As any of you who have been following the Japanese entertainment news have probably heard, life is not all fun and games for famous Jrockers. Take Toshi, vocalist of iconic Visual Kei founding-father group X Japan, who has had a pretty rough time of it the past decade or more. After X Japan fell into hiatus, Toshi went solo, and, mostly, disappeared into a “self-improvement” “cult” called Home of Heart. Things got rougher and rougher for Toshi, who should be riding a wave of success, until finally, late in January ’09 he announced his divorce from estranged idol wife Moritani Kaori, and his departure from Home of Heart (does anyone else get the major creeps every time you hear this name?…ugh…), and, sadly, his bankruptcy.
Due to all this strife, Toshi said that he had nearly completely lost his voice, and was seriously planning on ending his career as a musician/artist and becoming a company employee. After much thought, he had decided that after the reunion filming in Hollywood with X Japan, Toshi would retire from the music world completely. However, as we well know, Jrock has a tight hold, and it would seem that the star hasn’t seen his final days yet.
During the Hollywood shooting, Toshi claims to have spent a lot of time discussing the topic with other X Japan members, particularly band-leader Yoshiki. Toshi remarked, “There have been a lot of problems. But we decided to get back to our roots and carry on with the two of us at the core of the group. I decided I wanted to continue with music after all.”
On February 24th ’10, Toshi held his farewell “solo” concert, which took place at Akasaka Blitz Tokyo, and was produced by Yoshiki. All of the members of X Japan, including new recruitee ex-Luna Sea SUGIZO, performed with Toshi. It would seem that instead of falling into despair, Toshi has actually been able to turn things around and has seen the light, as it were,actually turning to the positives. About the concert on Wednesday, he said, “The theme is ‘Samurai’ – I’m in danger and the other members come to my rescue with guitars and piano. That’s the image. It’s a new start for me and then we’ll be ready to take on the world.”
The show promoted his final (recently released) solo album, Bushi Japan (Samurai-spirit Japan), and was also a symbolic conclusion to Toshi’s troubles of the past not-so-few years. The show was an intimate acoustic concert with an estimated attendance of about 1300 fans. They performed X Japan classics, as well as pieces off of Bushi Japan.
As for the future, Toshi has changed the writing of his name to ToshI (if the spelling of your name didn’t change, it didn’t happen), and will set his solo work aside in order to focus solely on X Japan‘s world-domination. Err, expansion into the US market.
At first glance, it seems like just another depressing news flash into the troubled lives of troubled rock-stars…But after I read about it initially, I really thought about it. It’s actually a really inspirational story, in a way. I mean, ToshI was really on the edge of just throwing it all away and giving up. His fame had lifted him up so high, and then he had that much farther to fall, and the guy really did hit the bottom. Can you imagine that news blurb on your RSS feed? “VISUAL KEI ICON TURNS TO DATA ENTRY…” I would probably spray coffee out my nose.
But even though he had risen so high, and fallen so hard, in the end he really didn’t give up. He let his former band-mates reach out to him and give him a good talking to. And in the end he was able to turn all of these horrible, life’s-work-ending experiences into actually a great turn-around point. I guess sometimes it does take hitting the bottom to realize where you are with your life. Think about it. You could think everything is going perfectly fine….until you wake up one morning and realize you’re part of Home of Heart.