Popular Brands, Makeup, & Fashion for Visual-Kei “Bangya”

Popular Brands, Makeup, & Fashion for Visual-Kei “Bangya”

written by kawacura

The world of fashion and intricate Visual–Kei stylings, is a difficult one to discover and navigate by oneself… Luckily though through such encyclopedic, informative magazines such as KERA and the like, this fantastic fashion style can easily be understood and enjoyed!


Bangya『バンギャ』 and Bangyao 『バンギャ男』



As can be seen through numerous sources, the style of Visual-kei fashion can be described in a variety of ways!  The foremost used terms used within the Harajuku bred genre that is Visual-kei fashion is Bangya『バンギャ and Bangyao 『バンギャ男』 (female and male fans of Visual-kei fashion).  The term stems from the contracted loan words of “Band Girl” to become Bangya and Bangyao taking form from the “otoko / man” kanji.

(For a complete and comprehensive list of other expressions in association with Visual-Kei be sure to check out the list at the end of this article!)

One of the most appealing aspects of Visual-kei fashion is the freedom that it provides.  Fundamentally defined as representing personality through fashion, the genre can contain aspects of many other styles.  Thus, it is not uncommon to elements of Lolita, Gothic, Punk, Rock, Princess, Classical, and Decora etc.  This liberty and freedom of fashion styles lends itself to being an easy entry point for cosplayers and those new to experimenting through fashion and expressing themselves through what they wear.  So if looking for a fresh non-conservative look to rock, then Visual-kei could be the best option for you!


Famous Collaborated Visual-kei Works



Through the popular works of many highly talented artists, many internationally recognized designers have supplied and even custom made select pieces for certain individual or group performers.  Prominent brands under the h.NAOTO umbrella or Hyde, etc. along with many other famous labels all regularly work in collaboration with timely desired artists.  Multinational, multi-billon corporations the like of Disney are also no exemption to this budding and blooming market which whilst may not be for all, definitely has a strong core base and the potential to expand!

Obviously there are an almost un-list-able amount of bands, musicians and produces who through the Visual-kei music scene work very closely with the fashion industry, yet since this is a fashion inspired informative articles rather than a music / video blog, we leave the deeper research up to you.  (That said, if wanting some useful links or insightful chat forums, then please leave a comment below!) ☆


Visual-kei Fashion Trends




Despite the commonly placed leather, buckles, plaid, accessories and spikes that are often associated with Visual-kei fashion, there are also a few styles and materials that are also often incorporated into the genre.  Denim ♥  is one such iconic fashion embodiment, all over the world – be it the punk-fused London underground or the hip-hop heated Harlem hued New York or even the fashion fused and focused Florence of Italy, denim is without a doubt also a  part of the V-K movement.  By integrating such retro, hard-wearing materials and timeless classics into an ensemble, an artist or fan can evolve beyond fashion genre borders and inspire a sense of eternity that is often so hard to achieve in such a fleeting world of trendy fashion.  This ability to grow, preserve and present so many juxtapositions into one full feed heart-felt outfit that inspires and empowers others is perhaps that strongest, most powerful and most important aspect of Visual-kei! ☆


Recommended Visual-Kei Hair and Make-up Styles



As stated previously, there are no concrete rules or regulations within the genre of Visual-kei, thus there is also a sense of freedom in terms of make-up and hair styles.  Yet, for those that perhaps are a little unsure of how to thoroughly enjoy the style, luckily the ever popular magazine KERA is full of cutting-edge and tried ‘n’ true advice and information.

That said is one of the highest, most popular hairstyles to rock the V-K world recently was the “Lob”- cut!  For those not familiar with the do, the “lob” is a long bob-cut with the front and rear of the head having different lengths.  The look has become quite popular with fans and celebrities alike due to the ease and variety of which different alternating asymmetrical styles can brilliantly portrayed!  The use of braids, coloring and accessories all work extremely well for V-kei events and can result in some very sexy, powerful and cute creations. ♪


The Visual-kei Fashion Magazines



If wanting to get into the style and the V-Kei fashion world, then a great place to start is by picking up some tips and advice commonly found is such iconic fashion magazines as “KERA”, the “Gothic Lolita Bible”, “Zipper”, “NYLON” etc.  Other V-based magazines which feature information on styles, bands and culture which every Bangya and Bangyao should definitely get their hands on is “SHOXX”, “CURE” and “Men’s SPIDER”.  There is also a strong bangya community on websites such as 2ch as well!



★ Further commonly used terms within the world of Visual-kei are; ★



Agaru 『あがる』

Lit. To ascend.  To stop being a fan.


Amaban 『アマ盤』

Lit. Amateur band. Other term for indies band.


Angura kei 『アングラ系』

A sub genre of Visual kei. More on genres will follow later.


Anpintai 『アンピン隊』

Someone who causes mayhem with safety pins and stabs people with them during lives (seriously don’t do this..).


Aori 『煽り』

Words uttered by the band to stir up the crowd during the live. The most common example being “kakatte koi! (Come and get it!)”.



Bangya 『バンギャ』

A girl who loves Visual kei (bands). Similar to fangirl.   Also written as: Bangyaru 『バンギャル』.



Chikasen 『地下線』

Lit. Underground line. Other name for the label UNDER CODE PRODUCTION (UCP). It’s usually referred to as chikasen, not as ucp.



Dai honmei ban 『大本命盤』

Your favorite, still active band.


Dekin 『出禁』

  1. When a band is banned from a venue for causing trouble during the lives. For example for breaking things or continuously climbing on top of the amps.
  2. When a fan is banned from seeing a certain band for causing trouble during the lives, usually as a last measure.


Demachi 『出待ち』

Waiting for a band to leave the venue after a live. In Japan fans often give the band presents or letters, talk to the band or take photos with the members during this time. Some bands ban demachi.  See also: irimachi.


Desuvo 『デスヴォ』

Death voice. The grunting-“ish” thing fans do at heavier lives when they call out to the band.


Domainaa ban 『ドマイナー盤』

Super minor band. A band that is so unknown that only those who know the Visual Kei scene really well acknowledge this band.


Dorinku dai 『ドリンク代』

Drink fee. Japanese venues often require you to buy a drink ticket (often around 500 yen) upon entrance, which you can exchange for a drink inside the venue.


Dosen 『ドセン』

The spot in front row in dead center.



Ensei 『遠征』

When someone travels far to see a band perform, with the implication of going to multiple lives during that tour.



Furi, Furitsuke 『フリ、振り、振付』

Choreo. The choreography and dance moves fans participate in during lives, such as headbanging, fist pumping, gyakudai, etc. Not to be confused with parapara! It’s not the same! Read more about furitsuke



Gyao 『ギャ男』

A boy who loves Visual kei (bands). Similar to fanboy.   Also written: Bangyao 『バンギャ男』, bangyaruo 『バンギャル男』.



Hashi 『橋』

Harajuku bridge. That famous bridge near Harajuku station where people gather to cosplay (band members).


Honmei ban 『本命盤』

A band you really love which is still active.


Honmei men 『本命麺』

Someone’s favorite band member.



Ibento 『イベント』

  1. an event live 『イベントライブ』, a live organised by a band, magazine, label or other sponsor, at which multiple bands perform.
  2. an instore event.


Ike, Ikemen 『池、池麺』

A very good looking guy.


Indies 『インディーズ』

A band that isn’t signed with a recording label. The opposite of Major.


Insuto 『インスト』

Instore. An event for the promotion of the artist. At these events artists usually hold a handshake session, a talk session, or a signing session, among other things. Instore events usually take place at specialty Visual kei stores like zeal link, and require a CD purchase for participation.


Irimachi 『入り待ち』

Waiting for the bands to enter the venue. This is mostly done outside Japan, as Japanese ticket numbers take away the need to sit in line. In Japan this is considered rude because bands are usually very busy before lives.  See also: demachi.



Jouren 『常連』

Regular fan. A fan who goes to (nearly) all lives of a particular band



Kamiban 『神盤』

Lit. god band. A band you love so much you respect them as “Gods” (using the term loosely here), but which no longer exists. e.g. Malice Mizer has kamiban status for a lot of people.


Kamite 『上手』

Stage left. Right side of the stage from the fan’s perspective.  See also: shimote.


Kaofan 『顔ファン』

Lit. face fan. Someone who’s only a fan because of the band or band member’s looks.


Kote kei 『コテ系』

A sub genre of Visual kei. More on genres will follow later.


Koteosa kei 『コテオサ系』

A sub genre of Visual kei. More on genres will follow later.



MC 『エムシー』

The little chats/talks from band members during lives in between songs. Not all bands do this.


Men 『麺』

A band member.  Also written as: Bandomen 『バンド麺』.


Mitsukano 『蜜カノ』


Lit. honey girlfriend. A fan who sends a band member money.  See also: satsure


Moumoku 『盲目』

Lit. Blindness. When someone who only cares about their favorite band, or even their favorite band member and doesn’t care for any other bands.



Obangya 『オバンギャ』

A combination of oban (old hag) and bangya. An older fan. There’s always been a lot of discussion in the Japanese scene about what age makes you an obangya. The term has a negative connotation.


Okkake 『追っかけ』

Stalker fan. A fan who would for example search for the band’s hotel or greet them at the train station.


Okini 『オキニ』

Outdated term. Someone who is a band member’s favorite fan.


Onnagata 『女形』

A band member who dresses in female clothes and who has very feminine looks. This term comes from Kabuki, in which female roles were played by men dressed up as females. Some prominent onnagata were Mana in Malice Mizer, IZAM in SHAZNA and Toshiya and Shinya in the early years of Dir en grey. But to be honest I haven’t seen anyone use this term recently.


Ongen 『音源』

For example a CD, an mp3 or a Demo tape. Basically any merch that makes sound.


Osare kei 『オサレ系』

A sub genre of Visual kei. More on genres will follow later.



Panpi 『パンピ』

A normal person. Someone who doesn’t know Visual Kei. The opposite of bangya.



Saizen 『最前』

The front row. This spot is usually reserved for regular fans. Don’t just push your way into the front row as it’s extremely rude to do so. Ask first!


Saizen koushou 『最前交渉』

Front row negotiations. When in between bands at taiban events the people in the front row change.  See also: shikiri.


Sansen 『参戦』

Lit. Go to war. To attend a live.



Satsure 『札レ』

A fan letter that contains money, as well as the sender’s contact information.  See also: mitsukano.


Seiban / seiribango 『整番/整理番号』

Ticket number. In Japan tickets for lives are numbered and you enter the venue based on ticket numbers, making it useless to line up early.


Shimote 『下手』

Stage right. Left side of the stage from the fan’s perspective.  See also: kamite


Shinki 『新規』



Sofubi 『ソフビ』

Soft Visual kei. A sub genre of Visual kei. More on genres will follow later.


(Sou)shikiri 『(総)仕切り』

Someone at taiban lives, often a jouren fan, who determines who gets to stand where on the first row during the live. To give everyone a fair shot at being able to stand front row at their own favorite band, the people in the front row change in between performances. The (sou)shikiri manages this process by assigning spots beforehand, to make the shifts go smoothly and to prevent fights from breaking out. There usually isn’t a shikiri at oneman lives for obvious reasons. A person managing the front row for just one band is called a shikiri, when someone manages the entire event they’re called soushikiri. Some bands ban (sou)shikiri (e.g. Versailles), as it can happen that the shikiri abuses their position to let their friends on the front row.

It’s very rude to push your way into the front row without asking the (sou)shikiri first.  See also: saizen koushou



Taiban 『対バン』

An event where several bands perform. Opposite of oneman.


Tanuki 『たぬき』

A Visual kei bulletin board on 2chan.


Tsunagari 『繋がり』

Someone who is connected to the band and has personal contact with a band member. This can be as a friend, as a lover or as an acquaintance.




Opposite of taiban. A solo live. Alternatively there are also twoman lives with two bands performing, threeman lives with three bands performing, etc. You get the gist.  See also: taiban.



Zentsuu 『全通』

Going to all the lives of a band’s tour. (e.g. all Japan lives, or all European lives).