Ryotaro Aoki

For Ryotaro Aoki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Jan 20, 2015

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Kimonos and heavy metal. It’s a combination that few groups have pulled off convincingly. While the aesthetic may have been used last year to turn (or bang) more than a few heads in the West by heavy metal idol unit Babymetal, the tiny trio ...

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...

Mono's dual album release shows dark and light sides to the band

Nov 4, 2014

Mono's dual album release shows dark and light sides to the band

On the 2012 album “For My Parents,” instrumental rock band Mono went big. Recorded with the 25-piece Wordless Music Orchestra, the album reflected a band that had finally completed a musical journey that it started more than 15 years ago performing grandiose, symphonic instrumental ...

Review: X Japan at Yokohama Arena

Oct 9, 2014

Review: X Japan at Yokohama Arena

X Japan performed its first show in Japan in over three years on Sept. 30 at Yokohama Arena. One of the biggest Japanese rock bands ever, X Japan are responsible for spearheading the visual-kei movement in the early 1990s. The band is known for ...

Dragon Ash, Chara impress at Rock in Japan's first weekend

Aug 5, 2014

Dragon Ash, Chara impress at Rock in Japan's first weekend

The first thing you’re greeted with when walking into the gates of Rock In Japan Festival is a large sign with a list of rules titled, “7 Things Rock In Japan Wants to Tell You.” Some of the list was fairly standard Japanese festival ...

Luna Sea rockers Sugizo and Inoran talk life at 25

Jun 19, 2014

Luna Sea rockers Sugizo and Inoran talk life at 25

“I don’t think of this as a reunion. We didn’t break up; we just paused our activities and came back to life,” says Sugizo, guitarist and violinist of rock group Luna Sea. Sitting next to bandmate Inoran, he speaks calmly and softly, his eyes ...