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Documentation: Artists

Which band types are allowed on vkgy?
vkgy is for visual kei. There are rare exceptions to this rule. The following types of bands may only be added if they meet the standards below. Failure to meet those standards may result in removal.
  • doujin bands

    must explicitly claim to be visual kei; and have characters or artwork which are widely recognized as vkei; and have purchasable releases.
  • one-time sessions

    must feature a musician who is an official member of a formal band; and said band must be active at the same time as the session or just prior; and said band must be widely recognized as vkei.
  • parody bands

    must have official photography; and costumes which are widely recognized as visual kei, or several musicians who are official members of bands which are explicitly vkei; and purchasable relases.
  • idol bands

    must explicitly claim to be visual kei; or have a musician who is an official member of a band which is explicitly vkei; or have compositions from a musician who is in an explicitly vkei band at the time of composing.
  • “soft visual” bands

    must explicitly claim to be visual kei; or have a musician who is an official member of a band which is widely recognized as vkei; or belong to a label that primarily specializes in vkei; or perform a majority of the time with bands who are widely recognized as vkei.
  • “angura” bands

    must have a musician who is an official member of a band which is explicitly or widely recognized as vkei; or belong to a label that primarily specializes in vkei; or perform a majority of the time with bands who are widely recognized as vkei.
  • “proto-visual” bands

    must be active in the late 80s or early 90s and: have a musician who is an official member of a band which is explicitly or widely recognized as vkei; or belong to a label that primarily specializes in vkei; or perform a majority of the time with bands who are widely recognized as vkei.
  • non-visual bands

    must have a musician who is an official member of a band which is explicitly vkei; or belong to a label that primarily specializes in vkei; or perform a majority of the time with explicitly vkei bands; or have the exact same name as an explicitly vkei band who is active in the same area, at the same time.

In any of the above cases, the band must be tagged appropriately, and only certain information about them should be added. See: content restrictions for certain bands.
Content restrictions for certain bands
  • For any bands which do not meet the criteria outlined in allowed band types, no profile should be created, nor should any data be added. Existing profiles and releases from said bands should be tagged “removed”. (See also: handling non-visual artists in omnibuses.)
  • For one-time sessions, continuous sessions, doujin bands, parody bands, and soft visual bands, you may add all normal data that you would for a regular visual kei band.
  • For idol, angura, proto-visual, or non-visual bands, you may only add the following:

    Do add appropriate tags; one representative image; formation and disbandment date; official website; and member names, positions, and band histories. (The allowed bands rules still apply for any bands within the members' band histories.)

    Do not add multiple images; videos; detailed biography information (such as member changes or label changes); live schedules (except lives at which explicitly vkei bands appeared); or discography entries (except those in which explicitly vkei bands participate).

    Avoid news articles about these bands except when a musician, whose previous band was explicitly vkei, forms a new non-vkei band; or when a formerly vkei musician passes away.
  • For formerly visual bands, all normal data may be added. However, news articles should be avoided except if the band disbands, revives, or switches back to being a visual band, or if one of its members passes away.
Regarding “formerly” or “partially” visual bands
  • For bands which were once explicitly vkei, or widely accepted as having been so, but now are not: use the formerly visual tag. They should not be tagged as “non-visual”. However, certain content restrictions apply.
  • For so-called newly visual bands, which were not vkei but now are, treat them as any other vkei band. Please add a note to their biography explaining when they made the change.
  • For the purposes of our database, the concept of “partially visual” is not recognized.
Internal definitions of band types
These are the criteria with we categorize certain bands at vkgy. These should be considered in-house definitions, and not necessarily ones which would be appropriate for a scholarly work.
  • visual kei bands participate in the visual kei scene. There are no set rules describing their looks or their music, but they perform with other vkei bands at vkei livehouses, sell releases at vkei shops, rely on designers and costumers who primarily serve vkei, etc.
  • foreign bands are active outside of Japan, or have members who originate outside of Japan.
  • doujin bands do not perform live, might feature fictional or illustrated characters, and might rely on vocaloid and other digital technologies to produce their music.
  • one-time sessions perform only once or twice and usually cover existing songs.
  • continuous sessions, perform several times, often have original songs, and frequently act as precursors to formal bands.
  • parody bands exist only for comedic or promotional purposes. They are either active primarily in the vkei scene, or purposely look visual despite not participating in it. They may be comprised of non-musicians or musicians outside of vkei.
  • idol bands categorize themselves as idols, or are comprised entirely of vocalists/dancers.
  • soft visual bands have minimal to no styling and may easily be confused with non-visual bands, but perform exclusively within the vkei scene.
  • angura bands have no set definition but tend to focus on dark themes and participate within the angura scene. Angura is not a subgenre of visual kei, but rather a wider scene that sometimes overlaps with vkei.
  • proto-visual is a made-up term coined by vkgy but not widely recognized. It describes bands active in the late 80s and early 90s, in what would be called the visual kei scene had the term been in wide usage at that time. This term may be applied to bands of the metal, positive punk, and beat rock genres, but only if they were primarily active around musicians who would later form vkei bands.

    Being an “inspiration” to bands in the vkei scene is not sufficient to be described as proto-visual.
  • non-visual bands are all other bands. There are no set rules describing their looks or their music, but they primarily exist outside of the visual scene.
What to do if you disagree with classification
It's often unclear whether or not a band is visual, but our database requires a “yes” or “no” answer. Because of this, we sometimes get things wrong. In these cases, please take the following actions:
  • Do review our criteria for band type definitions and allowed band types. It's possible that a band meets your personal definition of “visual kei” but not ours.
  • Do vote on the non-visual tag as you see fit. This is the ultimate factor in whether or not a band is marked as non-visual.
  • Do discuss it in our comments or on Discord, but keep it civil, respectful, and factual. Add corroborating information from official sources when possible.
  • Do not fight about classification, even if someone is “wrong.” It is unproductive and lowers the mood of the community.
Why are these rules so strict?

Why these rules exist

The boundaries between “visual kei” and “not visual kei” are often unclear. This is especially true of bands who were active just before the term “visual kei” saw wide usage; and of bands active during the “visual boom” era when non-visual bands co-opted the movement; and of modern bands who may only be active in digital spaces.

These factors, along with the fact that visual kei itself allows a wide range of expression, mean that many bands could be called “maybe sort of vkei” or “vkei-ish” without actually participating in the scene. The definition of “visual kei” may be a moving target, but these definitions and guidelines help us set clearer boundaries.

How these rules help us

Although we understand why users want to add complete information about all j-rock bands, it muddies the purpose of vkgy. It should always be clear, even to first-time visitors, that vkgy is for visual kei. Our guidelines help us achieve that goal.

Furthermore, one our strengths is the ability of our editors to fact-check each other. Because 95% of us are uninterested in the wider j-rock and j-music scenes, we can not adequately fact check non-visual profiles. Removing those profiles helps us avoid errors which could harm our reputation.

Finally, visual kei has unique characteristics that are not found in other scenes (such as release “press” and “type” being considered different attributes). Our system is built with those quirks in mind, and making it more generic for the purposes of serving non-visual bands would be unfair to our subject.
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