” sign gets in the way? Putting it bluntly?

S: [No,] because I think it’s fine to carry that signboard around while doing other unrelated things.

―― But isn’t there a certain image that comes with the mention of BUCK-TICK? (Smiles)

S: Not really… I’d hate it if the image [attached to me] made it such that I can’t do anything but…

―― You have the freedom?

S: Mm. If, for example, I want to act in a movie, I can anyway.

―― A movie would be nice. Is there something [coming up]?

S: No, not at all. But… I’m interested.

―― Aren’t there talks?

S: There were, in the past. But I didn’t think it was particularly cool. (Smiles) It was a science fiction movie, but it wasn’t quite…

―― You’d like something like Purple Noon?

S: Mm.

―― The closing scene really left an impression, didn’t it?

S: Mm. Because the music fits well.

―― With your present status, you can’t easily go out and take a walk, can’t say indecent things, can’t fart in front of people; you find yourself in all these situations now (smiles) as Sakurai Atsushi.

S: Mm, but… I feel that if I want to, I can do anything.

―― But you don’t want to, right? (Smiles)

S: If there’s something I want to do, then I’d do it.

―― Being stoic goes hand in hand with playing it cool, but I can’t help but feel a little concerned that you’re stuck in such a situation when you’re repeating the process of writing music, recording music, performing on stage day after day.

S: Sakurai hates putting up with unpleasant situations the most, so I think it’ll be fine, though.

―― Fine?

S: Mm. If I decide that I want to do something, then it’s not an unpleasant situation to tolerate.

―― Going back to our original discussion, I definitely think it isn’t a good thing to distance yourself from the world too much. Cultivating something in a sheltered environment might create something very beautiful, but if it has no contact with reality, that’ll just make it extremely vulnerable and you can’t say that it doesn’t come with any risk either.

S: Mm.

―― But it’s not as if I’m saying that you should get big and burly. (Smiles) So… you said that concerts are what excites you the most, right?

S: Mm.

―― I think that should be the way for musicians, but there are lots of other exciting things out there apart from concerts, right?

S: Mm.

―― So I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing for you to consider looking for these things elsewhere, you know?

S: Mm… hmm… I don’t really like the idea of protecting something, or being protected. … If we’re just talking about connections [to reality]… In making music, these connections are probably concerts, right? If I’m just someone who people see on record covers, someone they always listen to, always see in magazines, on TV, then… the distance [between me and my audience] grows. The distance gets bridged during a concert, one way or another… and we can have a conversation if we want too.

―― But conversations in a concert are… not exactly conversations, are they?

S: Mm… It’s not as if I can descend the stage, take a seat next to someone and ask, “How are you?”, right? (Laughs)… Music comes first, so there’ll always be some sort of divide [between us and the audience] if we build up some sort of image.


I want to go deeper into the glass [greenhouse] yet,
I want to become more open, more honest.

―― Artists are first and foremost human beings anyway, so isn’t it of course that their humanity contributes to the basis of that artist’s expression? If their humanity gets placed in a glass box and cut off from reality… Whether we’re looking at Imai-kun’s or Acchan’s lyrics, they’re all the product of your imagination flowing out from inside of you, right? That’s why, apologies for being blunt but, it feels like you’re losing your roots to your lyrics when you become more and more disconnected from reality. 

S: … This might not answer your question, but I like Ozaki Yutaka a lot… I admire people like him who can show [the world] who he is, what this city is with such brazen honesty. … But it’s my emotions; I want to be more open going forward or maybe I want to go deeper into the glass [greenhouse]… I want to become more honest.

―― Do you mean… that there’s a part of you that isn’t honest?

S: Mm. Like my wordings, writing about things that I don’t even feel…

―― What you said earlier about making yourself seem cool.

S: … Maybe that’s it. … But it could also be that I didn’t know. Right? What I want to do, what actually… suits me… whether it still suits me now, I don’t know either.

―― You don’t know whether or not it’s a good idea to show that side of yourself.

S: Mm. … I’ve become a lot more honest now.

―― You’ve gone in the direction of wordplay.

S: Mm. Lyrics that are just nice and sparkly. Lyrics that only aim to sound cool. … But… frankly, I really want to become more honest going forward. I’ve come to feel that I want to put more honesty in my work. Recently. Finally. … I don’t know what direction I’ll be taking though. Whether I’ll move closer towards the people, the city, or… maybe I’ll just put myself in a steel case.

―― You could turn to the streets, or alternatively, turn inwards, continue to examine yourself thoroughly and expose every single thing you have including the ugly parts and the things you don’t like. Whichever way you go, they’re both impressive in their own way, aren’t they?

S: Mm. That’s why, I think I can only be honest.

―― It sounds like you’ve gotten more confident by arriving at such a state of mind.

S: I suppose so… Confidence… Maybe that’s just my desire for more. (Smiles)

―― Meaning?

S: Hmm… There might still be a part of me which feels that these aren’t my words. LIke, that’s wrong… I think that might be why I forget my lyrics though. (Smiles)

―― They’re not familiar to you.

S: Mm.

―― There was something that Keith Richards said² that was simple, yet really meaningful: once you tell a lie, you’ll have to tell another to keep up with the first one. You’ll have to keep lying to no end. Keeping that going would be such a troublesome chore, so he decided to only speak the truth. (Smiles)

S: But wouldn’t it be trouble if you were to do something bad and then talk about it truthfully? (Smiles)

―― Do you like talking about yourself?

S: Hmm… There are times when I get embarrassed thinking back about events like these and realising how much I ended up talking about myself. (Smiles)

―― Like, “I shouldn’t have said that.” (Smiles)

S: Exactly. Or, “I should’ve been more discreet.” (Smiles) But there’s a time lag when it comes to magazine publications, so.

―― You’d look at it and think, “I didn’t realise I said that.” (Smiles)

S: Exactly. Because I have the urge to say things at that point in time even though I’d think like that later on. Although, I still think it’s fine if people understood what I said well enough.

―― Especially when you released Aku no Hana. There was so much magazine coverage. Have you ever felt sick and tired of doing these things?

S: Yeah. Everyone keeps saying it’s a comeback, it’s a comeback, but we’re the ones who felt that blanks the most and we went for those with really knowing why and what for. And when we suddenly have some spare time to think about it, I’d find myself thinking, what the hell was that? Wondering whether it was really necessary, things like that. … There were times when things just stopped at the managing office and the record company and our intentions couldn’t get communicated. On TV, in magazines. … I think it’d be good if we could consolidate and talk about things as a band instead of individually but…

―― I’m here saying this in front of our editor, but… There’s one particular type of person who works for Japan’s rock magazines publications, and that is the type who can bleed a person dry. (Smiles)

S: Well, funny enough, recently, I’ve been thinking I have to get smarter. In that area.

―― You know, Miyata-kun from J(S)W³, he says that he doesn’t speak honestly in interviews. He said that, he’ll be truthful if the interview turns out to be a good one, but if not, he’ll just smile and say whatever’s appropriate.

S: Mm.

―― J(S)W’s exposure is significant too, right? So that gets me wondering if that’s his way of protecting himself.

S: Mm… Wouldn’t people just assume that it was discussed with his manager or something? When we talk about what kind of interview we’ll be having, artists will often be told not to tell the interviewer whatever they want anyway. (Smiles) … That’s why, when I think about the interviewers who refer to questions written on a piece of paper during the interview… it’s… it makes me want to be wittier… Because, if I answered in a way which lets the interviewer reply without needing to think much, then I would have to answer quickly too. … We all aren’t good talkers, but somehow… those who speak without thinking with their heads… or rather, who speak from the heart… those types, well, when you look at them, you’ll get it, I think.

―― Even interviews that are just question 〜 answer, question 〜 answer do indeed qualify as interviews though. But that’s not a good interview, is it? Because good interviews become a conversation between people.

S: Mm. … It pisses me off when people who don’t know anything write music reviews but… well, I guess there’s nothing I can do even if I do get upset by those people to begin with… I’d just think of it as them doing their job and writing a thing. (Smiles)

―― Ah, music reviews. There are also times when even if you feel that this person doesn’t get it, you’ll have to accept that it’s your fault for not conveying things in a digestible manner…

S: Yeah, that’s true.

―― … I guess we’ll stop here today. Thank you for your time.

S: Thank you for your time. We’ve somehow gone off topic though.

―― Mm, somehow or other… But we didn’t expect the interview to turn out like this, right?

S: Right… I bet you never imagined such a serious topic coming from a guy who you watched Peter Murphy with and got wasted with after the show. (Laughs)



The topic that was originally suggested to me by the Pati▼Pati editorial department revolved around talking about his life from birth until now. However, Sakurai Atsushi expressed that he didn’t want to talk about his past anymore, so I changed the theme a day before the interview to make it something that explores his style and aesthetic sense.

But in the end, as you can see, he spoke very openly and frankly about his childhood. I think he made this interview very worth reading as a result. I am grateful to him for his cooperation.

The day of the interview happened to be Hoshino Hidehiko’s 24th birthday too. After the interview ended, the members of the band and staff members close to them gathered at the hotel’s bar for a modest birthday party. After the peaceful party, I was teasing Sakurai Atsushi as he played a mahjong game that he was certainly not good at (sorry!) in the hotel’s arcade. Flashing a natural and effortlessly charming smile, unlike any he showed during the interview, he said, “Aw no, this is good, just like that.”

Sakurai Atsushi is a man who possesses both an unparalleled beauty and a talent for remarkable performances. To him, the only people who he can truly open his heart to are probably his four fellow band members. And yet, in spite of that, there’s an underlying shadow of irremediable loneliness in his face. Perhaps his true anguish can forever never be understood by anyone, not even his band.

But even so, he has to push on. He cannot be fawned upon or flattered. He cannot show weakness or naivety. We can only imagine for ourselves how deep his loneliness extends from the melancholy he wears on his face.

Sakurai Atsushi. A true virtuoso. And virtuoso’s solitude so exists because he is a virtuoso.





¹ カステラ (KASUTERA) is a rock band who formed in in 1986. They had their major debut with CBS Sony in 1989, then disbanded in 1993.

² I couldn’t find the actual quote.

³ Shortened name for JUN SKY WALKER(S), a rock band who had their major debut in 1988, broke up once in 1997, and then came back together in 2007.




Sakurai Atsushi: Talking Points
1987.11 – 1990.9

BUCK-TICK’s first appearance in Pati▼Pati happened back in the November 1981 issue. But, in fact!!   Sakurai Atsushi wasn’t present for that issue’s interview because he was sick. He was front and centre in the pictures from the photoshoot, but since he called in sick, not a single word from him was given. And so, with such a story from behind-the-scenes, we’ve gathered all the interesting remarks the “charismatic Sakurai Atsushi” has said. This collection of statements might just help us discover a new side to him. It’s up to you to digest every single word he’s said.


I think I ultimately see the stage as both my starting point and the place I come back to.

January 1988
●It’s the first time I’m being interviewed on my own like this.

May 1990
●It makes me happy that people from all over are excited for us. But the more noise the audience makes, the more I want to show off. I find myself wanting to silence them. When I hear their screams and cheers, I start to get fired up too and the urge to overpower them even more wells up.

February 1989
●Love is murderous intent……

April 1989
●I’ve been moving further within myself even with my lyrical themes.

December 1990
●Because I was delinquent and stubborn in the past.

March 1988
●I don’t mind. Anyway, I consider “others’ expectations of you” to be a good thing. But it’s not that simple.

July 1988
●This time, I decided to try and write a bunch of lyrics that generally captured what constituted love songs to me ahead of recording. This song follows a story about “innocent love”. I think there are a lot of people who treat that as a joke now, though…… Weren’t there people who entered suicide pacts because of this innocence? Because the couple might’ve been holding onto a world of eternity just between them even if no one else understood. Well, I don’t think any of us have ever gone that far, but I think you’ll similarly feel like you’re in heaven when you truly fall in love.

December 1988
●I think I spend most of my time thinking about myself. When I wonder about what other people think of me, it’s about me, right? And if I’m thinking about a woman, it’s because I’m with her that I’m thinking about her. No matter what it’s about, I’m just thinking about it with myself as the main focus. There’s no escaping that I’m a narcissist.

February 1989
●On second thought, my “TABOO” and your “TABOO” should be the exact same thing. Surely……………

August 1990
●Hm…… I think I ultimately see the stage as both my starting point and the place I come back to. Video footage and CDs are what gives it form…… something like that.

January 1988
●My old man died while I was mucking about. I thought my mother would be even more against it after his death, but she told me to do as I pleased.
It just so happened that right at that time, I was starting to think about really changing from being a drummer to a singer…… This decided it for me. That I would follow through with the idea of becoming a singer.
This was winter, 2 years ago.

April 1988
●There are very real situations, but there are also parts that aren’t. Personally, it feels lihe there’s really a versions of me who’s writhing around and suffering in a place far removed from reality. (Smiles) That’s the idea behind the song ROMANESQUE.


I always feel that I must look good whenever going to stand in front of a crowd.

May 1989
●If you have something to say, please go ahead. I’d rather avoid having people making moves on things I’m unaware of.

September 1989
●Yes, I guess I have to think about business and things like that but……

January 1990
●Men are more romantic.

February 1990
●I’d turn into the interviewer, asking, “so, how was it?”.

March 1990
●This is really Imai-chan’s world, so I just went along with the vibe and sang along with the song. I sound energetic, don’t I?

January 1988
●Anyway, it seemed like I was an indecisive, introverted child. I think I played alone most of the time…… My report card would also say things like, “Let’s try to play with everyone more.” …… That’s all they ever said. (Smiles)

December 1988
●Yes, exactly. (Smiles) That’s why, although people might look at me and think I’m a stuck up asshole, I wondered whether I’m putting too much effort into this too. I always feel that I must look good whenever going to stand in front of a crowd. So much so that I feel stupid for caring so much about it.

May 1989
●Confidence…… only looks like it’s there. (Smiles)

September 1989
●I want to do it. There are a few hurdles, but well, it is what it is… I can only leave it to them……

February 1990
●Whether it’s discomfort or apprehension or security, as long as I can make you feel something, that’s good enough. It’s the worst when someone tells me they don’t feel anything at all.

May 1990
●Hmm… Although it’s true that I don’t think 100% gets communicated…

July 1990
●At events. But we couldn’t chose in the past. Like what time, and so on. We want to do it under the best possible circumstances, but festivals and those types of events aren’t the most conducive, so I’d be thinking that we’re better off not doing this if we had known this would be the case. (Smiles).

September 1990
●Hm…… That’s true. …… It’s not exactly about compromising but I guess you could say it’s my confidence in how I feel, I don’t mind even if people don’t understand……。

April 1990
●I’ve drawn some rough sketches for each song. Making progress while discussing with my manager.

January 1989
●Hide is in top form. (Smiles)


I’m happy if I can show my audience a world that is nowhere close to reality.

February 1990
●There are inclinations that differ from my own, somewhere. Like the idea that this particular style is cooler in a particular situation, and things like that. That’s why, rather than calling this self-contradictory, I think it’s more about somehow establishing myself as the protagonist somewhere.

April 1990
●Besides, I already had the video in my head while we were producing the album, so the process was fun in that sense.

January 1988
●In the beginning, all I knew was that I was going to leave a lasting impression on the people who were coming to see us. That was all I could think of in terms of impact.
Right now, I’m in the midst of conducting trial and error to figure out things like how I can change my expression of the ‘song’ while maintaining a natural impression.

January 1989
●It’s good. Because skinheads get really excited when they see such a flamboyant set. As I said, men are more romantic after all. (Smiles)

February 1990
●For example, I’m happy if I can show my audience a world that is nowhere close to reality even if I’m singing about something dark. Isn’t this more fun? Besides, if I were the audience, I’d enjoy these types of songs more too.

March 1990
●But don’t you feel sorry for the children? Because they’re the ones left behind.

May 1990
●But rather than straight up telling you exactly what the song is about, I wanted to make it feel like there’s something else to be found deeper within. It’s up to the audience if they want to dance no matter what song is being played, so… I think it’s also fine if they enjoy themselves so much that they’re moving their bodies.

July 1990
●We want to present the best representation of ourselves. [The idea of] a ballad echoing in the silence of the night is a good one.

April 1988
●It’s a very simple sound because it was created by the five of us through thorough work. But there’s a reason for it. Being that we wanted to return to the straightforward music that has our signature band sound. Because we wanted to try going back and starting out from there again. In a way, we did what the five of us are now capable of doing while also incorporating what we’ve obtained from outsiders so far.

February 1990
●This is something that people who always look sad will relate to, but those who awkwardly play it cool are the last to fall apart, aren’t they? Clowns generally play a comical role, right? But when they revert to their true self, they’re usually serious people or it’s a 180-degree change. If you’re nothing but a joker all the time, dying like that is……

March 1990
●Things I don’t like somehow happen when binge drinking, or having a serious talk over drinks and all that.


I’d realise, “ah, so this is how I look.”

April 1988
●I take inspiration from the music and write; I’d listen to the music and try to convey what I want to write about as honestly as I can. Just like the music, I want my lyrics to show all kinds of emotions and feelings too. To that end, it would be nice if I have the imagination to think about and experience all kinds of situations. But I want to add to the audience’s imagination rather than pushing something to them. Specifically, I want to depict things like a person’s inner workings instead of reality. It gets tainted if things are too realistic. Like, it gets all twisted and there’s nothing to hold onto…

May 1990
●I suppose you could say that it’d be good if I feel comfortable before and during the performance… Although, I would want to get into it, or make myself look cool, or try doing something indecent…… But that’s because there’s another party present after all, so… The so-called ‘relationship’, the impulse and the desire to do something happens at the same time. Because the moment I make a move to do something for my own gratification, it immediately becomes something I do for the audience’s satisfaction instead.

March 1990
●Yeah, I like those a lot. Like Aoi Teruhiko. We had his records at home, my mother liked him too.

April 1988
●We want to put on a thrilling show for the audience. Like, the type that’s so unpredictable that you can’t tear your eyes away from it. Something that makes them feel a kind of jeopardy. It’s boring if the audience can watch us calmly. (Smiles) I want them to be constantly excited.

December 1988
●Hmm… I don’t like the idea of letting people see my weaknesses… I want them to think I’m strong. The type who can’t be taken advantaged of. Who feels better off alone. It’s a bleak disposition, really. (Smiles) When I start thinking about bad things, I’d fall deep into that hole. I don’t like that side of me, but I’m the cutest one of all.

May 1989
●It’s ultimately because till now, we can’t see anything aside from what we want to do.

April 1990
●Initially, we didn’t have that scene of burning a flag, but it was there and then when we got the idea that it might be better if we did it.

March 1990
●Hey. (Smiles) This MISTY BLUE is a girl’s name. So, the main character [of this song], the man is drinking alone when he recalls the time when they danced together. It’s a retro setting, set in a bar from the era of modern girls and boys¹. Well, you could also say that it’s in a European club instead of somewhere in Japan, though.

July 1990
●Because I discover new things every time. Like when the light shines from behind me and my own shadow is reflected on the wall, I’d realise, “ah, so this is how I look.” When I suddenly look back, it’s like “so this is what my shadow looks like,” or, “oh, so cool.” (Smiles)

March 1990
●But you see, if they think that they are happy, then they are. I’m sure.

May 1990
●Although it’s not exactly a game of catch, it’s the way I’m always throwing… but it feels good when I manage to catch hold of it when the audience throws it back. It’s those series of moments.

May 1989
●The charisma as an individual in the band…… I want each of our own unique colours to show from within the one single base made up of the five of us.




¹ What were know as modern boys and modern girls in 1920s era (shortened to モボ・モガ) were young men and women in 1920s who were influenced by Western culture in both mannerisms and fashion sense.



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BUCK-TICK Glossary

Following Sakurai Atsushi’s super long interview and Talking Points, the 3rd part of this B-T special feature is a special edition of our well-known BUHi♥BUHi column, Ojima Hitoshi’s Roadie Line SPECIAL. We unravel the “Glossary” of all things B-T from あ to わ, in Gojūon, the Japanese alphabetical order. Now then, what backstories will we uncover?  That’s for you to read and find out. Here we go…


Ojima Hitoshi’s Roadie Line SPECIAL

あ (A)►
Asami Shigeo (浅見繁男).
BUCK-TICK’s chief roadie. We’ve been working together since their indies days. A man with a perfect personality and a million-horsepower engine.

い (I)►
Imai Hisashi.
Needless to say, he’s BUCK-TICK’s lead guitarist. Usually a right-hander but he plays a left-hander guitar “because it feels more natural to hold it like this”. Songs that Imai-kun composes are pretty amazing. Has the tendency to go all in on one thing but gets bored of it easily too.

う (U)►
Will Gosling (ウェル・ゴズリング / U-eru Gozuringu).
Recording engineer for albums TABOO and Aku no Hana. He’s always got a smile on his face. When he was in Japan for recording work, he always carried a picture of his wife and baby with him.

え (E)►
Angelic Conversation (エンジェリックカンバセーション / enjerikku kanbaseeshon).
A song where acoustic guitars are used. Feels grandiose. Music by Imai-kun, lyrics by Acchan.

お (O)►
Ojima Hitoshi (小嶋人志).
That’s me. 23 years old. A roadie. Personality: laidback.

か (Ka)►
Pirated goods (海賊商品 / kaizoku shouhin).
Bootleg merch sellers would often open up small stalls and sell them outside concert venues. Don’t take pictures without our permission and sell them, you bastards.

き (Ki)►
Cure (キュアー / Kyuaa).
An English band. Hide and Imai-kun love them to bits. They’ve recently made a comeback after a change in member lineup. They’re real cool.

く (Ku)►
Gunma Prefecture (ぐんまけん / Gunma-ken).
Where the five band members and two of the roadies come from. Five are from Fujioka, two from Takasaki, and six of us come from Fujioka High School. That said, we don’t have any famous specialties, but Gunma’s mothers are plucky…… apparently.

け (Ke)►
A store that was in charge of the outfits B-T wore in the past. It’s in Harajuku.

こ (Ko)►
High school (高校 / koukou).
Excluding Anii, four members of the band and Azami and I attended Fujioka High School. There were tons of weirdos and it sure was fun. But it’s a boys school.

さ (Sa)►
Sakurai Atsushi.
B-T’s vocalist. I think he’s the coolest and sexiest band vocalist in all of Japan. Personality: a considerate person.

し (Shi)►
Shakehand (シェイクハンド / Sheikuhando).
B-T’s office in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. Please send your letters to the band here.

す (Su)►
Stage (ステージ / suteeji).
I suppose looking at the stage that is visible from the audience area probably feels like you’re looking at a different world. B-T’s shows are always cool.

せ (Se)►
The set[list] for each show comes up to about 2~3 hours. Although it depends on the occasion and the location too. What really sucks is that there are heavy items too.

そ (So)►
Splitting image (そっくり / sokkuri).
They’re not very much like oni, but there are a lot of them, aren’t there? Fans who look like doppelgangers of Imai-kun and the other band members when they attend concerts. Everyone’s so enthusiastic.

た (Ta)►
Tagaki Osamu (高木修).
CEO of Shakehand. He’s always taken good care of us. Has an attractively deep voice.

ち (Chi)►
Ticket (チケット / chiketto).
Don’t buy from resellers…… but I guess there’s nothing much we can do about it. A case of early birds getting the worm.

つ (Tsu)►
Tour (ツアー / tsuaa).
This year’s Aku no Hana was long. It had 53 shows, huh? We visited all sorts of places too. Acchan was melancholy on the last day. He said, “A~ah~, it’s ended.” It’s sad when something’s over.

て (Te)►
All-nighter (徹夜 / tetsuya).
Happens when we’re recording or composing, and even when we’re getting this manuscript done.

と (To)►
Toilet (トイレ / toire).
Three out of the five members of the band will definitely be in the toilet before the concert starts. Be quick and hurry back.

な (Na)►
Nagaoka Takeshi.
The new assistant manager who started with us this year. He’s been working with us since the Seventh Heaven tour in different ways, so we’ve known him for a long time now. A born and bred Osaka native.

に (Ni)►
First in Japan, third in the world (日本で1番世界で3番 / nihon de ichiban sekai de sanban).
A slogan used during their indie days. As to why third in the world, it’s apparently because the top two spots are taken by Beethoven and Bach.

ぬ (Nu)►
Nukutee (ぬくてぇ).
I guess it’s Gunma dialect, means “warm”. Acchan says it a lot when he’s messing around. E.g. “Aren’t my hands warm” (オレの手ぬくてぇだろ / ore no te nukutee darou)

ね (Ne)►
To sleep (眠る / neru).
I love sleeping. The longest I’ve slept for is about 20 hours. When we’re on tour, Acchan and Imai-kun will definitely go to the dressing rooms to sleep.

の (No)►
To drink (飲む / nomu).
Everyone loves alcohol. Especially Imai-kun and Acchan, the two really seem to love it. Imai-kun’s mom used to say, “Don’t force him to drink too much”, but I’m the one who’s being forced to drink.

は (Ha)►
BUCK-TICK (バクチク / bakuchiku).
How many years has it been since the band was named BUCK-TICK. The person who came up with the name is Imai Hisashi-kun.

ひ (Hi)►
Higuchi Yutaka.
B-T’s bassist. We were classmates in highschool. He’s the most sociable of the band and the most childish too. Personality: conscientious.

ふ (Fu)►
Fan (ファン).
They’re musicans who have fans. But there are many who don’t have common sense or courtesy these days. We should be careful.

へ (He)►
Bass (ベース / beesu).
The bass guitars that Yuta play are from Spector, and they produce a pretty good sound. The bass [instrument/player] is less conspicuous than the guitar [instrument/player], but there’s a lot that goes into it.

ほ (Ho)►
Hoshino Hidehiko.
B-T’s rhythm guitarist. Tall and stylish. Personality: mellow, yet dependable.

ま (Ma)►
Masuoka “Joe” Yoshihiko.
B-T’s chief manager. Plays the guitar and is actually good at it. And above all, he’s a pervert. Personality: your typical blood type A person.

み (Mi)►
Musician friends (ミュージシャン仲間 / myuujishan nakama).
As you’d expect, everyone’s got a lot of rock connections. Like ROGUE, and Ziggy’s Oyama-san, and Himuro-san…… Well, there’s no end if I’m going to name them all so I’ll stop here.

む (Mu)►
The old days (昔 / mukashi).
There are lots of things we had fun doing back in the day. There’s a lot we could do for fun even though we had no money. Acchan would always bring up the past when we drink.

め (Me)►
Make up (メーク / meeku).
The band has been applying their own make up since they were amateur musicians so they’re good at it. Yuta and Acchan would take about 30 minutes while the other three would need about 90 minutes. There’s quite a variety of products they use too.

も (Mo)►
Morioka Ken-shi.
SOFT-BALLET’s keyboardist. He was the one who handled keyboards for us in Theme of B-T and the SEVENTH‐HEAVEN album. Super cool and over the top.

や (Ya)►
Yagami Toll.
B-T’s drummer. He’s Yuta’s older brother. And the oldest in the band. His slim body and small head is enviable. Personality: sociable, a person who knows a lot about society.

ゆ (Yu)►
Yunker (ユンケル / yunkeru).
A necessity when we’re on tour. Everyone drinks it when they’re feeling drained and need to recover from fatigue. Usually priced at 800 yen.

よ (Yo)►
Drunk (酔っぱらい / yopparai).
What happens when they’re drunk? Acchan, he doesn’t really change but he turns into a chatty person. Imai-kun sleeps. Hide starts to make himself comfortable. Yuta talks a lot and eventually falls asleep. Anii starts his sermons.

ら (Ra)►
What the band loves doing most. When they were an unknown indie band, they’d often have only 30-ish people attending their shows outside of Tokyo, but now, the fill up Tokyo Dome with 50,000.

り (Ri)►
Rehearsal (リハーサル / rihaasaru).
Something they’ll always do before a tour or a concert. During a tour, they’d usually spend a little less than 2 hours before the show with a sound check.

る (Ru)►
Answering machine (留守番電話 / rusuban denwa).
Another indispensible thing. Everyone’s got it. There are times when I’d get unintelligible messages from Yuta on mine.

れ (Re)►
Recording (レコーディング / rekoodingu).
An annual affair. They’re always keeping the motivation to produce a good album going and doing their best.

ろ (Ro)►
London (口ンドン / Rondon)
A city that seems to suit B-T best. A place where they once recorded an album before. They performed a show too, and Imai-kun was in super high spirits.

わ (Wa)►
Watanabe Sayuri.
B-T’s stylist in-charge. She’s been working with them for quite a long time. Handles everything with regards to the band’s outfits. Personality: quite an enigmatic person.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: morgianasama on LJ

Artist comments for Ernie Ball strings
[Imai, Yuta, Hide]

KORG Import Division’s Instagram 
2 June 2022



🎸Artist Comment🎸

Here are some comments from artists who use Ernie Ball strings💁‍♀️

Imai Hisashi (BUCK-TICK)


“I think I’ve probably been using Ernie Ball strings for more than 30 years?

It’s easier and more stable for re-tuning after restringing

and it’s got a softer touch when I play so I think it’s easy to work with.

I like the way the sound comes through.”


⚡️Strings used: Regular Slinky ♯2221

Higuchi Yutaka (BUCK-TICK)


“The strings are smooth to the touch, aren’t they?

I do a lot of plucking, so these strings make it very easy to play because they’re not too stiff.

In terms of sound quality, they’re in the high range but I like the way the lows come through too.”


⚡️Strings used: Super Slinky Bass ♯2834

Hoshino Hidehiko (BUCK-TICK)


“I’ve been using them since around the time of our debut.

The string gauge of the regular Slinky goes from .010 to .046

so I think that makes the strings fully balanced with a rich mid-tone.

And that’s something that BUCK-TICK’s sound can’t do without.”


⚡️Strings used: Regular Slinky ♯2221




Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: KORG Import Division (Imai post, Yuta post, Hide post)