When it comes to artists–especially in visual kei–members are pretty strict about keeping their professional life separate from their private life. This can manifest in the form of a stage name, altered personality, hiding information such as their age and hometown, etc. When artists do reveal something deeply personal, we are shocked.
HOLYCLOCK has one such shocking story. In April 2016, HOLYCLOCK scheduled a one-man show in Osaka titled “Mother.” It’s easy to assume it’s a symbolic title, or maybe the title of an upcoming single. But vocalist Ryutaro named his birthday one-man “Mother” for a very specific reason.
In January of that same year, Ryutaro wrote a blog post titled, “I’m searching for my mother.” In the blog post, he tells fans about how he had been separated from his mother when he was 4 years old in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. He describes shaking and crying under the covers of his futon at night when he was a child, listening to his parents argue loudly night after night. He was made to choose between mother and father, and he ultimately chose to stay with his father.
This led to his tumultuous upbringing by his alcoholic father, and his father’s equally alcoholic and abusive stepmother. Fights would often leave some part of the house or its family members with blood on them. At one point, he tells fans about how his father contemplated suicide right in front of his own son.
With no siblings, Ryutaro was often left to fend on his own. When the police were involved, they made sure Ryutaro did his homework. In elementary school, one of his teachers comforted him and fed him in the middle of the night. When his father divorced his stepmother, the father and son moved in with Ryutaro’s grandmother. And somehow, with the care of his grandmother, he made it to where he is today.
Now an adult, Ryutaro sought the chance to once again meet and apologize to the mother he parted ways from at such a young age. And what better day to do it than on his birthday show? In his blog post, he asked fans to spread the word in hopes that his mother would see. “I’ve reserved a guest pass with her name on it,” he wrote. “I’m so grateful to you. You don’t even have to act like my mother. You don’t even have to see me if you don’t want to see me. I just want to meet you once and apologize,” he ends the blog post.
The Tweet with a link to his blog post was Retweeted almost 9,000 times – an incredible number for such a minor visual kei band. It was also revealed that decided to forego choosing a stage name (keeping his birth name “Ryutaro”) in order to make it easier for his mother to find him.
Fast forward to October 2016, when Otakuma wrote an article about the aftermath of the search. The news site revealed that on that birthday live, Ryutaro’s mother did not show up. However, the next day, he received word from his grandmother that his mother had been looking for him and wanted to see him. It had nothing to do with the Tweet, the reporter says. She decided to seek him on her own. At a loss for words, Ryutaro’s fellow band members urged him to go to the cafe he was supposed to meet her.
When he got to to the cafe, however, his mother wasn’t there. Instead, his younger sister–whose existence he didn’t even know about–was there. And what’s more, so was her daughter; in other words, his niece. He describes being extremely embarrassed when she called him “Oniichan,” “older brother.”
His sister told him that their grandmother (on his mother’s side) was not doing well in the hospital. Her memory was failing, but one day, she suddenly started saying his name – “Ryutaro, Ryutaro!” Hearing this, his mother was suddenly spurred into starting the search for him. She had always worried and thought about him. The only thing that had stopped her from contacting him was the embarrassment at not having tried to find him for so long.
So, his sister stepped in and decided to help him meet his mother. He made plans to see his grandmother before she passed away. However, in the days that followed, Ryutaro spiked a fever that soon became pneumonia and forced him into the hospital for almost two weeks. During that time, his grandmother passed away. He never got to see her.
But now, Ryutaro has an established relationship with his mother. While it may not have been Ryutaro’s birthday show and viral Tweet that reunited the two, it was a deeply personal and heartwarming story that is not often spoken about publicly.