White girl fronting Japanese rock band actually a Swedish boy

White girl fronting Japanese rock band actually a Swedish boy

TOKYO —

I was watching television here in Japan the other day when something caught my eye. A TV program was featuring a beautiful young white girl with adorable curly blonde hair singing in fluent Japanese.

This in itself is nothing special: Japanese people love seeing foreigners who can speak their language, and variety shows here make stories out of them all the time. What dropped my jaw, though, is when I looked closer and realized that this beautiful young girl is actually a boy.

His name is YOHIO, a 16-year-old boy from Sweden who is now the lead guitarist and songwriter of the visual kei band Seremedy. For those unfamiliar with the Japanese subculture, visual kei refers to a type of heavy metal-esque rock music marked by the musician’s flamboyant and often androgynous use of make-up, hairstyles and costumes while on stage.

According to his profile, YOHIO was born to a musical family in Sweden and from an early age he showed he shared his family’s affinity for music, taking up piano and even writing songs starting at the age of 6.

He picked up his first guitar when he was 11 and became captivated with the instrument, receiving basic lessons from his father who is a guitarist in a rock band.

In the summer of 2009, 14-year-old YOHIO formed Seremedy and began composing songs based on the band’s concept of “Beauty & Madness,” focusing on creating a sound of traditional heavy metal infused with elements of pop.

After having trouble finding members, Seremedy’s line up was complete by early 2010 and they played their first few concerts in April, including UppCon, Sacandanavia’s largest Japanese pop-culture convention.

The band continued to grow in popularity until they were signed to Universal Music Japan last March, releasing their first single, “Bulletproof Roulette,” on the 11th and going on a Japan-wide tour the following month.

Now it seems there is no stopping the Swedish invasion: in October 2011, Seremedy was asked to open at Japan’s premier visual kei festival, V-Rock Fest II, after which the band embarked on their Japanese second tour, with YOHIO providing lead vocals on several songs.

As I mentioned above, Japanese people love a foreigner who can speak their language and this likely has something to do with the group’s success: YOHIO began teaching himself Japanese from about 4 years ago and now writes most songs in a mixture of English and Japanese. He even started a Japanese blog in 2009 and now writes to his fans using a mix of emoticons and glitzy icons spot on enough to fool you into thinking he was a Japanese school girl.

So what’s next for this Swedish prince-turned-Japanese princess? After Seremedy released their debut album “REACH the SKY” to a crowd of 6000 fans at a Shinjuku event on April 28, YOHIO announced he will also make his solo debut later this year. While this latest TV appearance was reportedly his first, there’s no doubt that it won’t be his last.

YOHIO Official Site (Japanese)

RocketNews24

  • 20

    Riffraff

    @Sonoko Ikeda.... I hope you got paid well for this infomercial. There was way too much commercial information in this article to have been written by someone who "realized this beautiful young girl is actually a boy" and spontaneously decided to gush about the “discovery”. The article would have been a much better read if it had been written as a straight forward piece.

  • 3

    Gurukun

    There's another girl (boy?) on youtube that can play a mean guitar. Nobody has figured out what gender this person is either.

  • 0

    NeoJamal

    visual-k

    the caveat was in the genre

  • 3

    GW

    noo sankyuuu!

  • 5

    Probie

    This reads like a fanblog bio.

  • 3

    tmarie

    He knows J fans are suckers for such crap. They had an interview with him on TV the other day. Seems like a nice kid, dad supports him.... he's making a mint no doubt.

  • 2

    Tatanka

    Is it safe to say will can call this "person" an "jodan" (女男)not to be confused with 冗談...

  • 3

    OMGhontoni

    Maybe not being an artistic type I simply don't get it, but I find this disturbing on a number of levels!

  • 1

    Aliasis

    I love androgyny. Give me gender ambiguous musicians any day. He's a very attractive kid, whether looking at him as a boy or girl, and I think that's awesome.

  • 5

    Wolfpack

    That visual kei stuff has always seemed creepy to me.

  • 3

    Laguna

    Dude looks like a lady - hope that's on their playlist.

  • 4

    cactusJack

    Al the young men in Japan who look and act like girls get all the babes. Smart kid.

  • -2

    Bartholomew Harte

    If it feels good do it! make love not war! this has been done over & over & he/she's not too bad in the music! -Not exactly Ziggy Stardust but one has to start somewhere!Good Luck!

  • 2

    Erik Lars

    All the young men in Japan who look and act like girls get all the babes. Smart kid.

    Wrong. The girls go shopping during the with their metrosexual veggie eater boyfriends so they have someone to give them fashion advice and hold their bags. At night they party with the macho meat-eaters, get hot and let loose.

  • 2

    Erik Lars

    @cactusJack

    You are assuming that this kid even likes girls.

  • 0

    JohhnyGlitterball

    Another one in the mould of Gaga from a very privildged family trying hard to shock and make a large amount of caqsh in the process. it is out of the means of a normal child of 14 to even have funds to start a band let alon have one taht starts doing gigs at conventions.

    Not saying the lad is not talented but a kid from a poor family or from the worng side of the tacks who looked like this nad had ability would likely be ridiculed and have no chance of any fame until adulthood.

  • -3

    codomo

    hey japanese, stop exporting otokono-ko(娘) subculture to oversea. its totally weird.

  • 2

    borscht

    YOHIO or YOSHIO? The writer should make up her or his minds.

  • 0

    Gurukun

    Here's the Japanese Girl...or...boy, that I mentioned at the top of the thread. This 'person' has got some real talent!

    Enjoy....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N0fo44ARk&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aodja9EK6EY&feature=related

  • 2

    mastertigurius

    As a Norwegian, I thoroughly LOL at this article. :D

  • 2

    cactusJack

    Now I understand the lyrics!!! " I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me... She showed me her room, isn't it good, norwegian wood? "

  • 0

    SquidBert

    @mastertigurius,

    As a Norwegian, I thoroughly LOL at this article. :D

    That's OK, most Swedes thoroughly LOL each time a Norwegian does, well anything at all. ;-)

  • 1

    lostrune2

    Fujoshi-bait!

  • 3

    Cletus

    Ok l will bite. The heading for this article is so politically incorrect it is not funny. "white girl", so if it was an Asian would the headline say "yellow girl" or if it was an African or African American would it say "black girl" of course not because those labels are considered incorrect and offensive.... Interesting thought one rule for one and another for others...

  • 0

    timtak

    Oh ****! Yohio is quite hot ^-^; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INKCPOQL98c I think he may go far.

  • -1

    orange

    I have to say s/he is very pretty and dresses beautifully, and seems to actually have a bit of talent, though his music is really not my kind of thing. Good for Yohio for being who s/he is and putting themselves in the public eye. It is very very brave of such a young person!

  • 0

    cactusJack

    I checked out the video: thin guy dressed as sexy girl -check. Cool guitar - check. slick guitar licks - check. Song full of hooks - check. heavy make-up - check. 1 cut per second - check. 50s mic - check. The video is pushing all the right buttons anyway.

  • -1

    garomakaikishi

    nobody would talk about a black trans singer

  • 4

    tmarie

    You are assuming that this kid even likes girls.

    He likes girls - the interview I saw, he was asked which gender he likes. He's straight. Though I wonder how many females would be open to dating a guy who looks prettier and spends more time of their make up than they do.

  • 2

    Fadamor

    I think tmarie nailed it. ^^^ Girls don't like hanging around prettier girls unless they're hoping for "table scraps".

    @Laguna:

    Dude looks like a lady - hope that's on their playlist.

    LOL dude!

  • -2

    Pukey2

    erik:

    The girls go shopping during the with their metrosexual veggie eater boyfriends so they have someone to give them fashion advice and hold their bags. At night they party with the macho meat-eaters, get hot and let loose.

    sorry to break it to you, but these mets eat crap junk food containing plenty of meat. Vegetarians like Carl Lewis and Alec Baldwin aren't exactly skinny mets with long hair, wearing skinny jeans.

  • 1

    AiserX

    A cross-cosplay where the male is hard to distinguish from a female. But the manly creepy looking arm is out of place and gives it away lol. He/She or it should have gotten a long sleeve for that.

  • 1

    Matthew Simon

    Hmm I think its the voice that gives him away :)

  • 2

    BurakuminDes

    Oh ****! Yohio is quite hot ^-^; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INKCPOQL98c I think he may go far.

    All power to ya, TimTak. Nothing wrong with thinking 16-year-old trannies are "hot." Nothing at all...

  • 0

    mark monson

    It's a shim (she-him) all the way to the bank !!

  • -2

    Wanda-kun

    WolfpackMay. 10, 2012 - 10:40AM JST That visual kei stuff has always seemed creepy to me.

    I don't find it creepy. I think it's pathetic. For every David Bowie (one to be exact) there have been and apparently will be thousands of essentially talentless wannabes.

  • 0

    Wanda-kun

    cactusJackMay. 10, 2012 - 04:33PM JST Now I understand the lyrics!!! " I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me... She showed me her room, isn't it good, norwegian wood? "

    Nope. Wrong British Invasion band. Try the Kinks and "Lola."

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    LostinNagoya

    Nothing that Prince and David Bowie have done before, but with great style.

  • -1

    Herve Nmn L'Eisa

    Yuck.

  • -1

    plasticmonkey

    Japanese people love seeing foreigners who can speak their language

    Do they all now . . .

    Even while this Orwellian direction in news journalism disturbs me, the junior-high level writing of these stories makes them on the surface a little less scary.

  • -1

    Wanda-kun

    LostinNagoyaMay. 11, 2012 - 12:21PM JST Nothing that Prince and David Bowie have done before, but with great style

    Prince? I don't recall him ever dressing like a girl or that his public and stage persona ever caused any confusion regarding his sexuality. Bowie, however, was/is bi-sexual and was never particularly coy about it.

  • 0

    Chubaka

    Johnny Kitagawa would probably love to have his hands on this kid's career, literally and figuratively. Yohio is smart to make his solo debut soon--The band he's with is third-rate IMO and holding him back at this point. Combine him with some competent young Japanese idols and you have an Asian "supergroup" in the running, at least commercially...

  • 0

    Aaron Stoner

    AliasisMay. 10, 2012 - 10:29AM JST

    I love androgyny. Give me gender ambiguous musicians any day. He's a very attractive kid, whether looking at him as a boy or girl, and I think that's awesome.

    First I hope your under 18...and two that sounds wrong.

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