Otakon 2016 – Yoshiki panel

Unfortunately, there was a few second delay as always with these online video conferences. But the fans were patient and Yoshiki was trying his best. He was sitting with one of his pianos in the back.

    Q: For those that don’t know about X Japan and Japanese rock, what would this documentary say?
    Yoshiki: It’s a documentary. When people hear about rock, they think it’s about sex and drugs. the documentary is about how we [X Japan] have survived. For people who don’t know about X Japan, they can still enjoy this film. It’s not a normal film.
    Host: It’s a personal story that happens to be about a rock band, is that it?
    Yoshiki: It’s also about the legacy of Hide and how the band was formed. Toshi was very much involved during the 10 years.
    Host: They’re offering you a virtual hug.
    Yoshiki: I can feel it.

    Q: Did launching X Japan overseas help motivate you to learn English? Do you think these experiences will help you build stronger relationships between the East and West?
    Yoshiki: Yes, it was very hard for us to learn English. Coming to America was a big dream for us so I really wanted to learn English. I wanted to talk to you [fans ] in English. Yes, I want to it to build stronger relationships between the East and West.

    Q: What was your inspiration to become a musician?
    Yoshiki: I started playing piano when I was 4 years old, but I lost my dad when I was 10 years old. I was a very expressive kid, I was crying every day. We need oxygen to survive. Playing music was like oxygen for me. It is my life.

    Q: I’m a big fan of yours and X Japan for a long time. I’m currently in New York right now, but I will be going to the Visual Summit in Japan this October. When are you going to announce the next guest musician?
    Yoshiki: Yes, we’re going to announce 20 more bands on the 19th or so…closer to 21. The Visual Summit is going to have 50 or so members playing in the theater so please keep watching [the news].

    Q: In addition to X Japan, I am a big fan of your old band L.O.X. How did your band get started?
    Yoshiki: Ooooh…God, you know that band. *audience laughs* All those band members were friends of mine. One day they came to see us and we were just playing. They asked to me play and I played one song since it was easy. Then they asked if I could join. I was doing X so I said I can join as a guest. Then that started happening.

    Q: Your music has really helped me with the loss of my own friends. How has your hand been?
    Yoshiki: I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friends. My music helps with these feelings As for my hand, my tendon ripped so they said they have to give me a wrist surgery and connect. If I do it, there is a chance that I may not be able to play the piano for some time. I’ve been asking around with X Japan and traveling around asking doctors of how should I do it. Should I keep playing? I’m seeing as of now. It is very painful but I can still play the drums and piano. Thank you for asking.

    Q: About Visual Kei is not about makeup but about freedom of speech in music. After so many years, visual kei itself has so many stereotypes. You have many projects including Visual Japan Summit which is trying to bring back all the visual kei bands. Do you think visual kei is coming back right now?
    Yoshiki: We used to have this festival over 20 years ago like the Summit. We just getting together to play and it stimulates an interesting culture in Japan. I’ve been talking with Sugizo in Japan and other people. This is something that we want to make interesting together and make it better. For several years, people have been asking me if I could produce [Visual Japan Summit], and I thought, yes I could do it. Its an organic project.

    Q: One of my friends got into X Japan and Visual kei bands when she was very young. She wanted to be here, but she couldn’t. Can I take a video of you saying hi to her?
    Yoshiki: Lian, Hi, Lian! *audience applauds*

    Q: I’ve seen all your performances about Otakon. What do enjoy about Otakon that you keep coming back?
    Yoshiki: First of all, it’s a convention that I came in 2006. I was really surprised. At that time, X Japan was not together yet. I didn’t know about my fans. So it literally gave me courage to [reunite] the band. Because of Otakon, it was one of the reasons why X Japan reunited and I could want to do this again. At that time in 2006, we were thinking about reuniting Japan. Since that time, alot of things happened, so it was you guys that brought together X Japan so Otakon is a special place for me. If not for that, I probably won’t be here. That’s why I keep coming back. *audience applauds loudly*

    Q: I saw you on tour in New York City in 2010. This is very late, we were camping out and your staff brought us hot chocolate and pizza and I wanted to thank you. *audience applauds*
    Yoshiki: It was early and my staff said that people were already camping out. *pause* What?!? *audience laughs* Aren’t they cold? So I asked them to bring hot chocolate. It was at the Roseland Ballroom right? So they were lined up there. Aren’t they hungry? *audience laughs* Maybe I should buy pizza!

    Q: Will you ever release a music book for your classical albums?
    Yoshiki: I see, hmmmm… It’s a good idea. *audience applauds and laughs* The next X Japan album is very close to being done. *audience applauds* It was the past 10 years…or like 7 years. The last album we released was 20 years ago, ‘Dahlia’. I was not that confident at that time. This album is very strong. I cannot keep myself from crying, it’s very strong. You can expect it to come here very soon. Next time, I will also release music scores.

If I remember correctly, there should be official music scores for his piano pieces. Although he never performed piano pieces in concert until now, the official piano scores for solo piano have always existed and are sold on amazon.jp. The arrangements are varied and changes with each, but these piano books are old and can still be found.

The host announced that will hold a raffle for the gift prizes that Yoshiki has prepared. The host had the container of tickets and asked Yoshiki to say ‘when’ when he shuffles through the tickets. The first prize was a pair of tickets to the ‘We are X’ movie on Oct. 22. The second prize is for a pair of tickets to one of the three shows of the Visual Summit 2016. It includes air fare and hotel provided by Yoshiki. *audience applauds*

To close the panel and to thank Yoshiki, the host stood and did the X symbol where they took a pic/video. “We are X!” Yoshiki responded in kind.

    Yoshiki: Thank you so much for coming! Again, I’m really sorry for not making it. Please come and watch X Japan.

The host added, “Thank you for your time. Get back to work and get that album done!” We can all agree to that!

(Since no recording and video was allowed, the questions and answers are not verbatim and some paraphrasing was utilized. Thank you for your understanding.)

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