Some might have noticed him in Angelina Jolie’s movie Unbroken or seen his picture as Byakuya Kuchiki for the upcoming Bleach movie but Miyavi has been around the music scene since 1997 when he first started playing with a band. He’s touring to Europe, America and Asia in April and May of 2018.
Known as a Samurai (slap) guitarist, Miyavi has made his jump over to being an actor. Staring in Angelina Jolie’s war movie Unbroken about a track runner becoming a military pilot and getting caught by the Japanese in WWII Miyavi played a big role as a horrible officer. Since unbroken he went on to undertake smaller roles in American productions such as Kong: Skull Island and Stray. For the Bleach live action he took up a part too but we fans know Miyavi from songs as Jibun Kakumei, Are you Ready to rock, Kavki Boiz and The Others. Starting out as a more visual kei/Rock artist He has changed his style over the years so much that even I have no idea where to place him. Miyavi’s genre is just “Miyavi”.
In 2013 Miyavi became an UNHCR volunteer and takes his time between movies, music and his private life to visit refugees in camps around the world. In november he became an official Goodwill Ambassador. Us fans, we are proud of whatever endevour he goes on, We will support him no matter what but for now let’s get to know Miyavi..
Born out as Takamasa Lee Ishihara on 12th of September 1981 in Osaka. His mother Japanese and his father half Korean. Takamasa played football/soccer until he got injured at a young age and at age 15 he bought his first guitar and started practicing and performing Ray Charles songs while at the same time being a fan of Japanese Visual Kei artists Luna Sea and X Japan but also western bands as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and genres as Motown and Blues. Takamasa moved to Tokyo when he turned 17 in 1999 and joined his first band called Dué Le Quartz taking up stage name ‘Miyabi’. In the group he played guitar, wrote lyrics, composed and arranged. The band signed with Miyavi’s later music record company ‘PS Company’ and they spiraled fast and big. Within a year they had opened their own fanclub and had recorded a few albums until in 2002 the band broke up. Two of the members formed a new band after and Miyabi changed his name to Miyavi (雅, Miyabi) and became solo.
Even if Miyavi has always said he wasn’t a vocalist and relied mostly on his guitar playing skills, Miyavi grew.. and kept growing over the years.
Starting with signing for his solo contract with PS Company and releasing his first album Gagaku in October of 2002 and followed by three more singles by the end of the year. In the beginning of 2003 he gave his first solo concert and three more singles “Jibun Kakumei”, “Tariraritarara”, and “Coo quack cluck -Ku. Ku. Ru-” and in december his 2nd album “Galyuu”. His own production movie “Oresama” in 2004. In February of that year he embarked on his first solo tour in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Releasing another single and playing Nippon Budokan arena before signing with record label Universal Music Japan. Releasing two more albums and two more singles before changing up his music style to a more acoustic sound until by the end of 2006 he took a 6 month break from his music to go to America to learn english and take dance classes.
In February of 2007 Miyavi came back in a one time show in America in the band S.K.I.N. together with Visual Kei legends Yoshiki, Gackt and Sugizo. In June of that year Miyavi came back with his 7th album and a remixed album followed. This set him on another Nationwide tour, a show in Germany and one in Seoul, Korea.
In 2008 he released another album and this album spiralled forward so fast that by the end of the year he was playing an international tour. In May, it was followed by his very first worldwide tour, This Iz The Japanese Kabuki Rock Tour 2008, with 33 concerts in the United States, Chile, Brazil, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Finland, France, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan.
2009 – another new era
There’s a lot to say about Miyavi, he’s been a kameleon in his music but also in his looks. He has had a variety of hair colours and clothing choices but most of this ended when he left PS Company at the end of his ten year contract but also when he got married to Japanese Idol Melody and their first daughter was born on July 29th, 2009.
Miyavi founded his own record label “J-Glams Inc” and his looks have been rather pure, little to no make up, dark or grey/silver hair in various length and mostly black and white attire. But this looks really good on him.. so who is really complaining?
He embarked on another world wide tour and signed with major label EMI, He had to cancel his US tour however because he had gotten sick and fallen off the stage causing an injury. Releasing another album in 2010 and welcoming another daughter into their life by the end of the year.
In 2011 he released another album and another tour followed soon after, Miyavi performed in South America at the Maquinaria festival in Chile, and visited Venezuela, Peru and Colombia for the first time. On June 19th of 2013, his seventh studio album, Miyavi, was released in Japan. It is his best-selling album so far, reaching number eight on the Oricon charts. On October 12, 2013, it was announced that Miyavi would venture into professional acting with his international debut in the film Unbroken. He played the role of Imperial Japanese Army sergeant Mutsuhiro Watanabe, nicknamed “The Bird”, in what was Angelina Jolie’s second feature film as director. It was released in December 2014. Miyavi commented that as the movie was somewhat sensitive to the Japanese people, he had hesitated as to whether he should take this role. However, after meeting with Jolie, and given that the underlying theme of this story is forgiveness, he wholeheartedly decided to accept it. Miyavi was featured in the same month’s edition of Vogue Italia.
In 2014, Miyavi went on his fourth world tour, “Slap the World”, which started on February 22 in Malaysia. He continued throughout Europe, followed by the European release of his latest studio album, and visited Mexico City and Los Angeles, with United States release of the album, before returning to Japan for his longest nationwide tour so far. Miyavi composed the music for the single “Top Of The World” by SMAP, which topped the Oricon singles charts. On August 25, he performed for the first time at Fuji Rock Festival. On September 9, his new single “Real?” was released, on which Miyavi collaborated with Jam and Lewis and Jeff Blue, and also the live video recording from the world tour.
His next album The Others was released on 15 April 2015, his title song, The Others was later released in a different version to support UNHCR. The album ranked 10th on Oricon and was followed by a two-part nationwide tour, a Europe tour (his fifth on the continent) and a concert in South Korea.
On April 29, Miyavi released a digital single, Afraid To Be Cool / Raise Me Up. His next album, Fire Bird came out on 31 August 2016, and ranked 11th on Oricon The artist followed it up with a nationwide tour MIYAVI Japan Tour 2016 “NEW BEAT, NEW FUTURE”, which included 10 stops. The last performance was held at Makuhari Messe, and was broadcast live on Abema TV, with more than 100,000 viewers watching.
In 2017, he played a cameo role in the movie Kong: Skull Island. In February, the singer revealed a North American and European tour. As a part of Live Nation’s Asia On Tour, Miyavi performed in 14 cities, including Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto. He embarked on a solo international tour entitled Fire Bird World Tour. The tour began in Seoul on February 29 and ended in Berlin on May 10, with shows in countries including Austria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. In March, Miyavi performed at South by Southwest for the first time in his career. On March 29, he released a digital single titled “Live to Die Another Day”, which is the theme song of the live action movie Blade of the Immortal. To commemorate his 15th year as a solo artist, Miyavi embarked on a Japanese tour—MIYAVI 15th Anniversary Live “NEO TOKYO 15” started on May 21, with Miyavi releasing an anniversary compilation album, All Time Best: Day 2, on April 5.
In 2018, Miyavi was cast as Byakuya Kuchiki for an upcoming film, Bleach.
Awards and nominations
|2013||MTV Europe Music Award||Best Japanese Act||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Collaboration||Day 1 (with Yuksek)||Won|
|2014||Best Male Video||Horizon||Nominated|
How to follow Miyavi
Miyavi has several social media you can follow him on;