Interview,  Japon,  Musique

Yoshiki “Under the Sky” documentary: a musical legacy

For decades, Yoshiki has been a household name of rock music in Japan , and beyond its borders. A member of the famous band X Japan, the artist has recently been the first Japanese artist to be honored in Hollywood with his handprints and footprints immortalized in cement outside the TCL Chinese Theater,a tribute to his extensive contribution to music history. Listing all the collaborations and projects the star took up throughout his career would cover pages, but one thing is for certain: his versatility, passion and sheer talent make him an exceptional artist, always eager to use music to build bridges between him, the public and musicians from every kind of cultural background .

Yoshiki’s documentary “Under The Sky” narrates how, during the covid-19 crisis, the rocker organized a unique concert allowing fans to connect with artists, during a particulary challenging time when people were confronted to isolation and distress. It’s an emotional journey showcasing touching interactions with the public, and powerful perfomances with renowned artists such as The Scorpions, HYDE or Sarah Brightman.

Yoshiki was in Paris last december to present his film and meet with French fans, with whom he seems to foster a very unique relationship. had the immense privilege to meet the artist, along with a group of journalists, and to get to know more about his passion and dedication for music, his sensitivity for art and fashion, and his future endeavours.

Yoshiki performing at UGC theater in Paris after the screening of “Under the Sky” last december. Credit photo:© Vanessa Aubry

How did you come up with the idea of your documentary “Under the sky”?

YOSHIKI:I had already wanted to collaborate with some of the artists featured in my movie, but then Covid hit. I thought of what I could do for the fans,facing a frightening situation. I thought it was the time for me to stand up and do something for them, that’s how everything started.

Watching the trailer, one of the key words at the heart of your documentary is “legacy”. Could you tell us why it is so important for you to pass on the legacy of the people you lost?

YOSHIKI: You’re right, the movie also talks about Hide who was the guitarist of X Japan ( editor’s note: Hide died of suicide in 1998), he’s one of the reasons I’m still here. As long as I’m doing something, people may find out about X Japan and about him so… I want the world to know how amazing he was. Not only him, but also Taiji , a former member of our band, who also passed away. I want to tell people how amazing they were.

So do you think music is one of the most impactful message that someone can leave when they are no longer there?

YOSHIKI: Yes , we die eventually, but the art we created will still be there.

You were the first Japanese artist to headline famous venues such as Carnegie Hall, or the Royal Albert Hall . How does it feel to perform in those cultural landlmarks?

YOSHIKI:It was amazing, and I felt really grateful. At the same time, I can perform in small clubs or in stadiums, it’s the same for me. No matter where I am, I’m still happy to be alive and breathing to perform. I’ll still give my all wherever I am.

10 days ago (editor’s note: the interview took place in early december), you performed “Endless Rain” at the MAMA Awards* in Tokyo with a new generation of Kpop artists. It was a very moving rendition of the song. Would you consider this stage as a passing of the baton so to speak to a new generation that wasn’t born at the time the song was released?

* The MAMA Awards is an end-of-the-year awards ceremony organized by Korean channel Mnet. This year, it was held on November 28 and 29, 2023 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

X Japan all-time classic Endless Rain, performed by the last generation of Kpop artists: Taehyun and Hueningkai from the group Tomorrow X Together, Anton from Riize, Yujin from ZeroBaseOne and Jaehyun from BoyNextDoor)

YOSHIKI: (looking flabbergasted) Ten days ago? (laughs), time flies. You know, I have the utmost respect for kpop artists. They are amazing, and they work really hard. I was very honoured to perfom with them. I think we are all artists, creating together. No need to think in terms of “legend” or things like that. We play music together, we share the same passion, that’s all that matters.

So that’s stage was another way to show how music brings people, artists from different background together?

YOSHIKI: Yes, I do think so.

Can we expect an European tour for THE LAST ROCKSTARS ( editor’s note: Yoshiki’s band with Miyavi, HYDE and Sugizo) ?

YOSHIKI: (hesitating)Yes, we love Europe, why not?

And the same can be expected for XY (editor’s note: a thirteen-member boy band produced by Yoshiki)?

XY, the band produced by Yoshiki


Ah, this time, it’s a resounding yes!

YOSHIKI: Yes, completely (laughs).

After launching your kimono brand Yoshikimono, you’re about to start a new fashion project : Maison Yoshiki. Could you tell us more about it?

Yoshikimono 2020 collection

YOSHIKI: I grew up in a family of kimono makers , so I was interested in making a very edgy and rock and roll version of it, while still blending in traditional elements. I wanted to do something completely different. This time, I wanted to do something western, that’s why I launched Maison Yoshiki Paris.

You also launched your champagne brand , what other projects do you have in mind?

Well, now that I released Under the sky, I’ve been interested in filmmaking. Not only documentaries but also fiction. I’m making my directorial debut with this movie, but I feel like I want to do more in this field.

How do you manage to handle everything?

YOSHIKI: I don’t know! (laughs). You know, I love fashion, I love music, I love everything. It’s my passion. I really enjoy working, creating, making art.

I feel like we are very lucky here because you come visit regularly,specially in Japan Expo , not that I’m complaining! (laughs) Do you feel like you have a special connection with your French fans and France in particular?

YOSHIKI: It’s the first country I visited outside Japan after releasing our successful album Blue Blood. At the time, we were told we could go anywhere we wanted. My bandmates chose Los angeles, and I opted for France.

So what is appealing for you here?

YOSHIKI: Something in the air I think (laughs). I feel inspired here.

What are your projects for the next five years?

YOSHIKI: I’m writing a symphony, so I would like to complete that. Then…I don’t know, I feel like I have a lot more to do. We’ll see.

Do you have a message for your fans?

YOSHIKI: Just thank you for supporting me , and I’m lucky to have you.

And so are we, to have you come so often! Thank you.

Thanks to Anyways Agency for organising this session of interview.

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