Hint: There’s a surprise at the end.

As one of our writers said, “we’re old enough to tie our own shoelaces now!”

Five years ago in the summer of 2015, a couple of oddballs looking for their place in the world came together, drawn by our niche love for Japanese rock music.

Sea and space physically separated us, but for me, the most surprising element is how god damn stubborn and loyal we have been to stick around together for half a decade when we’re far away from another. That’s not something you’ll come across every day, and it’s extremely precious if you can find it.

I’d like to say thank you to each and every single staff—both past and present, all of whom took a big portion of time and love in volunteering to build this little empire and created a little corner on the internet. When we’re stuck in the moment it’s easy to overlook the bucket loads of blood, sweat, and tears we pour into this project, so please take a step back and marvel at what we’ve done so far.

Starting in 2015, JPU Records, OROCHI, SALTY DOG, and Shota from ADAMS were there from day one to bless the site when we first spawned JROCK NEWS. We’d like to express our gratitude to Shota who is no longer with us for being one of the first artists to give us a leg up.

I think the first big interview we landed was with ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, and our first-ever live report was of RADWIMPS when they visited London which feels like such a long time ago.

Internally the team joked about having tea with Yoshiki and although that’s not quite happened yet, we did sit down with him for an extensive interview when he roamed Europe to promote the X Japan documentary that came out in 2016. We spoke to girugamesh twice that year too.

In 2017, some of the staff met up in matching team T-shirts for HYPER JAPAN in London and also launched our own clothing range. That year we worked tirelessly to build up to the next stage.

2018 was a major milestone for JROCK NEWS as we were honored to meet and interview the one and only man who coined the term “visual kei”, Seiichi Hoshiko. That same year, we launched our podcast, was featured on national Japanese television, and partnered with visual kei magazine, club Zy. which led to us working closely with HAKUEI from PENICILLIN.

Our most popular podcast so far has been with Kenbo who spoke extensively about visual kei which you must check out! He was spotted wearing the Jrock Chibli collaboration T-shirt for one of his videos on Twitter just recently!

Along the way leading up to 2020, we made a lot of friends and met many of our personal idols, including Shinya from DIR EN GREY,  the creator of Hatsune Miku, ex-D’espairsRay HIZUMI. We even ran an exclusive week of back-to-back coverage on Mana-sama thanks to Moi-même-Moitié. My own personal highlights were meeting the GazettE and MIYAVI as they were the two of the many major artists that influenced us when we first started out. Our three-way collaboration with magazines Vijuttoke and club Zy. to help globally promote visual kei was pretty damn cool too.

Whilst all of that is very flashy and amazing, we must also remember the bread and butter like the news coverage, live reports, release schedule, and tour date pages which have been lovingly maintained since the very beginning, so please do show our staff a little appreciation!

To all staff—the writers, reporters, photographers, translators, podcasters, and wonderful editors—you really have been so generous with your time. I can’t thank you all enough. No matter how small or large the contribution, be proud that you helped build JROCK NEWS. At times it was stressful, sometimes nerves and adrenaline will get the better of us, but we always did our absolute best, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Special thanks to all the artists, bands, labels, and managers involved, and a shout out to V STAR PROMOTION and GANSHIN Records who has been amazing to us over the years.

As to the future of JROCK NEWS, I wish I had something incredibly thoughtful and provoking to tell you all, but nature is that we’ve managed this project day by day and didn’t intend to make long term plans to do all of the above. Whether it is working, resting, or playing—just do your best each day.

We did our best every day for five years and created a family and space where we can belong. Let’s continue to do that and see where the road takes us.

Thanks for reading and staying with us, much love and peace.

To continue with this celebration, I have arranged a very special series of posts for you all this week, please expect the first post at 11:00 UTC today.

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