We don’t know if the world has improved this year, however, thanks to the amazing music and related activities that kept us spirited up, we’re ready to move on to the next year!

To close this unprecedented year, we would like to highlight our 15 best artists in the visual kei and Japanese rock category. In addition to having our reviews sprinkled in the leaderboard, we all asked you to share your voices that directly impacted the order! Thanks to everyone who voted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

1. SAY IN GRAY (visual kei)

At the onset of the pandemic, DIR EN GRAY was among the first to broadcast a free live concert internationally, and they have continued that internationally focused mindset this year. Time the single OboroFollowing the release of Twitter with a “Like Campaign”, the campaign ended with discussions with members broadcast internationally via Galacaa.

This year, DIR EN GRAY had 27 concerts, its 32nd single Oboro, and a new collection of music videos on the way. They are also honored to close Usen Studio Coast next year with its two-day tour.

For its legendary presence, creativity with social media and increased attention from international fans, DIR EN GRAY takes gold for 2021.

Despite the obstacles that the pandemic presented, we had the chance to speak with drummer Shinya last year in an exclusive interview. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here!

DEVILOOF entered 2021 as a juggernaut. After the cancellation of their European tour in 2020, the group simply refused to bow to the pressure. Instead, they announced a promise to do so in the future and now decided to tour Latin America!

Continuing its international opening, DEVILOOF launched a crowdfunding campaign for foreign fans. And to top it off, they made strides on streaming services after his music was retired, but came back even stronger with more music than before!

The group continued with a number of music videos, including NEWS, Peer pressure, and Libido. It all culminated in the release of a full album, DYSTOPIA. What an album it is.

Of course, let’s try to make our way to number one boy next year.

We did an exclusive interview with DEVILOOF when the European tour was still on the horizon. There you will certainly feel the desire of the band members to perform abroad. Give it a read!

JILUKA’s international presence is stronger than ever with its collaboration with Chaotic Harmony and its participation in overseas events like HYPER JAPAN ONLINE.

This is only the beginning of its world conquest! The group has repeatedly expressed a strong desire to tour in the United States and Europe once the world allows it.

In the meantime, JILUKA has organized no less than 37 shows in Japan. Despite his insane schedule, they had enough room to create the album. IDOL, the limited single Suzaku, a live DVD, and countless in-store and online events.

A well-deserved bronze medal!

You can find out more about JILUKA and her desire to perform abroad in our exclusive interview.

4. the Gazette (visual kei)

After remaining silent for most of last year, the GazettE has finally made a comeback this year with one of its strongest albums, MASS.

Along with the new album, the group hosted an international online event for fans and broadcast three concerts for free on YouTube. They also celebrated their comeback with pop-up stores that fans in Japan can visit.

In collaboration with the “Zy club”. and Vijuttoke, we got to speak with the band in a series of interviews. We learned why the band remained silent in 2020 and what they focused on instead, their endless passion and the day-to-day lives of guitarist Aoi and bassist Reita.

MUCC took them out of the park again this year by not only continuing to tour, but also live streaming many of their performances. Two of those performances were the last for former drummer SATOchi who left the group and retired from professional drums at the end of this year.

However, the group showed no signs of slowing down as they quickly announced their debut single as a three-piece group titled GONER / WORLD and were back on tour and live in no time. MUCC also announced that they will be releasing a new album in 2022.

Rather than looking like the end for MUCC, it’s starting to look like the complete opposite with its future brighter than ever!

See the rest of the list of the best visual kei:

6. Kizu





11. ACME

12. Alice Nine



15. lynch.

Tour’21 -Ultima- 07.14 Cube Shibuya Line

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Last year, MIYAVI proved that MIYAVI was a pioneer in virtual live, but this year it broke records and limits as the first rock musician to play at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, releasing it for free on a scale. international.

He was one of the first Japanese artists to resume touring overseas, performing a total of 20 shows across the United States and Canada. MIYAVI also released their 13th studio album. Imaginary, collaborating with big international names like Daniel Kang.

MIYAVI continues to redefine the role of “artist” with its continued work as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, voice actor in two Netflix productions “Bright: Samurai Soul” and “Arcane”. Plus, a role alongside Mary Elizabeth in the movie “Kate”, and the list goes on. MIYAVI’s achievement track steadily accumulates, placing it at the top for 2021.

We got to see MIYAVI on their long awaited comeback on tour in the US, see how it went here!

For 2021, BAND-MAID has served new music while making a cameo appearance in Netflix movie Kate.

First of all, the release of the album Invisible World is a tour de force of bangers like After life accelerate metal BLACK HOLE. In addition, they provided the opening theme Sense for End Platinum anime and interviewed by DragonForce’s Herman Li on his Twitch stream.

Finally, to end the year with a few Christmas gifts: the announcement of a American tour for 2022 And one international acoustic livestream on ZAIKO.


This year has been a golden year for HYDE, with the celebration of its 20th anniversary as a solo artist. Celebrating in sophisticated style, HYDE hosted a two-day concert at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. Delivering one of the most aesthetic livestreams of the year to a global audience.

Even when he wasn’t performing, his presence remained at the forefront with the release of the single. NOSTALGIC and his collaboration with the anime MARS RED for the ending theme song ON MY OWN. And when he wasn’t busy with music, he even hosted adorable and laid-back Instagram livestreams. May the laughs of HYDE guide us to a hopeful New Year!

ONE OK ROCK has always been a push to break into the international scene, and they took a huge leap forward this year when their documentary “Flip A Coin” premiered on Netflix.

The alt-rockers have also released two singles: renegades written with Ed Sheeran, and Golden broken heart which was the theme song for the live action movie “Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning”. Finally, they satisfied their global audiences with an internationally broadcast live acoustic performance and participation in YouTube Music Weekend.

The potential of ONE OK ROCK seems to be limitless and we look forward to what they surprise us with next!

LiSA continues to reign supreme in the world of anime music as it was not only a great year for the Anisong Queen, but also an important year as she celebrated the 10th anniversary of her solo debut.

The double-digit milestone was highlighted by collaborations with notable producers such as Ayase (YOASOBI) for the animated link song Sword Art Online Yuke, or Yuki Kajiura for the single Akeboshi / Shirogane which served as the opening and ending songs for the world-popular Demon Slayer anime.

LiSA also took care of the anniversary project that gave birth to the mini album. ladybug, a collaboration with the brand Mini hysterical, a tour of the arena and other episodes to discover.

Akeboshi / Shirogane

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See the rest of the best Japanese rock list:

6. The Rainbow



8. Unlucky Morpheus

Revolution “M”

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10 Budokan BABYMETAL

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12. The blood of Mary

13. Gacharic shooting


15. Asian Kung Fu Generation

With everything that has happened this year, it is not easy for artists to function normally, but we are very grateful to all the musicians who kept their minds in these dark times!

We are also once again grateful to everyone who voted to influence this year’s best list. If you want to contribute to next year’s best list, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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