What is the “next goal” that YOSHIKI sees after achieving this great accomplishment?
“I will continue to pursue my art until the moment I draw my last breath.”
On September 14, 2023, the “American Dream” was proven to live on, when X JAPAN leader and musician YOSHIKI became the first Japanese artist to place his handprints and footprints in the venue’s courtyard of stars at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Back in June, YOSHIKI told our magazine, “I believe that my efforts will definitely bear fruit.” With this latest honor, his self-belief has become a reality.
With his handprints and footprints now immortalized at the iconic 100-year-old Chinese Theater, YOSHIKI has etched his name into Hollywood history. When we caught up with the rock icon after the ceremony, he gave us insight into his mindset as he gears up for his classical world tour kicking off October 7th.
YOSHIKI is a composer, pianist, rock drummer, and the leader of Japanese rock bands X JAPAN and THE LAST ROCKSTARS. Consequence calls YOSHIKI “one of the most influential musicians and composers in Japanese history,” and Billboard says he is “a musical innovator.”
His worldwide projects include the dedication song for the tenth anniversary of the Emperor of Japan’s reign, the official theme song for the World Expo, the soundtracks for Hollywood films, and the official theme song for the Golden Globe Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious award ceremonies.
In addition to his musical activities, he is a fashion icon who is the first Japanese male to appear on the cover of “VOGUE JAPAN”. YOSHIKI also produces his own kimono line, “YOSHIKIMONO.” He is also the founder of Yoshiki Foundation America, a non-profit public benefit organization, and has been dedicated to charitable activities for many years.
JapanUp! (J): Although you have achieved many great accomplishments, how do you feel about having your handprints and footprints engraved at the Chinese Theatre?
YOSHIKI (Y): I am very happy to receive this honor while still pursuing my dreams. I don’t feel like I’ve “accomplished a great feat,” rather, I feel a bit afraid if I deserve this.
J: So, rather than a goal or a culmination, is it more like a milestone along your ongoing journey?
Y: To call it a milestone would understate what a privilege it is. However, receiving such an esteemed honor only pushes me harder to work more than before.
J: Was it one of your goals to have your handprints engraved on the Chinese Theater?
Y: No, honestly I’m surprised thinking “No way.”
J: As the first Japanese artist bestowed this honor, it’s certainly historic. Looking back on your success, are there any milestones like this ceremony before?
Y: I felt a similar way when I performed at the Tokyo Dome for the first time, and when I came to the States and performed at Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. Playing my composed piano concerto at the Imperial Palace for the emperor’s 10th enthronement anniversary also marked a major sense of achievement.
J: You keep challenging yourself, but how do you always find your next goal repeatedly?
Y: I think there is no limit in the world of art. The ultimate art, in my opinion, is music that can influence people’s lives, give them dreams, and help people in difficult circumstances. I still think I can do it and will continue to make art as long as I live. There is no end to my dreams, and I will continue to pursue them.
J: Words like “goal” and “retirement” don’t seem to exist in your dictionary, do they?
Y: While “wall” does not equal “goal,” when I overcome one wall, the next wall naturally appears.
J:Rather than seeking them out, it’s more of a sense that you meet the next challenge after surpassing the current one.
Y: I think that’s what life is. I don’t think there is a final goal until the very last moment when we draw breath.
J: In your speech, you expressed your gratitude to your father and mother.
Y: My father committed suicide when I was 10 years old, and my mother passed away last year. If I look at myself objectively, the unusual situation shaped me into who I am. Now I strongly feel that I am here because of my parents and all my fans.
J: When I interviewed you in June, you said, “I feel like I am going on a world tour with my mother.”
Y: That’s right. As I said in my speech, “My mother can see my handprints from the sky,” I think she is always watching my efforts from heaven.
J: At the press conference held at the Japan House Los Angeles, you were enjoying a piece of cake with an oversized spoon. Although you mentioned that you don’t eat cake when you are on a diet, did you allow yourself any reward?
Y: Right now, I’m already immersed in the intense tour prep – practicing piano, composing, and rehearsing for the upcoming world tour. For now, I think I’ll get myself a whole cake after the States shows at the Dolby Theatre and Carnegie Hall (laughs).
J: The Classical World Tour is about to start in a week. How do you feel now?
Y: I went to Asia right after the ceremony and actually just came back to LA. Tomorrow I’m going to Japan… I have spent a lot of time in the sky, but I am for sure preparing for the classical concert with all my might. I am convinced that it is my mission to pursue my art after receiving enough recognition to leave my handprints at the Chinese Theatre. For this classical tour, I am going to do something that only YOSHIKI can do, and I am thinking of incorporating intense drumming…….
J: What a surprise! We may be able to see your drum performance in addition to piano performance.I have already got tickets for the LA show, and I am very much looking forward to it.
Y: There are so many performances in New York and Europe but not many concerts in LA. Since I live in LA, I am quite enthusiastic about the concert on October 20th in LA. I will do my best at the concert with the hope that my way of life could give everyone a dream, even if just a little.
Yoshiki Classical 10th Anniversary World Tour
with Orchestra 2023 “REQUIEM”
In October, Yoshiki Classical will headline classical concerts with orchestras at the Tokyo Garden Theater (Tokyo) on October 7, 8, and 9, Royal Albert Hall (London) on October 13, Dolby Theater (LA) on October 20, and Carnegie Hall (NY) on October 28.
This will be the first time a Japanese artist has headlined at all of these historic concert halls. The tour was inspired by the loss of his beloved mother last May and his desire to express his gratitude to his fans who supported him during that time.
The concert will also mark the 10th anniversary of the release of “Yoshiki Classical.” It will feature new songs, orchestral performances of X JAPAN hits, and works by classical composers such as Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff, with some special guest performers to be announced.
Yoshiki Classical 10th Anniversary World Tour with Orchestra 2023 “REQUIEM”
[This interview was originally conducted in Japanese and has been translated.]