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    10 Facts We Learned About Japanese Rock Star MIYAVI

    Japanese musician, actor, philanthropist and father of three, MIYAVI is someone to take note of.

    If you follow BuzzFeed's A*Pop on Instagram, you may have seen us chatting with MIYAVI, a Japanese rock musician.

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    Born Takamasa Ishihara in Osaka in 1981, MIYAVI is best known for his catchy electro-rock and his unique, finger-slapping guitar playing style. He started in the now-defunct band Dué le Quartz before going solo and branching out into modeling, acting, and philanthropy.

    Basically, he's always got something going on, and although the pandemic definitely created some obstacles, it didn't stop him from creating.

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    In 2020, MIYAVI released his 12th studio album, Holy Nights, right before COVID-19 caused him to be contained in Japan. Unable to travel to the US, he partnered with Amazon Music to create "MIYAVI Virtual Level 5.0: Synthesis," a virtual performance experience that was created using Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D game engine developed by Epic Games and used by Fortnite.  His goal was to explore and redefine mediums of how live music is delivered digitally.  

    Now no longer sheltered in Japan due to the pandemic, MIYAVI is back with his latest album and has many exciting things coming up.

    A*Pop, BuzzFeed's AAPI identity brand, hopped on an IG Live with the musician to ask him about his upcoming activities.

    In addition to chatting about his upcoming album and tour, we also had the chance to ask him what his favorite things are, including his most memorable fan moment and his favorite food (which is NOT what you'd expect). Honestly, it is pretty much impossible to not enjoy listening to him chat about the things he enjoys.

    So, here are some fun facts about MIYAVI that will totally turn you into a fan, because seriously, he's great:

    1. MIYAVI is best known for his unique guitar skills and is dubbed the "samurai guitarist."

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    His unique style of guitar-playing is what sets MIYAVI apart from others. When viewing any clip showcasing MIYAVI's skills, you do not need to be an expert to observe how fast he's playing. Many call it a finger-slapping style, but one description that stands out is "samurai," or most notably, the phrase "samurai guitarist."  

    When asked how he feels about this, the first thing that comes to his mind is the word "honor":

    "I am really honored to be called the samurai guitarist because in Japanese, a samurai is a really, really important word with all due respect and real strength. And that's the pride of the Japanese. Every time people call me that outside of Japan, I feel more responsible and meaningful as a guitarist. I feel the responsibility to innovate and keep going to find my own distinct style and not follow other great artists."

    2. His newly released album, Imaginary, is a call for people to take action with issues like climate change, gender equality, and the refugee crisis.

    3. MIYAVI is also an actor and has stared in blockbuster films such as Kong: Skull Island, Maleficent 2, and the Angelina Jolie–directed film Unbroken.

    4. He is proud to be the bridge that promotes Japanese culture worldwide with his music and message.

    5. MIYAVI is the current face of Gucci in Japan, but his own style is pretty accessible.

    6. His favorite part about touring is being able to connect with fans and share the vibrational energy that exists in the atmosphere.

    7. He turned 40 years old this month, and he believes self-care is the key to a youthful glow.

    8. As a father of three, MIYAVI understands the importance of family and appreciates the beautiful family he has.

    9. Root vegetables are his favorite food.

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    One of the best parts of the A*Pop exclusive interview was definitely his answer to the question "what is your favorite food?" Immediately, MIYAVI replied that root vegetables were his favorite, explaining how he likes "feeling the power from the earth" and how we have to "appreciate what we get from the earth." He then back-tracked, asking if he should say something more interesting, like noodles. If you're wondering what his favorite root vegetables are, he mentioned carrots and potatoes

    10. One of the most memorable fan interactions he's had was when he had a concert in São Paulo, Brazil.

    You can find MIYAVI on Instagram and Twitter. His album, Imaginary, is out now and you can find out more about his North American tour here.

    Be sure to follow A*Pop on Twitter and Instagram for more API-centered content!

    Brooke Greenberg / BuzzFeed

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