Visual Kei emerged in the late 1980s, pioneered by the band X Japan, along with others such as D'erlanger and Color, who are regarded as influencing the fashion and music associated with Visual Kei bands. X
Color vocalist "Dynamite Tommy" formed his record company Free-Will in 1986, which has been a major contributor in spreading modern Visual Kei outside
In 1992, X Japan launched an attempt to enter the European and American markets, but it would take another 8 years until popularity and awareness of Visual Kei bands would extend worldwide.
In the mid 1990s, Visual Kei received an increase in popularity throughout
By 1999, mainstream popularity in Visual Kei was declining, X Japan had disbanded, and the death of lead guitarist Hideto Matsumoto in 1998 had denied fans a possible reunion. It was not long before
In 2007 the genre has been revitalized, as
Visual Kei has enjoyed popularity among independent underground projects, as well as artists achieving mainstream success, with influences from Western phenomena, such as glam, goth and cyberpunk. The music performed encompasses a large variety of genres, i.e. pop, punk, heavy metal and electronica. Magazines published regularly in Japan with Visual Kei coverage are Arena 37°C, Fool's Mate and Shoxx. Noted bands who at least at some point sported a Visual Kei theme include Dir en grey, Luna Sea and Malice Mizer.
Popularity and awareness of such groups outside of
LINK Visual Kei