Infobox musical artist
Img_capt = deletable image-caption
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Japan
Instrument =
Genre =
Years_active = 1984-Present
Label = BMG Japan
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.buck-tick.com/ www.buck-tick.com]
Current_members = Sakurai Atsushi
Imai Hisashi
Hoshino Hidehiko
Higuchi Yutaka
Yagami Toll
Past_members = Araki
Notable_instruments =

BUCK-TICK is a Japanese rock band consisting of five members: Atsushi Sakurai on vocals, Hisashi Imai on guitars, backing vocals, noises and theremin, Hidehiko Hoshino on guitars and backing vocals, Yutaka Higuchi on bass, and Toll Yagami on drums. They originally formed in 1984 and have been almost continuously active since then. Over the course of their career, the band have experimented with many different genres of music, including positive punk, post-punk style, new-wave, goth, industrial, electronica, and straight rock-n-roll. Along with X Japan, BUCK-TICK are commonly credited as one of the founders of the visual kei movement. In addition to their long, productive career as a band, the five members have worked on individual projects and collaborated with many other famous artists, both Japanese and foreign, including Maki Fujii (of Soft Ballet), Issay (of Der Zibet), Kiyoshi (of Spread Beaver) and Media Youth), Masami Tsuchiya (formerly of Ippu-do), Raymond Watts (of PIG), Sascha Konietzko (of KMFDM), Clan of Xymox, Robin Guthrie (of the Cocteau Twins), Cube Juice, and Kelli Ali (formerly of Sneaker Pimps).


* Atsushi Sakurai (櫻井 敦司): vocals
* Hisashi Imai (今井 寿): guitar, theremin, backing vocals, and miscellaneous noise
* Hidehiko Hoshino (星野 英彦): guitar and keyboard
* Yutaka Higuchi (桶口豊): bass
* Toll Yagami (ヤガミ・トール): drums and percussion.

Although they use different surnames, Toll and Yutaka are brothers.



BUCK-TICK was originally formed in 1984 under the name Hinan Go-Go. All five of the band members lived in the town of Fujioka, in Gunma prefecture. Hisashi Imai originally had the idea for the band, and wanted to start despite not knowing how to play any instruments at the time. He recruited his friend, Yutaka Higuchi, and the two of them began to practice—Imai on guitar, Higuchi on bass. Then, Higuchi asked Hidehiko Hoshino, who had been his friend since their first year of high school, if he would like to join, too. Since Hoshino was tall and handsome, Higuchi tried to convince him to become the vocalist, but Hoshino was more interested in playing guitar, and didn’t want to be in the spotlight, so Imai’s friend Araki became vocalist instead. Atsushi Sakurai, a rebellious loner in Imai’s class who hung out with the bad-kid “Yanqui” crowd, volunteered to be the drummer."LOVE ME", Yasue Matsuura, Takao Nakagawa; Shinko Music Publishing Company, Ltd. 1989. ISBN4-401-61275-2.]

Imai named the band “Hinan Go-Go” (“Hinan” means “criticism” in Japanese). Once they had practiced enough to be able to play, they began to perform live at small, local events. They started out playing covers of songs by the famous Japanese punk band The Stalin. From the beginning, they were conscious of their image and tried to differentiate themselves from the crowd. They performed in suits with their hair up and soon added white face makeup, as well.

When Imai graduated high school, he moved to Tokyo with Araki and enrolled in design school. When Higuchi and Hoshino graduated a year later, they also moved to Tokyo—Higuchi for business school and Hoshino for culinary school. However, they returned home on weekends to practice together and play shows. During the summer of 1984, the band changed their name to BUCK-TICK, which is a creative spelling of “bakuchiku,” the Japanese word for firecracker. They also began to perform original songs, written by Imai.

Sakurai’s parents wouldn’t let him move to Tokyo, so he was the only one left alone in Gunma, and became very depressed. He spent all his time alone, and to pass the time, he often went to concerts and watched bands live on TV, and he decided that he was sick of being a drummer and wanted to be a vocalist instead. Higuchi’s brother Yagami was also in a band, SP, and when SP lost their vocalist, Sakurai asked Yagami if he could be the replacement. Yagami politely refused his request, and SP broke up.

However, at the same time, the rest of BUCK-TICK was becoming frustrated with Araki. As Imai’s composing skills improved, Araki became unable to carry the melodies to the songs. Though it was painful for them, the band decided to fire Araki, and Sakurai convinced them to let him take Araki’s place. BUCK-TICK was now missing a drummer, but the hole was soon filled by Yagami, after Higuchi convinced him that the best way for him to get over the loss of his own band was to join theirs instead. This became the final lineup for the band, and has not changed since then.

Indies Period

After the change in the lineup, BUCK-TICK became more and more serious about music. When Sakurai’s father died, he too moved to Tokyo. The five members worked during the day and practiced and performed at night. Then, in July 1986, they attracted the attention of Sawaki Kazuo, head of Taiyou Records, an independent label. He had seen the band perform at a live house in Shinjuku called “Attic,” and had been very impressed. He claimed to have clairvoyant powers and told the band they would succeed within a year. The band signed to Taiyou Records immediately and released their first single, “TO-SEARCH/PLASTIC SYNDROME TYPE II” on September 21st of the same year.

With Sawaki’s help they began promoting themselves very actively. They played the live house circuit in Tokyo and on April 1st 1987 released their first album, “HURRY UP MODE.” In conjunction with the release, they played a live called “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon” at the 1,200-capacity Toyoto Public Hall in Ikebukuro. Everyone in the local music scene believed the hall was too large for the band and that the concert would be doomed to failure, but BUCK-TICK used a very clever advertising strategy: they pasted thousands of eye-catching, black-and-white sticker advertisements all over Tokyo’s hip youth districts that read simply “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon April 1st Toyoto Public Hall.” Their staff members were nearly arrested for defacement of public property, but the strategy worked. BUCK-TICK sold over half the tickets to the show, which was a huge accomplishment. They were an instant success, and major labels began vying for the chance to sign them.

Major Debut

A number of major labels competed hotly for the honor of signing a contract with BUCK-TICK. However, BUCK-TICK was initially unmoved by their offers. They wanted to continue pursuing the band on their own terms, and they refused to sign unless the label would agree to their four stipulations: first, that the band would be able to make all their own decisions about their hair, makeup, clothing, and general image; second, that they would never be forced to change the band lineup; third, that they would never be forced to use session musicians; and last, that they would be able to do all their own production work."Picture Product disc 3: “Sen-Sor”", directed by Takashi Musha & Yuko Sakurai, Victor Entertainment, 2002.] . Most record companies balked at the idea of accepting such high demands from such a young and inexperienced group, but Takagaki Ken, of Victor Invitation Records, decided he wanted the band so badly he was willing to let them do whatever they wanted. He even offered them Victor’s Aoyama studio as a place to practice.

On June 16th, 1987, BUCK-TICK played a show called “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon II” at the Live Inn in Shibuya, to bid farewell to their indie days. The small venue was packed with people and the crowd grew so overexcited that the concert had to be interrupted multiple times so that the venue staff could try to get the fans to calm down. Afterwards, a video of the concert called “BUCK-TICK at the Live Inn” was released, reaching #4 on the Japanese music (Oricon) video charts.

On September 3rd, BUCK-TICK opened their personal administrative office, which they named SHAKING HANDS, Inc., in honor of all the musical connections they hoped to make in the future. Soon after, they embarked on their first national tour. They released their first major label album, “SEXUAL XXXXX!” on November 21st, and it climbed to #33 on the Oricon charts, which was completely unheard of for a debut album. Tickets to their large year-end live in Tokyo at the Japan Youth Hall sold out in two days.

With success came new difficulties, though. The reporters who interviewed the band for magazines seemed to only be interested in the band’s appearance, and asked questions like “Why do you put your hair up?” “How long does it take you to put your hair up?” and “Do you put up your hair in order to attract attention so you’ll sell records?” The band members only put their hair up because they thought it looked cool. That was the only reason, they always answered, but eventually got so tired of the questions that they refused to answer them anymore. They had become popular enough that they could only play at large halls now. They missed small live houses, so they organized a secret gig under the false name “BLUCK-TLICK” at Shinjuku Loft on January 24th, 1988, and used it as an opportunity to play their older songs.

“TABOO” Period

In September 1988, BUCK-TICK went to London to record their fourth album, “TABOO.” They even played a gig there, at the Greyhound music club, and amongst those who attended were members of the band Der Zibet, who were also recording in London at the time. The members of BUCK-TICK loved London, especially Sakurai, who felt that the music scene there was more welcoming of dark and serious music."WORDS by BUCK-TICK", Shinko Music Publishing Company, Ltd. 2002. ISBN4-401-61726-6. [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_1994ongakutohitosaissayinterview.html "English translation of 1994 interview with Atsushi Sakurai and Issay avaible here"] ] Indeed, with “TABOO,” the band broke into a darker, more serious sound which took a fair amount of criticism from members of the Japanese music scene who had previously thought of BUCK-TICK as little more than idols.

However, the song “JUST ONE MORE KISS,” which appeared on “TABOO” became BUCK-TICK’s first hit single. The band made their first live television appearance performing it on the popular music program “Music Station.” The song was also used in a series of television commercials in which the band appeared advertising Victor's CDian Stereo, with the slogan "The super bass will firecracker." This was a pun on BUCK-TICK's name, which means "firecracker. At the end of the year, BUCK-TICK won “Rookie of the Year” at the Japan Record Awards. [http://www.cdjournal.com/main/artist/artist.php?ano=123379 "BUCK-TICK" at CD Journal] Retrieved Aug 26 2007]

Hiatus and “Aku no Hana”

In March 1989, the band started their “TABOO” tour. At this point they had stopped putting their hair up so much, and Sakurai had even given up on dyeing his and let it be black. He has not dyed his hair since. The tour was scheduled to run through May, but it was cut short when Imai was arrested for LSD possession. [http://notgreatestsite.net/miscimgs/imai_arrest.jpgNewspaper article from 1989 with information about Imai Hisashi’s arrest for LSD possession] ] The incident was covered in newspapers and tabloids at the time, but since, the band has kept it very quiet. Information is difficult to find, but it appears that Imai’s sentence was suspended and the band was forced to take a 6-month break. Imai did, however, have to appear at a court hearing, which was attended by hundreds of concerned fans, and was covered on television.

Fans and reporters alike wondered whether Imai’s arrest spelled the end for BUCK-TICK, but in the fall of 1989, the band went back to the studio and recorded their fifth album, “Aku no Hana” (“The Flowers of Evil”) which they named after Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du Mal" (a favorite book of Sakurai’s), because the album dealt with similar themes. With “Aku no Hana,” BUCK-TICK went much further into the dark and gothic image they had begun to explore in “TABOO” and which would later become their trademark. “Aku no Hana” remains their best-selling record.

Before the album was released, however, they played a huge concert at the Tokyo Dome on December 20th in front of 50,000 people, in order to celebrate their return. It was the largest concert the band had ever played, and it catapulted them to legendary status. Since then, the band has held a large concert nearly every year at the end of December, usually at the Nippon Budoukan, to celebrate the anniversary of their reunion after Imai’s arrest. Since 2001, they have named the concerts “The Day in Question,” and the shows have often been broadcast live on TV.

“Kurutta Taiyou” and Coninuing Musical Maturity

In 1990, the band threw themselves back into touring, and over the summer, released an album called “Symphonic BUCK-TICK in Berlin,” featuring orchestral versions of some of their songs performed by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra. In the fall, they went back to the studio to work on their sixth album, “Kurutta Taiyou” (“Crazy Sun.”) They spent much more time on this album than any of their previous ones, and the difference was noticeable. The sound was much deeper and more sophisticated, and used many more studio production effects than they ever had before.

It was at this point that the direction of the band began to change subtly, as Sakurai began to write almost all of the lyrics, and exert his creative influence more. Around this time, Sakurai was married to the band’s stylist, Sayuri Watanabe, but they quickly divorced (the band later got a new stylist, Mr. Takayuki Tanizaki, who is still working for them). Sakurai’s mother, who he had been very close to, also passed away, and due to the band’s busy touring schedule, he was unable to visit her before the end."Snob Rock Mode & Art Magazine", 「櫻井敦司という男」(“A man called Atsushi Sakurai”), Keiko Oshibe, 2005.] In interviews, Sakurai said that the pain he felt from these events strongly influenced his lyrics, and that this was when he started writing about real emotions, rather than what he thought was cool. Subsequently, he changed the first kanji in his name from the standard character 「桜」(“sakura”) to the older version 「櫻」, and since then has brought a continuously evolving sense of melancholy and psychological depth to the band’s lyrics.

“Kurutta Taiyou” was released on February 21st, 1991. On February 24th, the band performed a unique concert called “Satellite Circuit,” which was recorded in a studio with no audience and then broadcast on television and at special concert halls around the country.

In 1992, BUCK-TICK released their first compilation album, entitled “Koroshi no Shirabe This is NOT Greatest Hits” (“The Songs of Murder This is NOT Greatest Hits”) As the title suggested, it wasn’t a typical best-of album. Instead, the band had spent many hours in the studio re-recording (and in some cases radically changing) songs they had already released. A tour followed the album, culminating in a two-day live event called “Climax Together,” which took place at Yokohama Arena on September 10th and 11th. The event had been put together specifically to be filmed, and great care had been taken with the lighting and design—for greater dramatic effect, the stage was even set up along the long side of the hall and obscured by a gigantic scrim which was dropped partway through the set.

On May 21st, 1993, BUCK-TICK released the single “Dress,” which became one of their best-known and best-loved songs, and was re-released in 2005 and used as the opening theme for the anime series “Trinity Blood.” Soon after, on June 23rd, BUCK-TICK released their seventh studio album, “Darker Than Darkness –style 93-” a loose concept album focusing on death. The album confused fans because after the last recorded track (track 10), the CD skipped 83 tracks and picked up at track 93, which began with strange buzzing noises and slowly evolved into a song, “D-T-D”. This technique was rare in Japan at that time, and apparently some fans tried to return their CDs to stores, claiming that they were broken. On this album, the band also began to experiment with different instruments—Hoshino played keyboards, and during live shows, Sakurai tried his hand at the saxophone. Both Sakurai and Hoshino played these instruments on the band’s next album, “Six/Nine,” as well.

Released on May 15th, 1995, “Six/Nine” was an even more psychological, conceptual album than “Darker Than Darkness” had been. Before the album was released, the band had another set of video concerts, featuring equally conceptual music videos for each song, directed by Hayashi Wataru. One of the songs, “Itoshi no Rock Star,” featured Issay (formerly of Der Zibet) on backing vocals. Issay also appeared with the band on the tour.

Label Management Changes, “Cyberpunk” years

In 1996, BUCK-TICK broke from SHAKING HANDS, Inc, and started their own management company, BANKER Ltd., of which Toll is president, and started their new fan club, Fish Tank. On June 21st, they released their ninth album, “COSMOS,” which featured a brighter sound than was usual for the band and also marked their first foray into electronic, cyberpunk-influenced music in such songs as “Living on the Net.” Unfortunately, the tour for the album had to be cancelled halfway through. Sakurai, while in Nepal doing a photo shoot for the band, fell seriously ill with peritonitis. When he was told how serious his condition was, he begged to be flown back to Tokyo so that if he died, he could die at home, but once back in Japan he felt so relieved that he was able to recover.

In 1997, following on the heels of Sakurai’s illness was more upheaval for the band as they changed labels from Victor Invitation to Mercury/Polygram. They played make-up shows for the concerts that had been cancelled the previous year. On December 10th, they released their tenth studio album, “Sexy Stream Liner,” marking the maturation of their new cyberpunk style, which emerged in their visual image as well, with the band sporting tattoos and electronic gadgetry on their costumes. Imai began to incorporate the use of theremin into BUCK-TICK’s live shows and even into their recordings, beginning with the song “My Fuckin’ Valentine.”

On May 13th, 1998, BUCK-TICK released the single “Gessekai,” which was used as the opening theme to the anime series “Nightwalker.” Shortly after this, on the wave of the anime boom, Japanese music began to gain popularity on the Western internet, and “Gessekai” was the song that first introduced BUCK-TICK to many foreign fans.

Later in 1998, and continuing in 1999, the various BUCK-TICK members involved themselves in many collaborations with other artists (more info in the collaborations section.) However, they continued to release singles as a band.

In 2000, BUCK-TICK changed labels for a second time, leaving Mercury/Polygram for BMG funhouse, which remains their current label. Their popularity had been growing overseas, especially in Korea, and the band went to Korea for the first time. They were greeted enthusiastically by fans at the airport, and they held a formal interview, but did not perform live. Later, in 2001, they returned to Korea and played at the SoYo Rock Festival in Seoul. It poured rain on the day of the festival and the band were drenched during their set, but nonetheless, the crowd was ecstatic."Mega Beat to Mega Hits" television program, broadcast of BUCK-TICK live at the SoYo Rock Festival, Seoul, 2001. (aired on Korean television)]

On September 20th, 2000, BUCK-TICK released “ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH,” their first studio album in nearly three years, and played a tour to support the album. In addition to this, Sakurai and Imai became involved in a supergroup called Schwein, with Raymond Watts and Sascha Konietzko, which released two albums and toured Japan in August 2001.

On March 6th, 2002, BUCK-TICK released their twelfth studio album, “Kyokutou I LOVE YOU,” which was initially scheduled to be released as a double album with “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE.” Ultimately the two were released separately and “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE” came out the following year in February. However musically, the two albums feed into each other in a continuous loop. The last track on “Kyokutou I LOVE YOU” is an instrumental which becomes the bottom musical layer of the first track on “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE.” Likewise, the last track on “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE” contains samples from the first track on “Kyokutou I LOVE YOU.” The album title “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE” is an overt reference to the William Gibson novel of the same name, cementing BUCK-TICK’s place in cyberpunk culture.

olo Projects and Gothic Years

In 2004, BUCK-TICK largely suspended activities in order for the band members to work on individual musical projects. The only band member who did not release music during this time was Hoshino, who went on to form the band dropz in 2006. BUCK-TICK did play a few shows together, though, including two huge concerts at Yokohama Arena that were a reprise of their “Climax Together” shows 12 years before. The 2004 shows were appropriately named “Devil and Freud –Climax Together–.”

April 6th, 2005 saw the release of “Juusankai wa Gekkou” (“13th Floor With Moonshine”) which also happened to be the band’s thirteenth major label studio album. “Juusankai” was a concept album inspired by Sakurai’s solo project that focused on the idea of “Goth,” and despite the residual gothic image BUCK-TICK had been cultivating for years, it was a significant departure from any of their previous work."Fool’s Mate # 283", 「“ 夜” は邪悪にもなれるし、ピュアにもなれる」(“The night can become evil, or it can become pure”), Koh Imazu, May 2005. [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_2005foolsmate_sainterview.html "English translation available here"] ] Special care was taken with the sets and costumes for the tour. The live shows were very dramatic, and the band even hired a clown (Gaetano Totarou) and a ballerina (Becky Janik) to perform with them at some of the shows. At this time, visual kei and Gothic & Lolita had been growing significantly in popularity and with “Juusankai wa Gekkou,” BUCK-TICK gained a large number of new fans among teenage girls domestically and overseas who admired the visual gothic style.

20th Anniversary

In 2006, BUCK-TICK prepared to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a major-label band, and released a tribute album containing covers of their own songs performed by 13 different artists, including Kiyoharu, J, abingdon boys school and Rally (composed by members from GLAY and ex-members from thee michelle gun elephant and THE MAD CAPSULE MARKETS). They also released a single, “Kagerou,” which was used as the ending theme for the anime series “XxxHolic.”

In 2007, they released their anniversary single “Rendezvous,” and embarked on a tour celebrating their anniversary and tribute album. The tour had a unique format: at each show, a different artist from the tribute album performed with BUCK-TICK. The tour culminated in a giant festival called “BUCK-TICK Fest 2007 ON PARADE,” which was held on September 8th at Minato Mirai in the Yokohama port. It lasted all day and featured all 13 artists off the tribute album. Each of the guest artists and BUCK-TICK played a set, and as a grand finale, there was a fireworks show over the bay.

Recent Activities and Future Plans

Soon after this, on September 19th, BUCK-TICK released their fifteenth studio album, “Tenshi no Revolver.” Though they continued using gothic elements, they discarded the use of synth for this album, the concept for which was “band sound.” [http://www.v-music.ch/interviews/int071.html VMC Online Interview #71, “BUCK-TICK,” Eriko Ishii, 2007] [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_2007vmc_saihinterview.html "English translation available here"] ] The band held a long national tour to support the album, which lasted until December. Also in December, the Japanese cellular phone company SoftBank released special-edition BUCK-TICK mobile phones that had been designed by the band members.

Aside from releasing live DVDs of the ON PARADE festival and the “Tenshi no Revolver” tour, BUCK-TICK have not been very active in 2008 yet. However, in official fan club publications, all five band members have confirmed that they are currently working on a new album. According to Sakurai, this album will continue to explore the idea of “straight rock,” but this remains to be seen, and no release date is scheduled yet.BUCK-TICK Fest 2007 ON PARADE disc 2: “Rest Rooms”, directed by Kazuhiro Tokutomo, BMG/Funhouse 2008. " [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_2008paradetourdocument.html English tranlsation available here] "]


BUCK-TICK was most strongly influenced by Western rock, especially British post-punk from the 1970’s and 80’s, though they cite a few Japanese influences as well. The influences that the band members collectively name the most often are Love & Rockets, Robert Smith, and Bauhaus (the band admitted to going together to see Peter Murphy live.) They also mention the Sex Pistols and XTC. Imai was especially influenced by Love & Rockets, and this is very evident on BUCK-TICK’s album “Kurutta Taiyou.” He was also influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra, Kraftwerk, Ultra Vox and other new wave and electronic acts, and the Japanese band The Stalin. Sakurai was hugely influenced by David Bowie, and he even played a cover of David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity” at his solo live in 2004. He is also influenced by post-punk/first wave goth acts such as The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Clan of Xymox, and the Japanese artists Der Zibet and Masami Tsuchiya. He claims to love “dark” music in general. Hoshino and Yagami love The Beatles. Yagami is also a fan of Led Zeppelin and other classic punk/metal acts like Kiss and The Clash."Hyp #3" BUCK-TICK "Special Issue", Hideaki Utsumi, Fool’s Mate Inc. 1990.]

At this point, BUCK-TICK have influenced as many bands as they have been influenced by. They are regarded as one of the major founders of the visual kei movement, and many prominent visual rock artists openly admire them. Kiyoharu (formerly of Kuroyume and SADS) interviewed Sakurai twice on his personal radio show in conjunction with BUCK-TICK’s anniversary festival and declared Sakurai to be “so hot” and “a wonderful person.”“BayFM UpSound Radio (hosted by Kiyoharu)” interview with Atsushi Sakurai, August 31st 2007 broadcast. [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_2007upsound_sainterview.html "English translation available here"] ] “BayFM UpSound Radio (hosted by Kiyoharu)” interview with Atsushi Sakurai, September 7th 2007 broadcast. [http://notgreatestsite.net/articles/ta/bt_2007upsound_sainterview2.html "English translation available here"] ] Takanori Nishikawa, also known as T.M.Revolution, is another open fan of BUCK-TICK, and interviewed the entire band on the TV program Pop Jam."PopJam PJ Live Gold" Interview with BUCK-TICK by Takanori Nishikawa, aired April 1st, 2005 on NHK television.] Well-known visual rockers Tatsurou (of MUCC), Yuu (of Merry), Aie (of deadman), Lay (of Fatima), and Tsuyoshi (of Karimero) even formed a BUCK-TICK cover band called Bluck-Tlick. Kyo, vocalist of Dir en grey, has also mentioned that he was inspired to become a rock star when he saw a picture of Atsushi Sakurai on the desk of a junior high school classmate.READ Magazine, interview with Kyo, 23 October 2003.]

Musical Style

BUCK-TICK’s music has changed and evolved hugely over the course of their career. They called their early work “positive punk.” It used simple rhythms and chords, with the songs mostly in major keys and the lyrics most of times using some English words. Starting with “TABOO,” they experimented with a darker sound, which grew more mature with “Kurutta Taiyou.” With “Darker Than Darkness –style 93–” they delved into a harsher, more hard-rock sound, which has persisted in their work ever since, and which they combined with electronica on all their albums up through “Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE.” More recently, with “Juusankai wa Gekkou,” they have deliberately adopted a “goth” concept, which they combined with a retro rock-n-roll sound for their most recent album, “Tenshi no Revolver.”

Some elements that persist throughout their music are resounding, jangling guitar chords, throbbing, prominent bass lines, harsh roars of electronically distorted noise, and ambivalent melodies that wander between major and minor keys, as well as Sakurai’s distinctive rich baritone voice. Sakurai is famous for the erotic decadence of his lyrics (which are now predominantly in Japanese), but he also often addresses existential psychological themes. Imai has written many songs that read like science fiction stories, involving genetic engineering and computer hackers, but more recently has branched out into simple love songs.

Members' Solo Projects

Hisashi Imai

In 2004, Imai formed a band called “Lucy” with Kiyoshi (of Spread Beaver and Media Youth) and Okazaki Katsuhige. The concept was rock-n-roll, and the band was very influenced by hide’s music. They have released two albums to date, “Rockarollica,” and “Rockarollica II,” and they have toured in Japan multiple times. Both Imai and Kiyoshi did vocals and guitars, and wrote music and lyrics for the group. [http://lucy.co.jp Lucy official website] ]

Atsushi Sakurai

Atsushi Sakurai is the only BUCK-TICK member to ever have released material as a solo artist under his own name. In 2004, he collaborated with a number of artists to produce a solo album, “Ai no Wakusei” (“Planet of Love.”) He wrote all the lyrics and performed all the vocals, and his collaborators each wrote a song or two for him. Most of the songs express Sakurai’s personal preferences—they are dark, jagged, and atmospheric. Some of the composers on the album include Wayne Hussey (of The Sisters of Mercy), Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins), Xymox, Jim Foetus, Okamura Yasuyuki, Cube Juice, Raymond Watts (of PIG), Masami Tsuchiya (formerly of Ippu-Do), and Taiji Satou (of Theater Brook.) In addition to releasing the album, Sakurai released three singles and a DVD of his solo live performance. [http://www.sakurai-atsushi.com/index.html Sakurai Atsushi official website] ] He also starred in “Longinus,” a short vampire film directed by Ryuuhei Kitamura. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448233/ "Longinus" at the Internet Movie Database] retrieved 2008-5-31]

Toll Yagami

Yagami Toll released a solo album “1977/Blue Sky” with a band called “Yagami Toll and the Blue Sky.” The album consists of one long continuous track of largely instrumental electronica, and was a concept album that dealt with the death of Yagami’s older brother in 1977. Yagami’s brother had played the drums, and it was his death that had inspired Yagami to become a drummer. [http://www.buck-tick.com/yagami_toll/index.html Toll Yagami official website] ]

Yutaka Higuchi

Higuchi’s solo project was a band called Wild Wise Apes, and included Higuchi on bass and Okuno Atsushi (formerly of Rogue) on vocals. The group released an album, “3rd World,” and performed two live shows near BUCK-TICK’s home town in Gunma. [http://www.buck-tick.com/u_ta/index.html U-TA official website] ]

Hidehiko Hoshino

Hoshino didn’t have his own solo project until 2007, when he started dropz, a band including Hoshino on guitars, programming and keyboards, Kelli Ali (formerly Kelli Dayton of Sneaker Pimps) on vocals, and Cube Juice on programming and synthesizers. Hoshino started the band because he wanted to experiment with electronic music. He wrote all the music in an electro-pop style with a slight trip-hop influence. Kelli Ali wrote the lyrics in English. The group released one album, “Sweet Oblivion,” but has not yet performed any live shows. [http://www.dropz.jp dropz official website] ]

Notable Collaborations

One of the things BUCK-TICK is most famous for is their numerous collaborations with other artists, the most notable of which are detailed below.


Genet, vocalist of Japanese goth band AUTO-MOD, is good friends with Yagami and occasionally writes about him on his blog. Yagami supported AUTO-MOD at their live in Shinjuku Loft in 2006 (the live was part of a set of shows celebrating the venue’s 30th anniversary.) Selia, the backup vocalist, was introduced to BUCK-TICK through Genet and performed backing vocals on the songs “Mr. Darkness and Mrs. Moonlight” and “REVOLVER” on BUCK-TICK’s 2007 album “Tenshi no Revolver.” [http://genet.jugem.jp "Goth Diary of a Fetish Daddy"] official blog of Genet, vocalist of AUTO-MOD] [http://www.jmusiceuropa.com/uk/article.php?id=4777 Interview with Selia at JaME World] , Kay, Rik, and Suu, May 2008.]


BUCK-TICK played a “double booking” live alongside Kyousuke Himuro, formerly of Boøwy on October 6th, 1990, at the Maebashi Green Dome in Gunma prefecture. Other former Boøwy member Hotei Tomoyasu remixed BUCK-TICK’s song “Muchi no Namida” for their “Sasayaki” single. Both bands hail from the same town in Gunma and Kyousuke Himuro went to high school with the BUCK-TICK members.Gunma Television Interview with Atsushi Sakurai, aired April 3rd, 2005.]

Cube Juice

Cube Juice, a solo electro artist who made his debut in 1999, is still not well known, but has collaborated with BUCK-TICK members multiple times. He wrote the music for “Fantasy” and “Tensei,” two of Sakurai’s solo songs. He also appeared as a guest at Sakurai’s solo live to play synth during “Fantasy.” In 2007, he was part of dropz, along with Hoshino and Kelli Ali.

Guniw Tools

Guniw Tools was made up of Full on vocals and Asaki and Jake on guitar. Imai wrote the music to the song “Grazing” on their album “Dazzle” (1998). Full also directed the music video for BUCK-TICK’s single “Candy” (1995). After the breakup of Guniw Tools, Asaki went on to form Age of Punk with Okazaki Katsuhige, who was the drummer for Lucy and former support drummer for Guniw Tools. Age of Punk performed with BUCK-TICK on the Okinawa stop of their Parade tour in 2008, and they also performed at the ON PARADE festival in 2007. Jake (born Masatomo Kawase) went solo and went under the name CloudChair. He arranged the song “Neko” for Sakurai’s solo album “Ai no Wakusei” (2004) under this name, and also played guitar in Sakurai’s session band during his solo tour.


Issay, formerly the vocalist of Der Zibet, had Sakurai as a guest vocalist in several of his releases, including the song “Masquerade” off Der Zibet’s album “Shinshunki II –Downer Side–” (1991) and the song “Koi no Hallelujah,” off his solo album “Flowers” (1994) on which Hoshino also played guitar. In addition, Issay did guest vocals on the song “Itoshi no Rock Star” on BUCK-TICK’s album “Six/Nine,” and participated in the album tour. Issay is also a great friend of Sakurai and the two have been interviewed together many times. [http://derzibet.com/ Der Zibet official website] ]

Luna Sea

BUCK-TICK toured with Luna Sea on a five-stop tour in 1994 called the “LSB tour,” which also included the bands Soft Ballet and Schaft.

Marilyn Manson

BUCK-TICK opened for Marilyn Manson when he played at Tokyo Bay NK Hall and Osaka-jo Hall in September 2003."Fool’s Mate" (December 2003 issue), “Marilyn Manson vs. BUCK-TICK Middle Finger Battle!”, Takahiro Ishii, Rock Press, December 2003.]

Raymond Watts

Raymond Watts, of PIG, has collaborated with the members of BUCK-TICK on numerous occasions. He participated in the creation of Schaft’s album “Switchblade” (1994), and he wrote the music to the song “Yellow Pig” for Sakurai’s solo album “Ai no Wakusei” (2004). PIG opened for BUCK-TICK on their 4-date “Energy Void” tour in 1999. In addition, Raymond Watts was also was a member of Schwein and participated in the Schweinfest tour in 2001.


Schaft was an electronic music group consisting of Hisashi Imai, Maki Fujii (of Soft Ballet), and Motokatsu (of the Mad Capsule Markets). They released songs for the omnibus albums “Dance 2 Noise 001” (October 21st 1991) and “Dance 2 Noise 002” (March 21st 1992) as well as their own solo album, “Switchblade,” (September 21st, 1994) in which Raymond Watts participated. They also performed with the “LSB tour.”


Schwein was an industrial rock group formed in 2001, consisting of Atsushi Sakurai, Raymond Watts, Hisashi Imai, and Sascha Konietzko (of KMFDM.) Lucia Cifarelli (also of KMFDM) helped write some of their lyrics. They released one studio album, “Scheweinstein,” and one remix album, “Son of Schweinstein,” both in 2001. They also performed a short tour in Japan, in which Konietzko did not participate (their support band consisted of Bryan Black, Jules Hodgson, Andrew Selway, and Arianne Schreiber).

oft Ballet

Maki Fujii has collaborated with BUCK-TICK on a number of occasions. He appeared in the band Schaft along with Imai, and also played in the session band that performed with Sakurai at his solo live concert. Ken Morioka played the keyboards on BUCK-TICK’s album “SEVENTH HEAVEN.”

The Stalin

Back in the days of Hinan Go Go, BUCK-TICK played covers of songs by The Stalin. Much later, in 1995, Imai made a guest appearance on the Stalin album “Shinda Mono Hodo Aishite Yaru Sa” (“I’ll love you as much as a dead thing”). Stalin frontman Michiro Endo covered BUCK-TICK’s song “Sasayaki” for their tribute album in 2006. He also performed alongside BUCK-TICK on the Fukuoka stop of their Parade tour in 2007, and he appeared at the ON PARADE festival, where he played a song called “Illusions of Warsaw” with Imai as a guest guitarist.

Theater Brook

Taiji Satou, vocalist and guitarist for Theater Brook, wrote the music to the song “Taiji” for Sakurai’s solo album “Ai no Wakusei” (2004). Sakurai performed “Taiji” live as a guest of Theater Brook at the Niigata Live Aid event on January 23rd, 2005. Theater Brook also appeared at the ON PARADE festival in 2007.



* [1986.10.21] To-Search/Plastic Syndrome
* [1988.10.26] Just One More Kiss
* [1990.01.24] Aku no Hana (悪の華; "Flowers of Evil")
* [1991.01.21] Speed (スピード)
* [1991.06.05] M・A・D
* [1991.10.30] Jupiter
* [1993.05.21] Dress (ドレス)
* [1993.10.21] Die
* [1995.03.24] Uta (唄; "Song")
* [1995.04.21] Kodou (鼓動; "Heartbeat")
* [1995.09.21] Mienai Mono o Miyo to Suru Gokai Subete Gokai da (見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ; "When you try to see the invisible, you misunderstand everything is a misunderstanding")
* [1996.05.22] Candy (キャンディ)
* [1997.11.12] Heroin (ヒロイン)
* [1998.03.11] Sasayaki (囁き; "Whispers")
* [1998.05.13] Gessekai (月世界; "Moon World")
* [1999.07.14] Bran-New Lover
* [1999.10.20] Miu (ミウ)
* [2000.09.06] Glamorous
* [2001.11.21] 21st Cherry Boy
* [2002.02.20] Kyokutou Yori Ai wo Komete (極東より愛を込めて; "Love From the Far East")
* [2003.01.18] Zangai (残骸; "Ruins")
* [2003.12.03] Gensou no Hana (幻想の花; "Illusory Flower")
* [2005.03.02] Romance
* [2006.08.02] Kagerou (蜉蝣-かげろう-; "May Fly -The Ephemeral-")
* [2007.06.06] Rendezvous ~ランデヴー~
* [2007.08.08] Alice in Wonder Underground


* [1987.11.21] Sexual×××××!
* [1988.06.21] Seventh Heaven
* [1989.01.18] Taboo
* [1990.02.01] Aku no Hana (悪の華; "Flowers of Evil')
* [1991.02.21] Kurutta Taiyou (狂った太陽; "Crazy Sun")
* [1992.03.21] Koroshi no Shirabe This Is NOT Greatest Hits (殺シノ調ベ This Is NOT Greatest Hits; "The Songs of Murder This Is NOT Greatest Hits")
* [1993.06.23] Darker Than Darkness -style93-
* [1995.05.15] Six/Nine
* [1996.06.21] Cosmos
* [1997.12.10] Sexy Stream Liner
* [2000.09.20] One Life, One Death
* [2002.02.06] Kyokutou I Love You (極東 I Love You; "Love From the Far East")
* [2003.02.13] Mona Lisa Overdrive
* [2005.04.06] 13kai wa Gekkou (十三階は月光; "13th Floor with Moonshine")
* [2007.09.19] Tenshi no Revolver (天使のリボルバー; "Angel's Revolver")


* [1987.04.21] CD Hurry Up Mode(indies album)
* [1987.09.21] VHS buck-tick phenomenon at THE LIVE INN(live)
* [1988.03.21] CD Romanesque(mini album)
* [1989.04.21] VHS Sabbat ISabbat II(live)
* [1990.02.08] CD Hurry Up Mode(1990 re-release album)
* [1990.04.01] VHS Aku-no Hana(The Evil Flower)(PVs)
* [1990.07.21] CD Symphonic Buck-Tick in Berlin
* [1991.06.05] VHS M・A・D(PV)
* [1992.12.02] VHS & LD Climax Together(live)
* [1994.08.24] CD + photoalbum Shapeless (シェイプレス)(Mix album)
* [1995.12.01] CD & LD Catalogue 1987-1995
* [1998.03.11] CD LTD
* [1998.08.12] CD Sweet Strange Live Disc(live)
* [1998.08.12] VHS Sweet Strange Live Film(live)
* [1999.03.20] 2CDs BT(singles)
* [1999.11.26] VHS DREAM BOX(PVs)
* [2000.03.29] 2CDs97BT99
* [2001.03.28] 2CDs & DVD One Life, One Death Cut Up(live)
* [2001.12.19] CD Super Value Buck-Tick
* [2002.03.21] 5DVDs BUCK-TICK PICTURE PRODUCT(ALL documents)
* [2002.12.04] DVD BUCK-TICK TOUR 2002 WARP DAYS 20020616 BAY NK HALL(live)
* [2003.06.25] DVD + photoalbum PICTURE PRODUCT II(PVs)
* [2003.09.10] 2DVDs + 2CDs Climax Together Collector's Box(live)(re-release in DVD edition with a new 2003 version in first release package)
* [2003.12.03] 2DVDs Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE -XANADU-(live)
* [2004.04.07] CD & DVD At the Night Side(live)
* [2004.12.22] CD + DVD 悪魔とフロイト -Devil and Freud- Climax Together 2004(live)
* [2005.12.07] CD & DVD Catalogue 2005
* [2005.12.14] DVD 13th FLOOR WITH DIANA(live)
* [2008.04.02] DVD + photoalbum BUCK-TICK FEST 2007 ON PARADE(live)
* [2008.05.07] DVD TOUR2007 The Revolver of Angel(live)


External links

* [http://www.buck-tick.com/ BUCK-TICK official website]
* [http://www.bgmjapan.com/bt/ BUCK-TICK at BMG Japan]
* [http://www.sakurai-atsushi.com Atsushi Sakurai official website]
* [http://www.lucy.co.jp Lucy official website]
* [http://www.buck-tick.com/yagami_toll/index.html Toll Yagami official site]
* [http://www.buck-tick.com/u_ta/index.html Yutaka Higuchi official site]
* [http://www.dropz.jp dropz official site]

English Language Links

* [http://www.jmusiceuropa.com/uk/database-artist.php?id=310 BUCK-TICK at JaME World]
* [http://musicjapanplus.jp/specialfeatures/?action=detail&sf_id=12 BUCK-TICK at Music Japan Plus]
* [http://notgreatestsite.net/lyrics/bt/index.html English translations of BUCK-TICK's lyrics]

Miscellaneous Links

* [http://www.barks.jp/artist/?id=52002868&m=biography Buck Tick Biography at Barks Global Music Explorer]
* [http://www.oricon.co.jp/artists/3189/ Buck Tick artist profile at Oricon]

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