X Japan is the most successful rock group in Japanese history. The band has sold more than 30 million albums, singles, and videos combined, sold out Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times, and played to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. In the band’s early days, their look and sound sparked a global interest in the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, “Visual-Kei,” a movement X Japan pioneered that spread worldwide.
X Japan was formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while they were still teenagers. Over the next 13 years, the band released 5 studio albums – Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989), Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993), and Dahlia (1996) – as well as 6 live albums, 10 best hits albums, and 20 DVD releases. X Japan was the first Japanese band to achieve mainstream success while signed to an independent label. The band was so popular they became a cultural phenomenon.
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. In early 2007, Yoshiki and Toshi resumed communication, and later that year X Japan officially reformed. The band launched its reunion in 2008 with 3 nights at the Tokyo Dome. Two years later, X Japan filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood’s Dolby 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 performed in front of a mainstream American crowd for the first time 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 wrapped with a monumental New York date selling out The Roseland Ballroom on Oct. 11, 2010.
In June 2011, X Japan kicked off a European Tour at London’s Shepherd’s Bush (selling out the venue in 30 minutes). The tour continued to Paris and Utrecht wrapping in Berlin before the band traveled back to Japan to play the famed Summer Sonic Festival. That same year, the world tour took them to South America where they sold out shows playing to massive crowds in Santiago, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Mexico City. X Japan then returned to Asia, playing arena shows in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Bangkok. In 2012, X Japan was the first Japanese band to take home the prize for “Best International Band” at the Golden Gods Awards held in the U.S.
In 2014, X Japan headlined a colossal show at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden.
In January 2016, the documentary film We Are X, chronicling the history of X Japan, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival as a part of the World Cinema Documentary and won the special jury award for Best Editing. The film then went to the SXSW Film Festival and won the audience award for Excellence in Title Design, followed by a nationwide American theatrical release.
X Japan recently announced the release of the band’s first new studio album in 20 years, which will be available worldwide in 2017. The band will also perform at a concert event at SSE Wembley Arena on March 4, 2017.
The current line-up of X Japan is YOSHIKI (drums/piano/composer), TOSHI (vocals), PATA (guitar), HEATH (bass), SUGIZO (violin/guitar)