Kyo (musician)

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Dir En Grey @ Maquinária Festival 04.jpg
Kyo at Maquinaria Festival in 2009
Background information
Born (1976-02-16) February 16, 1976 (age 39)
Origin Kyoto, Japan
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • poet
  • illustrator
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts
Website Official website

Kyo ( Kyō?, born February 16, 1976[1]) is a Japanese musician, poet and singer-songwriter. He is best known as the vocalist of the metal band Dir en grey. He has been with the band since its inception in 1997 and was formerly in La:Sadie's. Kyo was inspired to become a musician when he saw a picture of Buck-Tick vocalist Atsushi Sakurai on the desk of a junior high school classmate.[2] His vocals span a tenor range.[3]



While he has only composed a handful of Dir en grey's songs (for example, "The Domestic Fucker Family" and "Hades"), Kyo is responsible for all the lyrics, which usually have negative implications and touch on a variety of dark, sometimes taboo, subjects, such as sexual obsessions ("Zomboid"), child abuse ("Berry"), and mass media ("Mr. Newsman"). Several songs deal with specifically Japanese issues, such as the country's casual attitude towards abortion ("Mazohyst of Decadence" and "Obscure") and its conformity-oriented society ("Children"). Others deal with more traditional subject matter such as personal feelings, emotions, and lost love ("Undecided", "Taiyou no Ao", "Mushi").

The vocabulary used ranges from vulgar to exalted, with wordplay and double entendres occurring frequently. For example, the title of the song "Mitsu to Tsuba", which is about rape, means "Honey and Saliva", but is written with the kanji inverted, suggesting reading them with an inverted pronunciation - "Tsumi to Batsu" - which would translate to "Crime and Punishment", a more appropriate title.[4]

Kyo performing in 2006 with wounds on his chest and blood smeared on his face.

Stage Image[edit]

His stage performances became known for their shock elements such as full-body makeup resembling heavy burns, fake vomit of varying color and consistency, and various acts of self-mutilation.[5] The authenticity of the latter is debated, given how frequent certain practices occur, sometimes firmly in place within a tour's usual set-list. For example, Kyo would regularly engage in fish-hooking during the performance of "Kodoku ni Shisu, Yueni Kodoku" throughout the "It Withers and Withers" and "Inward Scream" tours.[6] However, he has toned down this violent stage persona in recent years, and has not performed self-mutilation after 2008.


While in a 2010 North American co-headline tour, Kyo performed with Apocalyptica, singing "Bring Them To Light" along with Tipe Johnson. Later that year, he recorded vocals for Daisuke to Kuro no Injatachi's debut album.[7][8]

In 2013, Kyo gathered artists from various visual kei rock bands to form the supergroup Sukekiyo.[9] The band opened the first show for Sugizo's tour Thrive to Realize, and performed the next day for the Countdown Japan 13/14 festival.[10] Their first album, Immortalis, was released in 2014.[3]

Health problems[edit]

Throughout his career, Kyo has been hospitalized multiple times: once in 2000, due to hearing problems (remaining partially deaf in his left ear) and again in 2006 and 2009 with edema of larynx (inflamed vocal cords). In late 2011 to early 2012, Kyo had yet another problem with his throat and vocal cords. After being diagnosed with vocal nodule dysphonia,[11] Dir en Grey was forced to pull out of the "Still Reckless" tour which was set to begin in March 2012.[12] Although Kyo had been diagnosed and hospitalized many times, this time he faced the possibility of surgery. In an interview, Kyo stated that his vocal polyps were treated with medication.[13] Right after the May 16th show in Shinkiba Studio Coast, he was again hospitalized with tonsillitis.[14]


Kyo has released two volumes of poetry, published through Media Factory. Both books are accompanied by short bonus CDs. In 2013, Kyo launched a new website and released two collections of photography, "Shikkaku," which features Kyo as the subject[15] and "For the Human Race," which features photography by Kyo himself.[16]

On July, Kyo announced a new poetry collection book which entitled as "Gasou no Shi" and would be released on August as the first volume in a series.

Release Title
August 31, 2001 Jigyaku, Rensou Furan Shinema (自虐、歛葬腐乱シネマ)
Bonus CD: Daisanteikoku Gakudan (第三帝国楽団)
December 3, 2004 Zenryaku, Ogenki Desu ka? Saihate no Chi Yori Namonaki Kimi ni Ai wo Komete... (前略、お元気ですか。最果ての地より名も無き君に愛をこめて・・・)
Bonus CD: Furan Shinema Teikoku Gakudan (腐乱シネマ帝國楽団)
June 2013 Portrait Photography "Shikkaku" (Portrait Photography「失格」)
June 2013 Photography "For the Human Race" (Photography「for the human race」)
August 2015 Gasou no Shi


External links[edit]