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Midnight necropolis: a night at a Japanese goth club

JAPAN | Monday, 23 March 2009 | Views [2846]

Gothy club night flyer.

Gothy club night flyer.

A midnight in a cemetery?! Well, not quite. Rather inside the bottom basement floor of a smoky dark club. I give you Midnight Necropolis: the gothic club night that happens once a month here in Osaka. While the name and “theme” changes (Black Veil, Vampire Garden, Midnight Necropolis) the idea stays the same: dancing to industrial music wearing way too much make-up and sweating in rather expensive clothing.


I must admit that I have vague goth proclivities. I must also admit that I was a regular goth club-goer back home in Los Angeles: from Thursday nights at Perversion, Fridays as Das Bunker, Saturdays at Bar Sinister, and time-willing other nights at other venues, I might say that I have at least a vague idea of what a west-side American goth club entails. I can say with certainty that in Japan those ideas are thrown out the window, or at least skewed a bit.


In Japan it seems to be less about the music and more about the “scene”. Yeah, this can happen in L.A. as well but no where near as drastic as Japan is. The only people I can talk industrial and EMB music to are the DJs here, usually Taiki, who is super nice if a bit shy of people (or perhaps of foreigners speaking bad Japanese), or other foreigners who drop by. I can’t say that I believe most of the Japanese club-goers have any idea of who exactly they are listening to – or really care for that matter.


The crowd is primarily made up of über-goths more interested in expensive Japanese finery: from Alice Auaa, h. Naoto, Qutie Frash, Black Peace Now, and other lesser-known or foreign brands in interesting get-ups: you see the usual cyber-goth girls in skin tight leather catsuits with big hair and goggles, the dominatrix girls in vinyl hot pants swinging around a mini-whip, the techno-ravers with brightly colored dreadfalls and flashing neon lights, and a variety of other easily categorized, expensive, and well-coordinated goth club gear. It’s the sweet Japanese lolitas in frilly pink heart bloomers, the Marie Antoinette girls in towering white wigs that threaten to fall all night, the prima ballerinas in stiff pink tutus, and the furry folk in some form of animal costume or strange clown suit with huge shoes, that are a little less commonly found and a little more interesting for all of that. Costumes at these clubs are everything – you really don’t want to come if you don’t have a good get-up, or at least a decent attempt, as they might not let you in and it costs you an extra ¥500 at the door if you’re not suitably attired (even suitably attired it will still cost you anywhere from ¥2000-3000, or $20-30 just to get in with one drink coupon). Welcome to the clique. We hope you enjoy your stay.


Another strange Japan club find was the absolute need to face the DJ at all times. I kid you not. Everyone is always facing the DJ at every single club I have gone to if the crowd is predominantly Japanese. It’s such a strange phenomenon. Is the DJ that interesting? Usually not, but then again maybe being a foreigner I’m missing out on something. I don’t know. This is not just at the goth club – this is everywhere in Japan!


And finally, don’t really bother getting to the club early. There’s no real reason unless you want to pick up a free-be CD that they sometimes hand out to the first 50 people. Clubs don’t get into full swing here until past midnight and drinks don’t stop pouring all night – there is no such thing as “last call”. Usually people stumble home on the first train sometime after 5am – after a quick stop at the 24 hour McDonalds nearby – and are in bed by the time the sun rises, though because of the late hours you can definitely find people crashed out around the club on the available couches and chairs. It’s nice to know that because it is Japan you’ll be left alone and your stuff with you. They’re all rather polite here, a nice change from L.A. clubs.


Overall it is an enjoyable experience sort-of-but-not-exactly reminiscent of home. I go because I like dressing up a bit in my vague gothy sort of way, dancing to industrial music, staying up far later than I should, and meeting new and strange acquaintances.


The next event is the 9th Anniversary party held over Golden Week on May 4th (Monday) at the usual haunt, Neo, in Shinsaibashi’s America-mura right next to Triangle Park. For more information go to Taiki’s webpage at:



Happy vamping and perhaps I'll see you there.

Tags: clubbing, fashion, goth, gothic, japan, nightlife, osaka



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