X Japan in America

10 Apr

When I came to Japan, I heard a Japanese heavy metal band called “X” play.
I thought they sounded good and looked quite different from American metal bands with their giant hairstyles.

They were called simply "X" when I first heard them.

They are considered by many to be the pioneers of the Japanese “Visual Kei” type heavy metal.
The way I’d described the “Visual Kei” genre of music is a uniquely Japanese cross between ‘shock rock’ and ‘glam metal’.

In 1991, X released their album titled “Jealousy” that includes the song “Say Anything”.

X "Jealousy" album cover

Here’s the official music video for the X song “Say Anything“.
This was the first music video of their that I ever saw. It’s kinda long, but it show many concert venues around Japan…including the “Tokyo Dome”.

(The person who uploaded it wrote the band’s name as “X Japan”, but they were still called “X” when the released this song):

This album was very successful in Japan. It’s the first album of theirs that I bought.

Due to the immense domestic success of this album, it was believed that their dream of international stardom would be realized soon.
So to prepare for their international debut, the band decided to change their name to prevent any potential confusion with an American band that was also called “X“.

So, they became “X Japan“.

Logo for the band "X Japan"

Unfortunately, international success managed to elude them. (Probably because their entire catalog of music is sung in Japanese).

In the late ’90s, X Japan broke up.

The lead guitarist, hide, had a semi-successful solo music career after the band break-up. But he died soon after (official cause-of-death was listed as “suicide”, but the other band members insist his death was caused by a drunken accident).

The feminine-acting drummer / pianist, Yoshiki, recorded an instrumental version of the KISS song “Black Diamond” for the KISS tribute album “KISS My A$$“.

The lead vocalist, Toshi, left the music industry for awhile (some say he temporarily joined a religious cult. But he denies that.)

But in 2007, X Japan reunited. They have a new guitarist…but the late hide is still officially considered a member of the band. His guitar and often images of him are always displayed on stage when the band performs.

For their reunion, they updated their image. Gone is the giant hair.

Also, in 2007, the American horror movie “Saw IV” was released and X Japan was asked to record a song for the soundtrack.

They recorded the song “I.V.” for the soundtrack.

The international exposure from that song, plus the current “Japan boom” overseas seems to be providing X Japan with a chance to finally realize their dream of international stardom.

Because X Japan has been invited to perform at the popular “Lollapalooza” music festival in Chicago, USA in 2010 August 6-8!

Advertisements

22 Responses to “X Japan in America”

  1. yep April 14, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    plenty of them with a wide range of genres (same goes for individual artists/singers).

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 14, 2010 at 3:00 am #

      >plenty of them with a wide range of genres (same goes for individual artists/singers).

      I guess this is in reply to my question “Do you listen to other Japanese bands too?”.

      You keep changing your username, so it’s difficult to follow your comments.

      Which other Japanese bands / singers do you like?

      Like

  2. again April 12, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    (I think you’re giving a different image of what the band really is)
    I didn’t mean it on that way, your answer to this was perfect “a Japanese hard rock band etc. etc.”, but what I meant was that you were giving historial references that are not exactly true, so that may confuse people if later they decide to read more about the band, that’s the “different image” I was talking about.

    I’ll try to elaborate myself but I think another person before me has already pointed out and explained the facts.

    * To start off, visual kei is not a music genre.
    * Their “entire” catalog was not in Japanese, the majority of it yes, but they already had a couple of songs on english like alive or unfinished.
    * Toshi didn’t leave the music industry, and I don’t know what they said on the news, but I suppose they also talked about his solo career from once in a while on the TV.
    * They updated their image waaaaay before the reunion, on the “Last Live” and even before it they didn’t have the giant hairs nor long hairs anymore, so the picture you put is one of their old pictures (easy to prove since they still have long hairs on there) and yeah, the person with most of his face covered is hide.

    I think those are the most important points.

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 12, 2010 at 9:26 am #

      OK. Thanks.

      How long have you been an “X Japan” fan?
      Do you have many of their albums?

      I didn’t mention it in this post (because it’s not relevant), but in Japan the band “X Japan” has many “die hard” fans…and when the guitarist hide died, a few of them actually killed themselves. 😦

      Like

      • again April 13, 2010 at 11:43 am #

        Oh yes, I know about those incidents, a delicate matter. I’ve been a fan for around 7 – 8 years, not really a “geeky” fan but I do consider them as one of my favorite bands since then.

        Also, I know some asian people who are die hard fans as you say, cool persons (the ones I know, dunno about the others, no generalizations). =)

        Like

      • tokyo5 April 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

        Do you listen to other Japanese bands too?

        Like

  3. ?¿ April 11, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    I totally get the point of writing a summary but… I think you’re giving a different image of what the band really is, indeed there are a lot of wrong things on here (starting with the pictures).
    Maybe you’re not a big fan so these mistakes are totally fine, but then you should have just omitted historical things and focused more on their music?

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 11, 2010 at 4:15 am #

      I disagree.

      >I think you’re giving a different image of what the band really is

      How’s that? They’re exactly what I said…a Japanese hard rock band who were popular in Japan in the early ’90s but not so much anymore…but now they’re gaining a level of popularity overseas.

      >indeed there are a lot of wrong things on here

      I don’t really think so. I only wrote what I know about the band…at least as it’s been reported on TV here in Japan over the years.

      >(starting with the pictures).

      The pictures aren’t wrong. The first is the band when they were called “X” and the second picture is after they changed their name and image.

      >Maybe you’re not a big fan so these mistakes are totally fine

      I liked “X Japan” back when they were called “X”. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them much anymore…but I don’t see where I actually made any “mistakes”.

      But if you can show me where I made a mistake, please do.

      >but then you should have just omitted historical things and focused more on their music

      The point of this post is to briefly explain who this band is and that they’ll be playing at a big music festival in America this summer.

      Like

  4. cinusantiku April 10, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    Nice. I wrote my guide specifically for Lollapalooza attendees. Therefore I didn’t focus on history but rather their appearence at Lollapalooza.

    http://midnightinaperfectworld.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/the-x-japan-guide-for-lollapalooza/

    Thanks for visiting

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

      Will you go to the Lollapalooza festival?
      Do you like the Japanese band “X Japan”?

      Like

  5. ummm April 10, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    There’s a lot wrong with this.
    A) their entire catalogue is not in Japanese. A lot of it is in English or alternating between the two. For the first few years of the band,everything they wrote was in english. The upcoming album is also going to be in all English.

    B)they failed to achieve western success because they never released a single album or song in the west, or even played a concert.

    C)you neglect to mention that originally their American debut was scheduled for September 2008, but then their tour was delayed for 2 years.

    D)toshi didn’t leave the industry, he just spent the last 10 years releasing really really unsuccessful music because he was stuck in an arrangement with a terrible song writer. He admitted this year he was being scammed and sued.

    E)hide’s solo career was more then a little succesful. One of his projects was scheduled to play with Manson on a world tour when he died. Also, he wasn’t X’s first guitarist, he was a replacement which you neglect to mention. Also, you make no mention of the new guitarist.

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

      >There’s a lot wrong with this.

      Is there?

      Well, I’m not a huge “X Japan” fan. I have one of their CDs (the most popular one in Japan).

      I wrote in this post what the average person in Japan would have heard about them in the news.
      That’s where I got my info…from what has been said about them on TV here in Japan over the years.

      A diehard fan would probably know many more details.

      >their entire catalogue is not in Japanese.

      In Japan it is, I’m quite sure. Have they released albums in English overseas (like the Japanese band Loudness has done)?

      > alternating between the two (lyrics in both Japanese and English).

      Many pop songs in Japan have a few phrases of English thrown in.

      >The upcoming album is also going to be in all English.

      I didn’t hear that.

      >you neglect to mention that originally their American debut was scheduled for September 2008, but then their tour was delayed for 2 years.

      Because I didn’t know that.

      >toshi didn’t leave the industry, he just spent the last 10 years releasing really really unsuccessful music because he was stuck in an arrangement with a terrible song writer.

      Where did you hear that? I heard on TV that he left the music industry for a number of years.

      >hide’s solo career was more then a little succesful.

      He had a number of projects…but I’d have to say that none were really very successful.
      I stick with what I wrote.

      >he wasn’t X’s first guitarist, he was a replacement which you neglect to mention.

      I didn’t know that either.

      >you make no mention of the new guitarist.

      I did mention him…just not by name. Because I don’t know what his name is.
      I don’t know what their bass player’s name is either.
      I didn’t “copy & paste” from Wikipedia…I wrote a basic summary of the band’s history, as I’ve heard it.
      (As this isn’t an “X Japan” fan blog…or even a “music related” blog, I think that’s good enough).

      Basically, the point I was trying to convey with this post is that the Japanese band “X” (“X Japan“) were very popular in Japan in the early ’90s, especially after the release of their album “Jealousy“. They thought that that album would lead to international stardom…but it didn’t.

      But three years ago, they have started to become known in America finally…but, ironically, they’re no longer popular here in Japan.

      Thanks for your corrections though.
      Are you a big “X Japan” fan? Which country do you live in?

      Like

      • Except April 11, 2010 at 7:44 am #

        I can tell you, for 100% certainty, that all of their music is not in Japanese. No they didn’t release English language albums overseas. Right in my post it says they NEVER RELEASED AN ALBUM in the west. In fact their magna opus, “Art of Life” is in English…

        Furthermore there is no way you can say hide wasn’t that successful. He had a whole bunch of chart success, founded a record and clothing label, and now is worshiped by a whole lot of people like some sort of rock diety. His material is constantly being re-released in a never ending stream because it sells like crazy.

        You didn’t write Sugizo’s name because you didn’t know what it was? http://tinyurl.com/ycwv2ds Ta-dah.

        If you can’t be bother to do a simple Google search on something. Don’t write about it.

        Like

      • Lee April 11, 2010 at 11:18 am #

        I can go through and list all the X Japan songs that are in entirely English if you’d like. Starting with their very first single “I’ll Kill You” to songs such as “Crucify My Love” on their final album. As was said, X Japan never releasing an album in the States or in any other western country.

        Obviously the word “Success” is subjective, but I’d call a guy who had several #1 singles, along side his own record and clothing label to be pretty successful. The man got a NY Times article written about him when he died even though he’d never performed or released anything here.

        Like

      • tokyo5 April 12, 2010 at 12:49 am #

        >I can go through and list all the X Japan songs that are in entirely English if you’d like.

        It’s not necessary. I’ll take your word for it…but I’ve heard a number of their songs, and not one (that I heard) was in English.

        I suppose their English songs aren’t as popular here (in Japan).

        >Obviously the word “Success” is subjective…

        I disagree that hide was successful outside of the band X Japan.

        His solo work is known about in Japan, but isn’t so popular (other than with “X Japan” fans)…and if he was a success in America, it would surely be known about here.
        If a Japanese artist or athlete has even mild success overseas, it’s on the news here.

        But, anyways, it’s a moot point.

        My blog post here, as I already mentioned above, is simply about this Japanese band that was extremely popular in Japan nearly twenty years ago but all but forgotten about (in Japan) nowadays…but, ironically, it’s a different story for them overseas (they were unknown outside of Japan during their domestic heydays, but are becoming popular now).

        To what degree they’re successful isn’t important to this post’s point.

        Anyways, if you’re a fan of the band, it doesn’t matter how popular they are.
        If you like them, you like them.

        In fact, often musicians are better with less success. Take Metallica, for example.

        Like

      • pongrocks April 12, 2010 at 1:28 am #

        I think you all get a bit to worked up here… even if there are mistakes in the post, I bet there were some people who have never heard of the band, including me, who now, thanks to this post, have listened to a few of their songs.
        And honestly, who cares about the language when the music is good? The same goes for popularity…

        >>In fact, often musicians are better with less success. Take Metallica, for example.

        well, some bands go for a more mainstream-like sound after a few lp’s and lose their unique sound, sad but true.

        Like

      • tokyo5 April 12, 2010 at 1:49 am #

        @”Except”

        >I can tell you, for 100% certainty, that all of their music is not in Japanese.

        Got it. Thanks.

        >Right in my post it says they NEVER RELEASED AN ALBUM in the west.

        Which post is that?

        >Furthermore there is no way you can say hide wasn’t that successful.

        As a solo artist, I still say he was “mildly” successful. At least, in Japan.

        But, actually, it’s a moot point here.

        >You didn’t write Sugizo’s name because you didn’t know what it was?

        And…it’s not necessary information for the point of this post.

        >http://tinyurl.com/ycwv2ds Ta-dah.

        Oh, sarcasm. Thanks.

        >If you can’t be bother to do a simple Google search on something. Don’t write about it.

        Thank you for the advice.
        Of course, I know how to reference information.

        But since the point of this post isn’t “the biography of the band X Japan”, the individual band member’s names aren’t really required.

        (Hope you don’t mind, but I removed all of those excessive links you wrote in your comment.)

        Like

      • tokyo5 April 12, 2010 at 1:54 am #

        @pongrocks

        >I think you all get a bit to worked up here…

        Yeah, when I wrote this post I didn’t realize that the entire “X Japan Army” was gonna critique it.

        >sad but true.

        Clever Metallica reference! 😉

        Thanks for your kind words as usual!

        Like

  6. Eleonora April 10, 2010 at 2:28 am #

    Uhm, I think the reunion picture is one of the old ones from their last period, when Hide(the second from left) was still alive… Anyway thanks for the informations!

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

      Is that him? Difficult to tell with his face covered.

      Well, these days the band looks similar to how they are in that photo.

      Like

  7. pongrocks April 10, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    well, their look was interesting during the 90’s 🙂
    Their sound is not bad, but without understanding the lyrics of a song something is missing…
    Lately I’ve listened to a bit of Japanese music, sadly I couldn’t find a lot of good stuff… But this one band m.o.v.e. had 2 songs (dogfight, fall into doze) I couldn’t get out of my head. They sound a bit like linkin park, just with a female vocalist and Japanese lyrics 😉

    Oh, and do you know the English band The Darkness ? Those guys are totally hilarious, like a comedy-glam-rock-band. I really like their sound; the leadsinger may have the highest pitched voice out there, lol. But they disbanded 😦

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

      I know many Japanese bands, but I don’t know “m.o.v.e.“.

      But I do know “The Darkness“.
      I have their first two (only two?) albums in my collection.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: