How Covid-19 has affected fan-performer relationships within visual kei


  • Gamze Kelle Nagoya University



Authenticity, Digitalization, Japan, Liveness, Online shows, Participation, Platforms


Since the spread of Covid-19 beginning in the year 2020, which led to global mass cancellation of in-person events, visual kei, a Japanese music subculture, has faced problems because the genre's main, and sometimes only, source of income relied on touring and organizing close-contact fan events. Visual kei performers therefore had to invent creative ways to find new modes of liveness, and fans had to find new ways to participate in these online events. Some bands adapted to online platforms, finding ways to enhance liveness and authenticity during these events. Ethnographic observations made at online and off-line events indicated creativity in planning events, with fans' seeing the pandemic as a chance to connect with other fans, thereby ensuring that visual kei bands were not only able to continue their activities during Covid-19 but also, depending on how skillfully they adapted, even expanding their fan base overseas. Although before Covid-19 the genre remained local to Japan, with its traditional notion of privileging liveness and avoiding mediatization during fan-band in-person events, after the pandemic, it embraced mediatization and online platforms, becoming available on both social media platforms and music streaming platforms.