Kami (musician)

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Kami
Birth name 神村右狂 (Ukyō Kamimura)
Also known as Kami
Born (1972-02-01)February 1, 1972
Ibaraki
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Died June 21, 1999(1999-06-21) (aged 27)
Genres Progressive rock, art rock, gothic rock, punk rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1989–1999
Labels Nippon Columbia, Midi:Nette
Associated acts Malice Mizer, Kneuklid Romance

Ukyō Kamimura (神村右狂 Kamimura Ukyō?, February 1, 1972 – June 21, 1999), better known by his stage name Kami, was a Japanese musician best known as drummer for the visual kei rock band Malice Mizer. He died on June 21, 1999 in his sleep of a subarachnoid hemorrhage at the age of 27.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Kami was born in the city of Ibaraki, Japan on February 1, 1972. As a child in elementary school, he was very much interested in traditional Japanese brush writing and using a soroban (abacus), therefore studying these fondly. He also had an affection for tennis and a love for music began to develop within him, often sitting alone in the music room after school and listening to records for hours on end.[citation needed] His first interest in playing his own tunes was in his fifth year at school when he began to practice on a drum kit. Kami left and didn't return to drumming until early high school. Early influences of Kami included many of the British new wave bands, including Culture Club and Duran Duran. Between this time, Kami devoted his after-school hours to practicing his favorite hobby, tennis, as he was fond of exercise.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

At the beginning of his high school years, Kami was invited into a friend's band. Initially, his interest was in being a guitarist; after practicing for a short time, he decided to return to the drums.

Kami's fondness for drumming began to evolve, and a personal drum kit became a necessity. Thus, he took up a part time job and subsequently saved up the necessary money.[citation needed] Realizing that he could not achieve a large amount of success in his current high school band after graduation, Kami decided to go to Tokyo. Upon leaving his previous group and moving, Kami spent a brief time in a punk band before taking a liking to the visual kei style. As a result, he joined an up-and-coming musical group called Kneuklid Romance. Performing mainly live shows, Kami soon attracted the attention of Yu~ki, bassist from the visual kei rock band Malice Mizer. Due to Malice Mizer's previous drummer, Gaz, leaving (who would shortly thereafter join Kneuklid Romance), the band was very keen on introducing Kami to their style of music. He was reluctant at first although a phone call from one of their guitarists, Mana, persuaded him. Therefore, Kami began to play unofficially for the band over six months as a support player. However, soon after, the other members of Malice Mizer agreed upon recruiting him as a full member of the group. Upon Kami's recruitment, Malice Mizer released their debut album, Memoire, his first inclusion on a publicly released album.

Death[edit]

On June 21, 1999 a subarachnoid hemorrhage killed Kami in his sleep at the age of just 27 years old; his body was discovered four days later & his funeral was held the same day[citation needed] with only his band members, Mana, Közi, and Yu~ki attending as well as his parents and a few close friends. Gackt, who had just launched his solo career, was on tour at the time and did not hear about the death of his close friend until about a week later.

In the months before his death Kami had taken to composing music, including "Unmei no Deai" and "Mori no Naka no Tenshi". These would later be released on the Malice Mizer EP, Shinwa, which is dedicated to Kami. He also left the incomplete song, "Bara no Souretsu", which was released on their "Beast of Blood" single. Malice Mizer's "Saikai no Chi to Bara" was written by Mana for Kami after his death.

As for the other members of Malice Mizer, Gackt wrote two songs in memory of Kami that were both released on his Mars album: "Emu ~For My Dear~" and "U+K". Közi and Yu~ki co-wrote Közi's solo single, "Memento," and dedicated it to Kami. Mana has also stated that one of the songs in his Moi dix Mois album, Nocturnal Opera, is dedicated to him.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kami was often regarded as the silly and over-the-top person of the group, nicknamed "Monkey Man" by Közi due to his constant jumping around and childish nature. Despite this, in interviews he was often very timid and hardly talked much. He once stated that he was very quiet and trusting, joking that it was easy to cheat him.

One of his most popular trademarks was his hair, which had grown so long that he could actually sit on it. However, in 1998 he cut it off and changed his hairstyle. He constantly claimed that this was because his hair always got in the way while he was drumming.

Kami was a person of many hobbies and interests, his main being tennis (which he had played since his early childhood), as well as buying lottery tickets when bored; he also enjoyed cleaning. He also was fond of collecting perfumes and shampoos, a hobby that was shared by fellow Malice Mizer member, Yu~ki, which often led to them trading and recommending various products to each other.

Kami had an interest in the Sengoku period army general, Takeda Shingen. He was known to attend the "Takeda Shingen Festival" every year. Alongside this love of the army general was his interest in the ritualistic suicide, seppuku. Often Kami would have photos taken of himself mimicking the act in costume.

Kami held a fascination for the imagery and symbolism of the butterfly. He had at least three tattoos on his arm, all of which were butterflies. He was also known to have bought anything he saw that had to do with butterflies. He also appeared with butterfly wings in Malice Mizer's music video for "Au Revoir". This is also the reason their EP, Shinwa, has a butterfly on its cover.

Band history[edit]

  • 3PMayonnaise (3Pマヨネーズ) – 1989–1991
  • Kneuklid Romance – September 1992 – March 1993
  • Malice Mizer – March 17, 1993 – June 21, 1999

References[edit]

External links[edit]