Uruha (the GazettE) ...... "resplendent" beauty, just like his name!
Guitarist Uruha, the 3rd person in the the GazettE's 'personal close-up'. With his idea of "I wanted to try out over-the-top visual kei!", first of all, his long, blond extensions were curled, then he wore a pure white shirt...if this process were to be reported, one would start out thinking it was about Beethoven?→metal kei artist?→Oscar?, but when it was finally completed, his beauty was a perfect representation of his name, "resplendent". As expected. There is such sensuality in him posing before the camera, it could turn even a woman to envy. Make sure you check it out in these pages!
The one aspect that absolutely cannot be ignored when talking of Uruha’s life is the existence of companionship. Uruha, who proudly asserts, “I am what I am right now not because of myself alone, but because of what we all aimed at”. We got to hear him talk about life walking a straight route down the fascinating and perilous path of a band. And for this photo shoot, Uruha selected a gothic visual, something which he has never quite ventured into. Such beauty; isn’t it inconceivable even for a woman!?
---- What is your earliest memory?
“This was when I was in kindergarten, was it? I remember I used get inside my Mum’s skirt a lot. Didn’t you get in there a lot?”
---- No, I don’t have any such memories (laughs).
“She mostly used to wear a long skirt, you know, and I used to get inside it.”
---- That dark, confined feeling is nice.
“I don’t really know (laughs). I was quite the pampered kid. With 2 elder sisters, I was the youngest child.”
---- Then you must’ve been raised with care.
“That’s true. If I may say so myself, I think I got comparatively more pampered by my sisters. They’d always buy me what I wanted, like birthday presents and stuff. Because of that, my sister would often snap at me.”
---- I can understand your sisters’ feelings (laughs). So, that disposition of the ‘youngest child!’ is what you had.
“Yes. I was the type who’d always go along with people. I still have much the same tendencies. I wasn’t the type who’d take the lead. Even when we’d go out with the family, I’d generally be the last one closely following along. Even when I’d go out playing with my friends, I was the sort who’d just leave things to my partners.”
---- As in, ‘go where everybody else is going’.
“That’s true. Like, “Where do we go?” “It’s up to you.” Generally speaking, I was brought up in harmony.”
---- For some reason, I understand what you mean.
“Hahahha. I used to be called a “good boy” in Elementary School. I would never oppose things, and was an obedient kid.”
---- What was it that you played a lot?
“I’d play games at home, or go outdoors and be rather active playing around. Mario was a huge craze just when Super Famicom was released, so I raged and ranted at home wanting it to be bought for me, ended up kicking the door and opening up a hole in it, and got quite a thrashing from my father.”
---- So, did you get Mario?
“I kept on pestering them about it this way or that and eventually, I did get Mario (laughs).”
---- Then, what about the active games?
“The time when I was in Elementary School, I was bounding with curiosity about things, and I played stuff like ball games and Dragon Ball Z. I wonder, why was childhood so much fun? We could get absorbed in anything, we could get excited doing anything. We’d go to the mountains, make secret bases, play with fire too (laughs), we also did all kinds of bad things~.”
---- You must have gotten scolded a lot then.
“No but, whatever I did, I never got caught. I’d run away quite expertly if there was glass broken.”
---- Is that, something you’re proud of?
“It’s not like I pressed anyone into doing it. You see, I was the type to just follow along. But once, something we had done got found out, and I got scolded till I was literally kneeling on the sidewalk. My parents found out about it too, and then one’s parents apologize to the other person, you know? Seeing my parent’s tears for the first time back then, I realized, “Ah, I shouldn’t do this”, and in a flash, I stopped doing bad things. I can never forget the words of my Homeroom Teacher from Elementary School at that time. “From now on, before you decide to do anything, remember your parents’ faces”. That was a good teacher.”
---- What are you grateful to your parents for?
“It’s that they always told me to eat vegetables, ever since I was little (laughs).”
---- You played soccer too, right?
“I joined a soccer club when I was in second year of Elementary School. It was a real lot of fun. I hated stuff like basic training, but I enjoyed things like mini-games. That is where I met Reita.”
---- I see. Were you good at it?
“I was playing after an year. I was a substitute though.”
---- That means you sure were good. How was Reita?
“Reita was the substitute for our year. He was really tiny and frail, you know. He talks in his assertive way now, but I know where his core lies, so there have been times when I’ve had to tell him “Hey hey, you’re just bluffing it now!” (laughs).”
---- Like, you have a hold on his weaknesses (laughs). The times when you’re with Reita must be fun (laughs). Have you been good friends since then?
“No, not at all in the beginning. I think we just met and started talking by some chance, and got quite friendly after that. We were together in Middle School.”
---- Did something change once you were in Middle School?
“Study-related stress increased, you know. Aren’t there these cram schools which people get sent to for their High School Examinations? I got sent to one with a Spartan style1 of instruction in the beginning.”
---- I suppose that’s because after all, one’s parents want one to graduate from a good High School and then get into elite courses.
“I didn’t like that so I quit, and then went to an ‘at-home’ cram school for a bit, which was fun. I had a lot of friends there too.”
---- So you studied there.
“I took it rather lightly (laughs).”
---- The will to decide things for oneself and work at them started sprouting then, didn’t it?
“That’s…probably right. Because 2nd year of Middle School was also when I came to know about LUNA SEA and started developing an interest in bands.”
---- How did you come across them?
“I borrowed the CD from Reita, watched the PV of “ROSIER” and felt how cool it was. Watching Sugizo, I got interested in guitars, and then felt like being in a band. At the same time, with what was going on around us, Reita too similarly came to like LUNA SEA and got interested in bands. We assembled a group of friends we used to hang around with often, and would go to each other’s homes to meet up. The instruments we all wanted to play were diverse, so it was just right.”
---- When was the first time you went on stage?
“Before I formed the band with Reita, I played in a band as the class performance for Bunkasai2. I don’t remember anything except having been nervous, but that moment when the consultant Professor from the Sports Department told me, “You’re quite good at the guitar”, I thought, “Ah, but this isn’t soccer, is it””
---- Of all the people, it had to be the consultant from the Sports Department (laughs). Did your life change dramatically after forming a band?
“Once I started out with the band, I completely lost interest in soccer. We were unafraid and went with the feeling that “the 5 of us are a team”. It brought me a lot of peace, the feeling that “my place is here”. I truly felt that there is nothing more enjoyable than to be doing something of my own will.”
---- And this despite the fact that you were a boy who’d just follow people.
“Once we had confirmed our intentions among ourselves, I came to think something like “I’ll do it if everybody else does it”. Like, “I’m not alone.”
---- You weren’t alone, but 5 people with the same will, all working towards it, is a different matter.
“That’s true. With us having a band, our circle of acquaintances spread rapidly. Like, the senior who let me play drums when I was taking them down at the back, or meeting people outside the place of my part-time job.”
---- What part-time job did you have?
“I worked as a greengrocer.”
---- A greengrocer with blond hair?
“Umm, I wore a neat cap, and an apron. I switched through all sorts of greengrocers.”
---- So you were a greengrocer boy throughout (laughs). Did you like vegetables?
“No (laughs), I don’t like them at all, but with such an appearance, there weren’t many jobs I could do, so I didn’t really have a choice. But thanks to that, I learnt to distinguish between cabbage and lettuce.”
---- (laughs)! …this is off topic, but wasn’t there some girl you liked at the time?
“You see, I was always in love ever since Middle School. I fell in love too easily, to the extent of worrying myself over it, thinking, “Why do I just fall in love this way, in a single glance?”; to the extent of wondering how just about anybody would be fine (laughs). But I didn’t show it in my behavior at all.”
---- Didn’t you talk about it even to your friends?
“I didn’t, you know. I was afraid of being taunted about it, so I couldn’t tell them (laughs).”
---- Well, didn’t you confess to or go out with someone?
“I did go out in Middle School, so to say (laughs). The girls at that time seem really grown-up, don’t they? The other side gives off a strong aura of liking you, and once that happens, the boys have no choice but to go and confess to them. That was the kind of situation that came up. And because of that, things like going home together were the most embarrassing, but she would continuously pester me with “Let’s go home together” or something of the sort. So, I’d just go “Ah, hn……”.”
---- What, you made her take the lead? (laughs)
“Being a shy person was a good thing too. I didn’t even know when the right timing was to hold hands……”
---- How innocent.
“I was innocent, but it was a difficult time by itself, so I can’t genuinely say it was fun (laughs). I really wanted to take the lead, but I didn’t know how to do it, and it hurt.”
---- But after that, little by little, you did become able to form good relationships.
“I suppose, that was because I was able to do things to make the other person have an interest in me? As in, to express, “this is who I am” through words. I also became able to have a proper conversation.”
---- Was that because you came to be confident about yourself and what you were doing?
“True. I gained self-confidence, and the ability to view things objectively, so I was able to talk to women too.”
---- Your sociability gradually came forth.
“It did (laughs).”
---- When was the first time you made a song?
“I don’t remember very well, but when I was in 2nd year of High School, a senior whom I met at the greengrocers’ which I just mentioned, had the apparatus for recording songs, so I borrowed it and that was the first time I made a song.”
---- Did you have any intention of making a song yourself?
“I did. I didn’t think I’d be able to make one though.”
---- And how did your first song turn out?
“It turned out surprisingly well. Added the drums, added the bass, added the guitar. I didn’t add the song chorus, but I experienced the fun in making songs. That senior was the one who taught me all of this too.”
---- That meeting was quite an important one then, wasn’t it?
“It sure was important. He was the teacher of the band. Before we knew it though, we lost touch with him, but once in a while when I return to my home town, I hear of how he’s doing. That girl too, I think she probably knows about how it’s been going for me.”
---- Having played all along admiring SUGIZO, did you ever feel that you were nearing the ideal you held for yourself?
“I think the time when I was in High School, when I set my sight on my dream, was the closest I ever came to that feeling. But the more time passes, the more that dream seems to be going further away.”
---- Right now, more than getting closer to SUGIZO, I think it’s more about you molding your own form.
“That’s true. In the past, I was just like, “Want to perform at Tokyo Dome” or “I could do it”, so in a sense, it was close.”
---- What about you in the past do you think is the reason why you are what you are at present?
“I think what mattered the most is that I wasn’t working at it alone back then, and that is probably why I’m still doing it? That’s what I feel. Having always been together with my companions is the biggest thing. There’s also the fact about me being the youngest child and always having followed people, and the past led to this present because it was a dream dreamt together by everybody. I don’t know if I still had been doing this had it been my dream alone.”
---- What would it be like if the High School Uruha were to see the Uruha at present?
“I see… probably something like “Still going at it”? (laughs) Maybe I’d say “That’s wonderful”. Wonder what it would be like.”
“But since we still haven’t played at Tokyo Dome, I don’t think I’d say something like “That’s wonderful”. I might just say “Not quite amazing”.”
---- That’s because Tokyo Dome was the measuring scale at the time, isn’t it?
“Hn, because I didn’t know anything except Tokyo Dome. Even if someone had mentioned Yokohama Arena to me at the time, it wouldn’t have rung a bell.”
---- By the way, when you were little, what did you want to become?
“A J-leaguer. I found the J-league very exciting, and it was the same for everybody around me. Maybe we just jumped the bandwagon (laughs). But for bands… . Ah~ but those were the times. Back then, even the people who weren’t in bands knew what LUNA SEA was.”
---- It would of course have been wonderful had you become a J-leaguer, but it is equally wonderful that you turned to what you aspired for, with visual kei, despite the bandwagon.
“But, I think, my skills weren’t quite suited to being a J-leaguer after all. …this is something I’ve felt ever since those times.”
---- Compared to the past, what has changed in you?
“My taste has changed. What I find cool is completely different now. Back then I used to think visual kei was all about how gaudy one could be, that if I made my own guitar, I would make one with an awesome shape. But when I actually made it, it came out surprisingly simple.”
---- What do you think about your taste in the past?
“As far as taste is concerned, I am in complete denial about it (laughs). In the past I used to like the things which I found cool at first sight. It’s the complete opposite now, rather than giving in to the first impression, I come to like the coolness of something only after I’ve further thought things through.”
---- Up until now, there must have been all sorts of temptations, and also other paths you could have taken, so what do you think is the reason why you’ve made it this far without getting distracted by anything?
“For me, the band was the biggest temptation. Parents carry that ideal of properly going to a University, finding a job…isn’t that how they feel? But I walked on towards my temptation with all my heart (laughs). There was no other temptation except the band. I had practically no other interests.”
---- As a band kid, you went in pursuit of your dreams; what aim do you pursue now?
“What is it now? It remains unchanged, I’m still working towards it. For now we can only acknowledge the fact that things don’t end there. I don’t know what will happen thereafter, but I feel we could walk towards it with a new hope that that isn’t really the goal. When I think this way, I wonder if I’m not getting closer to the dream I had in the beginning, after all.”
---- And together with your companions too.
“Hn. I don’t ever want to see the end. If we get closer to the end, I think our targets will get even higher, and we’ll go on working towards them.”
1. Very hard training or education.
2. Cultural festival.
3. Hope you enjoyed reading the interview J Do share your thoughts and impressions!
4. Corrections as well as suggestions for improvement are always welcome J