X Japan Yoshiki – Part I

On June 22, 2011, in Music, X Japan,

No Compromise

I think what I admire most about Yoshiki is that he makes no compromise about his music.

He said in an inverview that:

Before the North American tour last year, he was advised by their American management to drop ballads for the tour as the US audience does not appreciate ballads mixed with metal.

He rejected the idea because it would not be X Japan if they drop ballads. If their music including ballads was not accepted, he could live with that.

It’s a kind of touching statement, knowing that it was his life long dream to succeed in the US.

They finished their first tour in the US with sold-out show at Roseland Ballroom in New York on October 10, 2010.


There is a popular YouTube video of X Japan on TV variety show 20 some years ago.

It’s hilarious. Toward the end, they play their song at a tiny noudle shop with their outrageous hair style, make-up,harrasing high school girls eating there.

X JAPAN -元気が出るテレビ (Genki ga deru TV) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1P-OYwD9Ms

Answering question where he would like to visit, looking so young and shy, the 20 year old replies that he would like to visit Africa as he likes animals and want to meet “Zou-san” (Mr. Elephant) and play music for him.

The gap between his outrageous appearance and his childish reply is so funny and disarming.
(I realized that the gap between on stage and off stage manner appears working for him this time as well.)

X Japan got break for main stream media appearing the variety show, unlikely pass for a heavy metal band. I read that it was Yoshiki who approached the TV show.

Metal bands were not supposed to appear on TV; one of many taboos. Yoshiki said, “They hated us. They were ashamed of us. We were a black sheep among metal bands. That was OK. We hated them all.”

I guess he could put things in perspective to achieve their goal since he was young and was not afraid of taking unconventional approach. For a metal band, they had a big dream like selling million copies, filling Tokyo Dome.

And they did many times over.

In the upcoming comic book that Yoshiki is working with Stan Lee, it seems he becomes a music super hero. Stan Lee told to a magazine that he and his cocreator would make Yoshiki as famous in the US as in Japan.

It appears that he is trying to take the similar pass as he did in Japan before.

In Japan, there is a word “Samurai Shoho” that means Samurai marketing: If you make good products, people should appreciate and come to purchase them. You do not need to go after customers.

Not Yoshiki.

But it is a mystery to me how such a good marketer can coexist with an unyielding artist within one person.


Here’s a video of 1988 before major debut :

X JAPAN – 紅 Kurenai (Kyoto Sports Valley 1988.09.04): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDFQNM9HdP8


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