Gackt, also known as Gackt Camui, is Japan's polyglot pop/rock star, forging a career in the 2000s with his hard-rocking but slick songs performed in Japanese, English, French, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin. He is famed for both his work in the highly successful band Malice Mizer and his solo performances, the latter of which have included numerous songs for anime series, TV dramas, and video games. Gackt's exact age has not been divulged to the public, but it is known that he was born and raised on the southern island of Okinawa, receiving musical education since the tender age of three. It was, however, limited to classical music and the traditional Japanese pop genre known as enka, so his acquaintance with rock music was delayed until his late teens, with Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" playing a pivotal role in his decision to study rock guitar.
He toiled for a while as a band technician and founded the band Cains:Feel, but his public career really began in 1995 when he joined Malice Mizer as a vocalist. The band went on to become one of the staples of the visual kei genre, a branch of goth rock famed for its predilection toward theatrics and elaborate costumes, but Gackt, who was the main lyricist and took a small part in writing the band's music, stuck around only until 1999, suddenly prompting a rather scandalous split and moving on to become a solo artist. Debuting with the EP Mizerable (1999), Gackt soon shot to stardom, engaging in very diverse activities, as Japanese celebrities are wont to do. He kept up a steady flow of releases, recording seven studio albums and 27 singles during eight years and playing throughout the Far East on numerous occasions, including a stint in Beijing performing for an audience of 50,000 in 2002. He has also released the "Jyuunigatsu No Love Song" each year in a different language, the first version recorded in 2001. In 2007 Gackt joined the newly formed supergroup S.K.I.N., founded by Yoshiki Hayashi of X-Japan fame and featuring prominent pop/rock musicians Miyavi and Sugizo as well. The band had its debut gig at the Anime Expo convention in California, but remained only a part-time concern for all its members, despite plans to record an album.
Gackt's involvement with the TV and movie world has been just as successful, his songs having been selected for various TV dramas and anime series, and the success of his collaboration with the Gundam franchise even prompted him to release the "Gundam album" 0079-0088 (2007), based on the anime series' theme songs (the name of the album combines the serial numbers of some of the metaseries' giant robots). His non-musical achievements include appearing in many commercials; voice-acting and motion-capturing for Bujingai and Final Fantasy VII video games; and a role in the period TV drama Furin Kazan. He also wrote the script for the vampire movie Moon Child (2003), as well as starring in it himself together with Hyde (of L'Arc-en-Ciel), his friend and another J-rock guru. Gackt is also set to star in a 2009 Hollywood movie, Bunraku, with Josh Harnett and Demi Moore on board. ~ Alexey Eremenko