Gackt, the moral playwright

Japanese singer-actor Gackt wants his work to be more than just entertainment.

In a recent interview in Hong Kong, the 38-year-old disclosed the moral behind his upcoming stage play, a fictional story based on the life of legendary samurai warrior Yoshitsune Minamoto, who lived in the 1100s.

He said in English: "He had to fight a lot of friends and family... He defeated his enemies but was instead killed by his brother after the (battles)."

"We have our reasons for fighting but after that, all that remains is sorrow. In this century, a lot of countries are still fighting small wars.

"I would like to tell everyone that fighting is meaningless. We can find another way to resolve problems."

Gackt, who says his full name is Gackt Camui, called the play he wrote a "romantic and dramatic" story of friendship.

He will be producing and acting in the play, which will be staged in Japan in July.

The New Paper spoke to him last month in Hong Kong before his performance at the 6th Asian Film Awards, an event that is part of the annual Entertainment Expo Hong Kong.

Gackt said he was at the event to promote Japanese culture and to increase cultural exchanges among countries.

"Countries have their own standpoints but I believe as long as people communicate, they can come to an agreement," he said.

The 1.8m-tall and lean Gackt joined show business 17 years ago and is known mainly as a "visual kei" singer - a performer who wears flamboyant costumes and make-up, and has elaborate hairstyles.

He has released 41 singles and 12 albums, and appeared in numerous Japanese TV shows. He has also voiced characters in video games.

After the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last year, he launched a charity initiative called Show Your Heart, which raised more than 208 million yen (S$3.2 million) for the Japanese Red Cross Society.

The singer has appeared in the Japanese movie Moon Child (2003), which he wrote, and the American movie Bunraku (2010), which starred Josh Hartnett, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson.

Gackt said his frequent concert tours prevent him from taking on more movie projects as filming takes up two to three months at a stretch.

But if the right role lands on his lap, he's willing to adjust his schedule.

Overseas fans

He's especially interested in movies made outside Japan so that his overseas fans can catch his work.

"I'll take on a challenge as long as I can express myself as a Japanese and an Asian," said Gackt. "I think playing a samurai is the best way to showcase the Japanese culture, so I would like to play that...I also like to play the villain because it's interesting to express emotions like sorrow and anger."

Two years ago, he formed a band called Yellow Fried Chickenz with six other musicians and released their debut album last month. Last year, the band performed in 12 cities in nine European countries. Their plan is to tour Asia and the rest of the world.

Said Gackt: "We are planning on touring the whole of Asia, including Singapore, maybe this year... And the next challenge is to tour all over the world. We have already planned 20 countries and we want to travel to at least 100 countries."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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