Tokyo Gothic dance club nights! Midnight Mess Goth party 20th anniversary, DJ Sisen & Selia at Decabar, Shinjuku.

japan goths, gothic club night party midnight mess

2022 was a bizarre year… but on the bright side, Japan finally re-opened to travellers. It felt so good to be back in Tokyo’s alternative / Goth subculture and reunited with friends!

As luck had it, my visit (last September) coincided with the 20th anniversary of Midnight Mess — Tokyo’s longest-running Goth party. I’ve been haunting this Gothic club night since 2008, and my friend Mistress Maya (below) invited me to do a little book release celebration for my new The Little Book of Satanism at her party.

mistress maya kinbaku shibari rope tying goth clubs

Midnight Mess, Tokyo’s monthly Gothic/Industrial EBM club, has been running at various venues since 2002 (if you’re an OG like me, you’ll be nostalgic for the Club Marz Shinjuku days!). Mistress Maya, the talented mistress and DJ behind it all, pulled out all the stops for the nightclub’s 20th birthday — including a cyberpunk bondage show.

tokyo decadance party dj sisen performers club

Speaking of OGs… I also got to celebrate DJ Sisen’s birthday party at the new Decabar S bar in Kabukicho, in space-themed bash featuring Yukiro’s drag performance as Nattmara! Can you believe we’ve known each other since the MySpace era? (Did you put us in your Top 8 back then?)

dj sisen and selia seileen cybergoth japan tokyo djs

The Deca Bar S all-night party featured another old-school diva extraordinaire: Selia, who sang operatic enka and reunited with SiSen to perform as Seileen.

Read on for a “back to the future” blog about two Japanese Goth/alt events that have long been staples of my life and Tokyo’s underground: Midnight Mess and Tokyo Decadance.

lucien greaves girlfriend wife dating The Little Book of Satanism - satanic temple books

After being restricted from entering Japan for 2.5 years, it was a joy to be able to celebrate the release of my latest book at Midnight Mess. THE LITTLE BOOK OF SATANISM is now out — here is more info about it. Thank you for ordering it, sharing the news with friends, and leaving a review!

You can find The Little Book of Satanism on Amazon  Kindle (digital) ♡ Barnes and Noble ♡ Bookshop Simon & Schuster  ♡ Chapters/Indigo ♡ Amazon Canada ♡ Dymocks Australia and other retailers online. Or ask your local bookstore to order you a copy!

midnight mess longest running japanese goth party

A birthday party calls for balloons… Can’t believe it has been two decades since the start of Midnight★Mess! The Goth nightclub’s 20th anniversary party was held in a below-ground industrial space at Sakuradai Pool.

japan goth club kids drag queens fashion makeup

For twenty years, Midnight Mess has always brought in the kindest, most welcoming hosts and guests that love all things dark and decadent. That night, the MC was the scintillating Stefani St. Sl*t, with Julia  “werking” the door in otherworldly style.

(They both perform in Yukiro’s Haus von Schwarz — I’ll share more about the drag extravaganza later in this article!)

steampunk japanese clothing jewelry rings tokyo victorian

As always, Midnight Mess attracts all types of underground denizens, such as this steampunk gentleman with goggles and rings. (Mess photos by Joey Wong.)

goth bar tokyo cocktails gothic bars japan

I made my way to the Cyberpunk Bar, which was run by Gothic model Ruku Kuroi — love her corseted outfit.

japanese gothic lolita model corset dolly fashion models

One absinthe, please (the bar even had Mansinthe bottles). Maya and her crew always make the events feel magical by adding decorative touches like the fairy lights and maneki neko.

satanic band party tokyo japan satanism

The space was Satanic already, according to the poster on the wall… And it became even more so, as I was a “special guest” to do a book launch for my The Little Book Of Satanism! (Above is the flyer for the 20th anniversary Midnight Mess.)

satanic wine baphomet cider la cidrerie du golfe satan wines

Ruka, Maya and I wore designs by Kikirara Shoten, an indie label with “dark carnival” hats, corsets, bags, and other handmade creations. Designer Kiki Gotoh brought a “La Cidrerie du Golfe” French Baphomet cider, decorated with one of her black coffins, for the occasion.

tokyo tattoos japanese gothic tattoo

Midnight Mess has always been a gathering spot for Tokyo’s Goths. I was glad to see friends like Atsushi again after years apart — many of us had been frequenting Mess for over a decade.

the little book of satanism release party book tour

And as always, Midnight Mess is the place to meet fab new comrades (everyone here is friendly and eager to chat). The MC, Stefani, called me on stage to do a little presentation about my Satanism book — and officially launch it with a Hail Satan!

japanese kawaii gothic lolita black dress doll

One of the performers, Lolita K, poses with a doll and a black ruffled and bell-skirted dress with a bonnet.

tokyo alternative goth makeup artist cyber

There’s so much to experience at Midnight Mess — dancing to industrial EDM Goth music, enjoying video projections and the laser show, grabbing absinthe or cocktails at the bar, watching performers and musicians, or getting your makeup done in dramatic fashion by Hengenshi OLI (above).

mistress maya midnight mess goth tokyo japan nightclub

Here’s the lady of the night (Mistress Maya) about to take the stage. She wears a black veil and corset by Kikirara Shoten (in an upcoming post, I’ll take you inside this boutique).

Cyber rope Kinbaku with Live laser and visual

We watched a Blade Runner-inspired short video, which led to a jaw-dropping replicant kinbaku (Japanese rope bondage) demo with live laser by 100ch.

japanese shibari rope tying ropes

Since what feels like the beginning of time, Maya has been performing and teaching kinbaku / shibari, or Japanese rope tying.

tokyo blade runner cyber club bar

She bound her two victims with intricate knots, using rope that lit up in neon under the lasers.

weird japan subcultures alternative underground music parties

From steampunk fashion to accordion music, Midnight Mess is eternally a place to meet creative alt-Japan types, and be inspired.

la carmina birthday cake japan cute cakes

Another sweet touch that makes Midnight Mess so special — Maya brings out a cake for those celebrating birthdays that month. She included a heart for me, and for the event’s 20th anniversary milestone.

licking a barbie doll dolls

Vincent is a September baby, so he licked clean the doll that topped the cake.

Covenant concert in Tokyo, Japan. Gothika and 4dmode1 Goth band members at Tokyo Midnight Mess, Gothic nightclub event. DJ Sisen of Tokyo Decadance.

I hope these photos and stories convey why Midnight Mess is — and remains — such an extraordinary place to be. Maya’s legendary Tokyo Goth night has brought together so many of us over the years.

Here’s a blast from the past: snaps from a 2008 Midnight Mess! (You can spot Dr John Skutlin, Sisen, Yukiro, Covenant, “I am Sebastian” and others in there). The digital camera quality has come a long way since then, but Midnight Mess remains my favorite Gothic party in the known universe.

dj sisen selia seileen tokyo decadance

Speaking of other space-disco creatures of the night… Let’s continue the party at another Japanese alt/subculture space, Decabar S (run by Tokyo Decadance)! DJ SiSEN invited me to his birthday party, which he was hosting with long-time collaborator Diva Selia (DJ, operatic singer, and other half of his musical project Seileen).

nattmara die schwarze frau tokyo drag queen

And look who else was a featured performer… Yukiro Dravarious as Gothic drag queen, Nattmara! (That means “nightmare” in Swedish, quite fittingly for his devilish drag.)

In addition to performing regularly at Deca Bar S and other venues (like Dragula screenings at Eagle Blue in Ni-Choome), Nattmara runs regular drag queen / king events throughout Tokyo, with her Haus von Schwarz.

Decabar Super bar shinjuku golden gai kabukicho

“Galaxy greetings, cosmic kitties…” DJ Sisen’s party was themed after Space Channel 5, the intergalactic 1999 music video game (which arrived at the height of human civilization… Everything has been in collapse since ’99, if you ask me). Many wore Y2K / candy rave / cyber alien fashion themed after the stylish game.

pentagram spell witch book tome spells

Others wore Gothic fashion, and other Harajuku / subculture styles. How cute is Nattmara’s pentagram tome of friendly ghosts? (Speaking of the Devil, I was interviewed about my book and the revival of the Satanic Panic for Dazed Magazine.)

tokyo deca bar s performers

Over the years, Tokyo Decadance’s parties have been held in a variety of venues, and their own namesake bar has moved a few times. The current Decabar Super is in the heart of Kabukicho (down the stairs, in the basement of the Asahi building at 1 Chome−9−8 Shinjuku).

tokyo ladyboys party club decabar

Tokyo Decadance hosts regular alt and queer nights at Decabar S, such as a recent “Welcome to Pattaya” party.

casket of horrors japan drag queen performers events

The queen of the night got glammed up in the tiny (and rather precarious) backstage area behind the stage.

dj selia tokyo decadance dance club shinjuku

Outside, Selia and other DJs played sets that included anime songs. Guests in cyberlox and Lolita dresses bopped along to the music on the dance floor.

cyber japan subculture club harajuku fashion rave

While there is no dress code, you’re encouraged to dress up in creative fashion — from cute rave cat ears to devil horns and kimono.

nattmara yukiro drag queen performing dancing

And then, Yukiro took the stage as the deathly Nattmara. I’m proud of how far come her drag performances have come since our earliest days together.

tokyo japan drag queens clubs

Now, she runs the monthly Casket of Horrors –a queer cabaret featuring international artists — along with other drag queen events throughout Japan. There’s info about her next drag extravaganzas on her Haus von Schwarz page.

golden gai goth alien bar tokyo horror

Sisen brought his alien baby with him (looks like he wants food or cocktails from Decabar).

tokyo wildest craziest nightclub bar

I’ve also been going to Tokyo Decadance parties since 2008, when they were mostly held at Christon Cafe (RIP to the kitschy Jesus-themed restaurant). The events always bring in artists and creative types, dressed to the nines.

japanese gothic lolitas parties bars events

While Gothic and Sweet Lolita fashion isn’t as popular as it once was, you’ll still see Lolis at events like this one.

deca bar s decadance bar review tickets

A new and risky addition… If you pull this lever, you have to spend 20,000 yen on drinks for everyone!

japan satanic horns candy rave club kids

The bartenders are always smiling and full of multi-dimensional kandi energy.

tokyo teletubbies bag purse harajuku

True to the 1990s theme… Teletubbies made an appearance.

1980s 80s tokyo dance night club

Dance, dance, dance til you death-drop. The music ran until 6am, and as always, there were lots of amiable party animals on the dancefloor.

crazy tokyo bars clubs

Lots of original outfits and makeup for me to photograph. Both Selia and Sisen wore horns (a mix of Japanese oni and Satanic inspiration).

seileen selia sisen goth opera

Selia took the stage to bless us with her glorious operatic singing. I was moved to see her perform again after all these years — her presence is as powerful as when I first saw her. Later, she reunited with Sisen to perform tracks from their Gothic-industrial band, Seileen.

japanese witch witches singer

Naniwae Wami’s witchy singing was also out of this world. The amount of time and detail that went into her handmade costume, nails, makeup… wow!

center gai golden gai shinjuku entrance sign

Between sets, Nattmara and I went for a stroll through Kabukicho and Golden Gai, the “red light” and small bars districts of Shinjuku.

tokyo halloween bars pop up stores

We came across Halloween random-ness — love this about Tokyo.

rupaul's drag race japan contestants queens

Of course, the over 6 foot tall drag queen caused a stir in the streets. Quite a few men stopped to take selfies with her highness.

host boys signs kabukicho clubs

Kabukicho is the domain of host boys and host / hostess clubs — here are some of the latest neon signs.

shinjuku love hotel signs kabuki cho

And you can pop into one of the love hotels for an hour or so… They tend to have cheesy names and decor like: Hotel Labio, The Art of Time.

club science shinjuku tokyo visual kei jrock venue

Our nightlife superstar also runs events at Club Science and Club Heist in Shinjuku. It’s a concert venue for Visual Kei and J-rock bands, as well as her witch-themed Goth nights. You can also check out her next drag queen events, which are announced on the Haus von Schwarz Insta page.

haus von schwarz drag queen night

What a relief to see Tokyo’s Goth / alt nightlife blossoming again, after 2+ years of unease. My recent nightcrawls at Decabar and Midnight Mess were a much-need reminder of how life can and should be. Much more to come from my Japan reunion — so much has changed since I was last there.

Life is short, so let’s slay it in 2023 and onward. As Yukiro puts it, “Always forward, but never straight!”



  1. Nikki_boagreis
    Posted January 5, 2023 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Woah, nice photos love the gothic cosplay it’s amazing. The outfits and make-up are very impressive.

  2. Nikki_boagreis
    Posted January 9, 2023 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Love the amount of detail in the cosplay and love the Gothic night life. Your photos are amazing, very gifted photographer. Always enjoy reading new blog post.

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