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Having started out in Pierrot as guitarist, Sapporo-born Kirito had to wait only a year to seize his chance to take control of the band when singer Hidelow departed. With Kirito fronting (he also wrote the lyrics and composed the music), Pierrot went on to become one of Japan's biggest visual kei acts of the late '90s/early noughties, regularly playing Tokyo's cavernous Budokan venue to sell-out crowds. Kirito released his first solo album, Hameln, in 2005 while Pierrot was on a temporary hiatus -- soon to be made permanent -- to pursue projects outside of the band. Kirito's debut solo tour later that year was marked with a DVD release. The Tokyo-based former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman and bassist Mick Karn (of synth-poppers Japan) formed part of Kirito's touring band on the six-date "Fef of Hameln" tour. Kirito returned the favor by guesting on the track "Static Rain" from Friedman's 2006 solo album Loudspeaker. In 2006, Kirito broadened his sonic palette when for some live shows at the posh Tokyo International Forum he was backed by the Tokyo New City Orchestra, performing solo material and songs from Pierrot's back catalog. Kirito also contributed the track "Suicide View" to the 2006 Kurt Cobain tribute album Last Days: Tribute to Mr. K, which was put together to coincide with the Gus Van Sant movie of the same name. Live, Kirito has performed "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Alongside the likes of Pe'z, m-flo, and Aya Matsuura, Kirito also contributed a song to the Death Note album, a tribute to Takeshi Obata's best-selling fantasy-horror manga that was turned into a highly successful live-action movie in two parts. Kirito's second album, Negative,was issued in 2007. Outside of music, Kirito also designs silver accessories for his own goth-influenced fashion brand, Unvirtuous. ~ David Hickey, Rovi