Let’s Try Something from Japan

Over the weekend, I got an email from a fellow music nerd named Kouji.  He wanted to know my opinion on X-Japan, a metal band that’s celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012.  (Well, sort of.  They broke up for about ten years in 1997 but they’ve been a going concern on-and-off since 1982.)

Kouji was specifically interested in my take on Yoshiki, a founding member of the group and their drummer, pianist and songwriter.  Both X-Japan and Yoshiki are huge at home.  

Yoshiki is esspecially revered.  He inspired a comic book called Blood Red Dragon with Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane.  He even, uh, a Hello Kitty chararacter called–what else?–YoshiKitty.

He also has a thing for nurses.  That’s a mystery.

Both he and X-Japan have quite the cult followings in North America and their fans on this side of the Pacific do what they can to spread the word.

I confessed that while I was aware of both X-Japan and Yoshiki, I didn’t know as much as I probably should.  Kouji graciously put together a primer in the form of links for anyone who might want to learn more.

I spent part of Sunday checking things out and I discovered some pretty cool things.  If you’re at all into metal (like me) and modern Japanese culture (also like me), then set aside some time to check out the following links.

X-Japan’s official website

Yoshiki’s Facebook page

Blood Red Dragon footage from ComicCon

X-Japan’s “Art of Life” (video)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Try Something from Japan

  • January 9, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Haha, thanks for the mention.
    One of my favourite memories was back in high school in the mid-late 90's, I played some X-Japan over the school radio, little weary of how my peers might react due to the "language barrier"…
    To my happy surprise, people liked it, saying some songs reminded them of "Old Metallica".
    It was then, I really understood how "Universal" music can be.

  • January 18, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    About a year late on this reply, but I'm glad that you've checked out X Japan!
    I was at their concert back in 2010 and they were absolutely amazing.
    Footage from the Toronto concert @ Massey Hall (Oct 7, 2010)

    …and now, Yoshiki's composition for Golden Globe (theme) has been released on iTunes (available in Canada) only a few days ago!

    Here's hoping the new album is released soon!


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