Kaoru (薫, Kaoru, born February 17, 1974, in Hyōgo) is a Japanese musician, best known as the leader and one of the guitarists of the visual kei metal band Dir En Grey. He has been with the group since its inception in 1997 and was previously a member of La:Sadie's. He has composed most of Dir en grey's songs (at least up to the Vulgar album, at which individual credits for the music were dropped). His contributions display a fair amount of variety, ranging from slow ballads such as "Zakuro" to upbeat numbers like "Jessica". He performs many solos for the band, which vary strongly in feeling and tempo, similar to his compositions. Kaoru cites hide as his biggest influence and the reason he plays guitar, saying "If I had never known him, I wouldn’t be who I am today."