The Bassist Who Wanders Endlessly
…Possibly one of the coolest people in the Jrock world, and one of the most in-demand bassists in Japan: Ju-Ken.
His nickname “Ju-Kyu en” (19 yen) may be cute, but it has nothing to do with Ju-Ken’s worth as a bass-player. Although a prolific session-musician, the man, self-named as The Bassist Who Wanders Endlessly, best known for his collaboration with GACKT in Gacktjob, has worked with the majority of big-names in Jrock.
Along with Gacktjob, a few acts he has been associated with are: Anna Tsuchiya, Nakashima Mika, Vamps (with Hyde of L’arc-en-Ciel), Day After Tomorrow, Hotei Tomoyasu, Sayaka, Inoran (of Luna Sea), m.o.v.e, and Fake? (also with Inoran).
After the departure of former-bassist Ren, Ju-Ken began his Gacktjob career in 2003, with the album Crescent, and has been Gackt’s primary bassist since, appearing on most recordings and touring live with Gacktjob.
[Gackt’s DruGparty live performance in 2007]
In-between Gackt projects, Ju-ken gets around… a lot. He performs with Anna Tsuchiya on her Inspi’Nana projects, and toured with her in 2007 for the Blood of Roses live. He wandered for a while with Hotei Tomoyasu for the Hotei and The Wanderers Funky Punky Tour 2007-2008, and performed live with VAMPS in 2008. Through 2009, Ju-Ken seemed to take a bit of a break from his Gacktjob work, but was able to appear for part of GACKT’s Requiem et Reminiscence II Visual Tour(12/08-7/09).
In 2007, Gackt joined up briefly with Yoshiki of X Japan, SUGIZO of Luna Sea (now solo), and Miyavi, to form the “superband” S.K.I.N which debuted at the Long Beach convention in L.A.. Yoshiki wanted to bring the ‘greatest names in Jrock’ together to form this mastermind group that would wreck the universe with its power. Turns out things got a little rough at the end, and it was practically not until the concert that they announced the bassist: Ju-Ken, of course. Nothing much has been said of the super-band since, and to some degree, we heave a sigh of relief. There’s a reason all those artists had to go solo after all…
On January 12th, 2008, Ju-Ken co-founded the hard-rock band Quintillion Quiz along with Changin’ My Life‘s lady-vocals myco, and guitarist Masanori Mine. Although no album has been released, “QQ” has held several lives, and released the limited-pressing of their first single, Midnight Express QQQ/ Killer Rouge, which was distributed in a small batch.
Ju-Ken has an incredibly unique sense of style, both on and off stage. His trademark wild dance moves, head-banging, and dramatic twirling of his upright-basses are always instantly recognizable, and so unselfconscious-ly bad-ass it’s always a refreshing sight to see. The guy has crazy attitude– and yet, behind that intimidating exterior there’s always the killer bassist who loves what he does and is always having fun.
Ju-ken plays on 5-string Sugi and Fender basses, switching between electric and upright as needed. He collects boots, rides Harleys, surfs, and mentions Fall Out Boy as one of his favorite bands. He was born in Funabashi, Chiba-prefecture, Japan (near Tokyo) on June 27th, 1971. His blood type is B.