The year of 2017 is no exception when it comes to our tradition of looking back on all the greatest visual kei and Japanese acts of the year! What we have for you today are two lists compiling the best acts we covered throughout the year!

The first being a visual kei list with all the visual kei bands we covered, gathered and compared; the second one is a general Japanese acts list where we include non-visual kei acts that were covered this year. Their positioning is influenced solely by their best selling record from this year—including releases before 2017—over at CDJapan, so if you want to help your favorite act to get on the list, or position even higher, make sure to show your support by buying their music!

TOP 15 VISUAL KEI BANDS
1. the GazettE

In the three years of making these yearly top lists, the GazettE ends up as number one for the third time in a row! With their recent heavy and mysterious concept, it is hard to see why they wouldn’t be topping this year again!

Although our rock buddies didn’t release any new song this year, their compilation album Traces Vol.2 came with re-recorded songs which helped them get on this year’s list. The band did however tease a very promising album for the year to come, watch out for that!

Traces vol.2
Buy at CDJapan or JPU Records
Preview
2. KAMIJO

The aristocratic KAMIJO has not only upheld his position on the list but also upheld a rather reminiscing visual kei look of the 90’s, in one of his latest release, mademoiselle. While that release was one of the best selling visual kei releases on CDJapan, KAMIJO had even better sales number for his album Castrato which has been out since May. KAMIJO’s concept in combination with his music seems to be a perfect fit and earned the second spot on the list!

For the upcoming year, KAMIJO plans to introduce it with the single Nosferatu and later with a new album, Sang!

Castrato
Buy at CDJapan
Preview
3. NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST

NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST made it to the third position thanks to their best-of album, The Best ’09-’17. While this may look like their only release from this year by browsing CDJapan, the band did also abruptly release a digital-only single called Live to Die back in August.

With Live to Die, the band showed the fans that they stayed true to their initial sound by keeping the heavy verses in combination with lighter and emotional choruses.

The Best ’09-’17
Buy at CDJapan
Preview
4. Versailles

After being on hiatus, Versailles revived back in late 2015. The band has been struggling to get up on the list ever since, but now with the band being in full motion, they made it to the fourth position! Versailles‘ best selling release this year was their live DVD Chateau de Versailles at Nippon Budokan which was performed back in February. Though, it should be noted that the band actually released an album this year. The album Lineage~Bara no Matsuei~ was released and given out for free at the live performance in Budokan, thus, it never made it to the general sales.

The concept of KAMIJO stems from this band, so it is no surprise Versailles is able to make it this far too. Also, if you didn’t know or notice already, Versailles has KAMIJO taking the center spot as the vocalist.

Chateau de Versailles at Nippon Budokan
Buy at CDJapan
Preview
5. Jupiter

Jupiter is basically an offspring of Versailles, initially composed of the same members of Versailles, with the exception of Zin taking the position as the vocalist instead of KAMIJO. Their sound is similar yet different from Versailles, likewise here, we’re not surprised to see them do well on the top list—seeing how appreciated KAMIJO’s and Versailles’ music are. The band made it to position five with their album Tears Of The Sun.

Unfortunately, the future of Jupiter will be without Zin as he decided to depart from the band recently.

Tears Of The Sun
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

See the rest of the visual kei top 15 list below!

6.

SM #2
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

7.

SINNERS-EP
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

8.

PANTHEON -PART 1-
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

9.

Samurai Sessions Vol.2
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

10.

Dark fairy tale
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

11.

VERSUS
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

12.

dadaism #3
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

13.

Vision
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

14.

Ideal
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

15.

TOUR Atom Miraiha No.9 – FINAL –
Buy at CDJapan
Preview


◇◇◇

TOP 15 JAPANESE ACTS
1. BAND-MAID

The maid concept in Japan is nothing new, but to actually execute it well is a totally different story. So how is it done right? Well, your answer is clearly in front of you, BAND-MAID! They combine their energetic rock with a dazzling maid look and completely charms the new and old generation Japanese rock fans!

Starting out as a hard rock inspired band, the maids slowly matured their sound to something more resembling of pop rock. It seems like it worked out fine as these girls stand on the top of our top Japanese acts list for the second time in a row!

Just Bring It
Buy at CDJapan or JPU Records
Preview
2. BABYMETAL

A group with the ability to introduce and make western loyal metal fans fall in love with Japanese metal pop music—not to mention the concept of “idols”—has no excuse for not getting into the top list! Their high-spirited energy and heavy music is a combination of success, both in their home country and abroad. The DVD Live at Tokyo Dome earned the trio the second spot on the list!

Hopefully, we will see a new studio album next year as BABYMETAL has so far been releasing albums biyearly—this year we didn’t receive any new studio album.

Live at Tokyo Dome
Buy at CDJapan
Preview
3. ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK has been focusing a lot more on the fans abroad recently; with the most recent releases, you can really tell that the band incorporated the western vibes into their music. They even had Avril Lavigne take part in one of their songs! Their efforts to win the overseas fans’ hearts seem to be working, as we find the band at number three on our top list, thanks to their latest album Ambitions.

Because of the band giving more attention to their overseas fans, we’ve seen a lot more shows abroad lately. As of writing, they’re currently touring Europe! Before that, they also toured North America back in August.

Ambitions
Buy at CDJapan
Preview
4. SCANDAL

This year was an eventful one for both SCANDAL and its fans. With a self-titled best-of album and a digital single this year, fans had several new songs to enjoy! The best-of album, consisting of over 36 of the quartet’s best songs, epitomizes the hard work and consistency of the band, and its proof is with their fourth position in this year’s top list.

SCANDAL shows no sign of stopping as they already announced an album to be released early next year.

SCANDAL
Buy at CDJapan or JPU Records
Preview
5. RADWIMPS

By now, almost every anime fan and Japanese pop rock music listener know about RADWIMPS, the band who wrote the honored song Zenzenzense, featured in the movie Kimi no Na wa. The song has as of writing over 163 million views on YouTube! Not only that, the band actually wrote and produced the entire soundtrack album for Kimi no Na wa.

RADWIMPS was able to get on the top list despite the album Kimi no Na wa being released back in August 2016, this is nothing but impressive! Although, it makes total se-se-sense.

Kimi no Na wa (Your Name.)
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

Find the rest of the top 15 Japanese act list below!

6.

Shikisai 
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

7.

Eiyu Unmei no Uta
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

8.

SIGMA
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

9.

Calling
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

10.

FATELESS
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

11.

The Crossing
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

12.

New Sunrise
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

13.

Hana no Uta / ONE / Rokutosei no Yoru Magic Blue ver.
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

14.

Ashitairo World End
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

15.

SPEED STAR
Buy at CDJapan
Preview

Hope you enjoyed our curated top list for 2017! Now, let’s wait about 365 days or 8760 hours for the next one!

More info:
Complete list of CDJapan’s visual kei artist ranking
Complete list of CDJapan’s Japanese artist ranking

Give us your opinion!