X Japan is considered to be one of the most successful rock bands in Japanese history. The band has sold more than 30-million albums, singles and videos, sold out Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times – so far – and has started playing to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. In the band’s early days, their look and sound sparked a global interest in Japanese entertainment, especially with the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, “Visual-Kei,” a movement X Japan pioneered that went on to become a catalyst for today’s worldwide Anime craze.
X Japan (current line up is Yoshiki/drums, piano, Toshi/vocals, Pata/guitars, Heath/bass, and Sugizo/guitars, violin) was formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while still teenagers. Over the next 13 years, the band released five studio albums – Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989), Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996), as well as six live albums, ten compilation albums and 15 video albums. X Japan was one of the first Japanese bands to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label. The band was so popular, they became a cultural phenomenon, as evidenced by the X Japan Formula One racing team and a SEGA-produced X Japan video game. In the fall of 1997, at the height of their success, the band broke up. Four months later, hide, X Japan’s original lead guitarist, was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. At his funeral, more than 50,000 fans came to mourn his passing, and in May 2010, even more fans stood in line at a memorial service to pay their respects and mark the anniversary of his tragic death. In early 2007, Yoshiki and Toshi started working together again, and later that year, X Japan officially reformed. In 2008, the band launched its reunion tour, being bigger than ever, and sold out everywhere it played. In January 2010, X Japan filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, with a throng of some 8,000 U.S. fans taking part in the shoot on Hollywood Blvd. But it was on August 8, 2010 that X Japan came to America for the first time with the performance at Lollapalooza. Immediately following the festival, X Japan played the biggest concert in its history, selling out two consecutive shows at Japan’s Nissan Stadium, filling 140,000 seats. The band’s first North American tour took place in fall 2010, which included a sold-out date at New York’s Roseland Ballroom. The band’s popularity continues to spread throughout the world. In 2011, they kicked off the European portion of their tour by selling out Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London within 30 minutes. They continued their sold-out tour by performing in Latin America and Southeast Asia. X Japan plans to release their first English language album by the end of 2012 and is currently scheduling their next world tour.