KOM_I, THE JAPANESE SINGER AGAINST ALL THINGS KAWAII

Kom_I’s figure is only well-known in Japan for now, but this is about to change. The singer of the group Wednesday Campanella has become a subversive icon in her country of origin, but she’s destined to become the first Japanese singer to make it abroad with her latest original and eccentric EP Yakushima Treasure. But, who’s this enigmatic singer and how has she become such a phenomenon in her native country?

Kom_I is Wednesday Campanella’s vocalist, a group that she shares with Dir.F and Kenmochi Hidefumi. She launched this project in 2012 without any prior experience as a singer, not even in a silly karaoke session. And still through their irreverent music, they have been able to captivate thousands of spectators in sold out stadium concerts in Japan, and they have managed to play at international festivals like the acclaimed South by South West, in Texas. And for your information, this year they’ll be playing at Primavera Sound.

The singer has been able to captivate the Japanese scene through her music, style, stage presence and life philosophy which are completely unique. When it comes to her musical proposal, it doesn’t even come any close to the so-called J-Pop genre. The tracks, improvised at the studio, do not follow any kind of norms or rules, and they blend frenetic melodies normally seen in techno or house genres. In contrast to this, there’s her delicate and angelic voice which Kom_I uses to rap nonsensical lyrics, and she does it with the same attitude as any other rapper from the Bronx would. This is how the group retells legends from Japanese folklore for the contemporary world, creating their own mythology.

Her style breaks with all things kawaii or cute, which is the established aesthetic for Japanese women, and we can see it in her bold looks. Kom_I likes dressing in either exaggeratedly loose or extremely tight-fitting clothing, mixing streetwear (she’s been the image of the collaboration between Undercover Lab and Uniqlo) with unique pieces, for example, those frontal-facing dresses by Japanese designer Seiran Tsuno , who uses 3D pens. This is the way in which Kom_I rejects this “inoffensive” or complaisant kind of behaviour that has been normalised amongst women of her society, which made her become the first singer of her level in her country to be openly against this conduct. But, what’s she trying to do with this? She’s ending unnecessary and repressive norms that suffocate the Japanese society, at the same time as she celebrates old Japanese traditions.

This freedom and even extravagance she exhibits can also be seen in her concerts; floating, as if it were some kind of ritual –which makes us think of another beautiful eccentric like Björk–, moving in an uncontrolled manner. She describes herself as a hurricane or typhoon for the power and chaos she gives off on stage, and we seem to agree with that.